It was apparent through Dye's first two at-bats that Indians' starter Paul Byrd did not want to pitch to him, hitting him in the first and walking him in the fourth.
In the sixth, Byrd was forced to pitch to Dye with runners at the corners and one out. The Indians were leading 2-0 at that point.
After the at-bat, it was 3-2 White Sox.
On a 2-1 pitch, Dye slammed a no-doubt three-run home run over the White Sox bullpen in left field, sending the sellout crowd of over 38,000 into a frenzy.
The White Sox always have struggled with Byrd—somebody who doesn't throw hard and relies on a lot of movement.
Dye's home run made everyone forget about those struggles.
Dye added a solo home run in the seventh off of reliever Jorge Julio to give him eight on the year. He's now hitting .307 with 20 RBI and certainly is out of the early-season funk he was in.
Vazquez turned in a stellar outing, going seven strong innings, allowing two runs on four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
With his performance today, Vazquez has an ERA of 3.43, but more importantly, a K/BB ratio of 5:1 (65 K to 13 BB). He's consistently throwing strikes—which is exactly the key for Vazquez.
With the stuff he has, if he's getting ahead in counts and keeping his walks down, he's going to be very, very tough to hit.
The biggest surprise of the sixth inning may not have been Dye's home run, but that the offense loaded the bases and picked up two more runs after the home run.
After the home run, Jim Thome and Paul Konerko singled, Joe Crede doubled, Nick Swisher was intentionally walked, and Alexei Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly (that easily could have been a bases-clearing triple if not for a great play by right fielder Ben Francisco) to plate two more runs to bring the inning's total to five.
Thome also added a solo home run right after Dye's in the seventh to push the score to 7-2.
All of a sudden, this lineup isn't hitting so poorly anymore.
AJ Pierzynski is hitting .301. Carlos Quentin is hitting .294. Dye, as I said earlier, is hitting .307. Crede is hitting .281. Orlando Cabrera, Thome, Konerko, and Ramirez are showing signs of life. Nick Swisher can't hit this poorly all year—and once he starts to heat up, this lineup will be very formidable.
With 0.2 scoreless innings of work, Linebrink's ERA dropped to 1.46 and he still has yet to allow a run in the month of May.
As I mentioned before, tonight was a sellout. Over 38,000 fans showed up to see the Sox down the Indians. It was a very loud crowd from the Dye home run on.
I was at the game yesterday and there were only 27,000 fans at the game. There was no giveaway at the door, no post game fireworks show, no pre-game festivities.
Just a first-place team trying to win their seventh straight game over a hated division rival.
There's exciting baseball, and there's exciting baseball with a big crowd that's into it.
Tonight's atmosphere at the game looked to be similar to the end of 2005 and most of 2006. That's a really great sign for a team that is back to playing second fiddle to Cubs over the last year.
With a five-run lead going into the eighth inning, I was hoping the Sox could have avoided using Scott Linebrink in tonight's game.
However, Logan gave up a single and a walk to begin the inning before getting Grady Sizemore to ground into a fielder's choice, putting runners at the corners with one out.
That situation forced Linebrink into the game, as Ozzie Guillen did not want the Indians to get any momentum for the end of tonight's and tomorrow's game.
Logan's still been very good this year, ERA of 2.93, but it would have been nice if he could have sailed through the eighth without having to yield to Linebrink.
Although he was able to shut the door on the Indians in the ninth, Thornton allowed two hits, one to Victor Martinez and the other to Ryan Garko.
There wasn't a whole lot of doubt that the Sox were going to win this one, but it would have been easier had Thornton shut the Tribe down without the two hits.
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