(Above: Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan, enthusiastic about the A’s early surrender)
It was a pivotal sixth inning. On a Carlos Quentin rolling double to left with two aboard, Orlando Cabrera was signaled by 3B coach Jeff Cox to hold up. Cabrera, as is his basepath will of late, ignored the signal and scored the fourth run in the White Sox 9-7 win over Texas. The next hit given up to following batter Jermaine Dye meant curtains for Kevin Millwood (L, 6-5, 5 1/3, 10H, 5R, 4K).
O.C. wasn’t the only one who left Cox hanging. Cornpone broadcast irritant Ken Harrelson defended Cabrera’s dis, prompting something of a mutiny in the booth by sidekick and voice of reason Darrin Jackson, who snorted “well, then, if you’re going to do that, pull the coach off the field.” Harrelson backpedaled, sulkily mumbling something about “some runners don’t need those signals” before resuming his routine authoritarian hee-haw.
Hawk might have saved his breath. Cabrera’s freelance baserunning is near the top of a very short list of shortcomings on this 54-39 White Sox squad. They stranded 14. AJ Pierzyinski is listed as day-to-day after his calf was bruised by a Millwood fastball, and Big Bobby Jenks, headed back to work this week was sorely missed during a 3-run 9th inning Rangers rally. Outside of these blemishes, the message to the league is clear: with run support, the White Sox are an unstoppable force, a champion squad who will hit the All-Star break leading
the AL Central.
LHP John Danks (W, 7-4) manhandled the Rangers over 7 2/3 with an 8K performance to go with the previous two outings (8 and 9Ks respectively). His Buehrle-esque cutter and quick work tied up the heart of the Texas order for most of the game, and retired all tweve batters from the fourth to the seventh.
DH Jim Thome (1HR, second in two games, 4RBI) sent a Kameron Loe slider 430 feet over the dead center fence, followed by Paul Konerko (4 for 4, 1HR 2RBI) tagging the ironically named 6′ 7″ middle reliever for back to back jacks. Earlier, Konerko re-established his traditionally good look at Millwood’s sinking fastball with singles in the first and third, finally showing the post-All-Star-break Paulie a few days early. Cabrera, Quentin Ramirez and Dye contributed a combined 7 runs, 8 hits and 3 RBI.
Putting the Rangers away fell to the bantamweight Alexei Ramirez who barely sucked up a sharp Josh Hamilton roller but pirouetted and hit a perfectly stretched Swisher for the out at first. As the Narrowest Ramirez drifts off to sleep tonight in the bat rack, the highlight reel loop is going to be sweet.