When it rains, it pours, and when the White Sox offense is on fire, it's an inferno.
In all fairness to the White Sox pitching staff, Gavin Floyd did his best not to be outdone by the great starts of Mark Buehrle and John Danks, or the suddenly explosive offense.
Floyd threw seven strong innings, keeping a shutout all the way into the seventh inning. His control was back in a big way, striking out seven and not walking a single batter. He did give up six hits, but he spread them out well, and only yielded two earned runs.
Now, for any Sox fans, or fantasy baseball players who were worried about Carlos Quinten making a full recovery, it's safe to say you can put your fears to rest.
Quinten hit his seventh homer of the season for the South Siders, while Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski added a home run to the board a piece. The offense racked up an impressive 17 hits in the offensive rout, with every player on the squad picking up at least one hit, except for Jerry Owens, who got one at bat in the game, while Jermaine Dye was allowed to rest.
Clayton Richard and D.J. Carrasco each got in an inning of scoreless relief, as the White Sox pitching staff held the Rays to only two runs on the day.
Overall, the White Sox finished their first brush with the reigning AL East Champions with a record of 3-1, and a huge morale booster, as they exacted a little revenge on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Heroes of the Series
1. The Offense. Holy cow. Sure, three runs in the first game isn't too impressive, but following it up with five, eight, and then twelve? That's 28 runs in four games. When you're averaging seven runs a game for a series, you're almost definitely going to win it, and it makes it a lot easier on my next heroes.
2. Starting Pitching. I know I nominate these guys a lot, but they've definitely earned it so far, this year. John Danks has been outstanding, Mark Buehrle found his groove, Gavin Floyd got his control back, and even Bartolo Colon was decent, until loading the bases in his start.
Now if only we could get Jose Contreras back into 2006 form, we would see a starting lineup for the ages.
Zeroes of the Series
1. Bartolo Colon/Matt Thornton. It's kind of harsh of me to put this on anyone for a series that the Sox played so well in, and I know I just put Colon in the "heroes" column, but he was a zero in his own way, loading the bases against a potent Rays offense, only to have Matt Thornton come in and give up the grand slam. Thornton had been exceptional this year, thus far, and I don't expect that to change just from one bad pitch.
Keys to the Next Series
1. Offensive Consistency. The White Sox get the Baltimore Orioles next, who have been a surprisingly upstart team this year, especially in a tough AL East. The White Sox starting pitching is a proven group now, but the offense needs to prove it can keep bringing the lumber to the yard.
2. Bobby Jenks. Jenks is one of the most reliable relievers in the American League, if not all of baseball, but he does seem to have on Achilles' heel. For whatever reason, in the very few saves that he's blown, five have come against the Orioles, so the Sox need him to pitch his very best stuff, if a save situation comes up.
The White Sox and Orioles face off on Tuesday night, at 7:05 p.m. ET.