…and bolsters Buehrle (W 14-11, 6IP, 6H, 3R 2K).  Still 2 1/2 games up on the Twins, the number on the South Side is seven.

White Sox 9, Royals 4

At the poker table, they call a seven a “walking stick”.  As it happens, that isn’t a bad physical description of rookie White Sox 2B Alexei Ramirez.  But the real story with the Cuban Missile is the (war)head atop the bones.  It makes no difference to the Narrowest Ramirez if he’s facing a guy for the first or twenty-first time – at the plate, he stays behind whatever he gets wherever he gets it and slaps, bangs, chops and crushes his way onto the scoreboard as if Kruschev never pounded that podium with his shoe.

Like award-winner Ichiro Suzuki in 2001, it’s true that swing-happy Alexei’s a Rookie of the Year contender with an advantage: seasons of proven experience playing for an island nation.  While award contender Evan Longoria might find that allowance a tad reminiscent of Chinese “womens”‘ gymnastics, the important mystery in Alexei’s past is only this: if you take ball four in Cuba, what does the Castro regime do to you, anyway?

In a six-run fourth inning, Ramirez followed an AJ Pierzynski battle with two aboard resulting in a walk to load ’em up.  His own el gato y el ratón epic against Brian Bannister (L, 8-16, 5IP, 8H, 7ER) had Ramirez fouling off five straight after a 2-1 count before he sent a flat breaking ball into deep left field over David DeJesus’ head, over the wall and into the record books – the third grand slam for Ramirez (tying the rookie single-season record) and the 11th for the White Sox (tying a franchise record).

Meanwhile in Florida, the Twins gained no ground on the Sox. Sadly, Burl Ives had his banjo inserted rectally 11-1 courtesy of the Rays, who are one game away from clinching their first playoff berth. In the night’s other AL Central news, Gary Sheffield and Carmona Not Glue led their squads in an impromptu seventh-inning confab at the mound.  On the agenda?  October vacation plans.