CLOBBERING CREDE

Joe Crede came back just in time for the first game against the Minnesota Twins Friday night, hitting two home runs. Crede missed the last game against Kansas City after taking a hard grounder off his wrist in the middle game. Joe must be alright, understatement.

Javier Vazquez looked really sharp in the second inning, then got the first two men out in the 3rd, but then Carlos Gomez hit a homer, and the Twins scored two more times. So the Sox were in a 3-0 hole against Minnesota, what else is new? Beer vendor Bill stopped by to ask, “How come no matter how good the Sox are doing, the Twins always have their number?” Joe Crede got one run back in the bottom of the inning when he took starter Nick Blackburn over the wall.

Chicago looked poised for a big inning in the 4th when Carlos Quentin (I wrote him in for the All Star game on about 40 ballots before the game) got a leadoff single, Paul Konerko followed suit, just to have Jim Thome kill the rally with a run scoring doubleplay to cut the Twins lead to one.

A guy I used to be in a fantasy baseball league with named Matt stopped down to watch an inning with us. Matt had seats with friends in the club level, it was nice of him to stop by to say hi to an old friend, it probably didn’t hurt that we were standing behind the plate for our visit. The group behind the plate on this night included Al, his son Anthony (he got his splint off his fractured elbow), Dick & Bea’s dog (Frosty) groomer Lisa, her daughter Caitlin (celebrating her 18th birthday at the game), and of course Caramel Corn (soon to be Mayor) Mike was right there as well. There was a nice breeze keeping us cool, but Lisa was really hot, just the same, if you know what I mean.

Blackburn is the type of hurler Sox hitters usually have trouble with, a soft, junk ball thrower, and he did a good job earlier in the year against us, but that was before a line shot grazed his nose in his last start. The bottom of the 5th was a very good inning for the Pale Hose. Nick Swisher got a leadoff single to center, Joe Crede ripped a line drive single to left, bringing up Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez dropped down a perfect bunt and beat it out to load the bases with nobody out. In the top of the 5th Alexei got a standing ovation when he almost came down with a line drive single off the bat of Joe Mauer, it would have been an incredible catch, no harm as Justin Morneau struckout to end the inning and strand Mauer. Getting back to the bottom of the frame, Orlando Cabrera played Peggy-Move-Up singling home Swisher to tie the game at three. After a coach made visit to the mound, Blackburn served up a cookie to A.J. Pierzynski. A.J. knew what to do with it as he rocketed a double down the rightfield line plating two more. Carlos Quentin (before the game I wrote in his name 40 times for the All Star Game) greeted Juan Rincon by launching his 16th homer, a three run blast to right, putting Chicago up 8-3. Nice inning.

Javier Vazquez (9 hits & 4 runs in 5 1/3 innings) really didn’t have it and left the game with two on, one out in the 6th, and was replaced by Octavio Dotel. Dotel allowed a run scoring single before settling down, just in time with Mauer & Morneau looming on deck & in the hole. Joe Crede would get that run back in the bottom of the 6th with a leadoff home run to left, his 12th.

Lefty Matt Thornton got through the heart of the Twins order 1-2-3. Konerko ripped a leadoff single, but was quickly erased on a Thome doubleplay. Jermaine Dye followed the DP with a home run ball just out of the outstreached glove of leaping centerfielder Carlos Gomez, Dye’s 10th, making it 10-4 Good Guys.

After Scott Linebrink worked a scoreless 8th, Esteban Loaiza was called into the game to work the 9th. All the fans were still in the stands, even with a 10-4 lead, because there were fireworks after the game. Everyone was chanting, “LET’S GO WHITE SOX!” Bobby Jenks got up and started loosening up after Alexi Casilla hit a two run homer to make it 10-6, with Mauer & Morneau coming up. But Bobby was able to relax when Mauer grounded to Konerko and Jermaine Dye made a diving grab of Michael Cuddyer’s fly, with Morneau aboard, to end the game.

Every year I forget just how good the postgame fireworks is. This show is better than most 4th of July Celebrations, or at least the ones I’m used to watching in Waupaca, WI. I watched the entire show before heading to the L with 26,000+ happy White Sox fans.

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