For only the 9th time this season the White Sox won a game without hitting a home run. With Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede, & Paul Konerko out, and Ken Griffey, Jr. resting after playing a doubleheader the day before, Chicago’s power options were running out. So the team turned to an old friend, a formula that paid big dividends in championship 2005, small ball or Ozzie ball.

Small ball paid big dividends on the day after a doubleheader sweep, in which Paul Konerko was injured. Ozzie ball paid big dividends in a game in which Mark Buehrle would be matched up against Roy Halladay. It started right away in the first inning, speed has a way of doing that, making things happen in a hurry. Dewayne Wise lined a one out single to center, went to 2nd when Halladay’s pickoff throw got away, Jermaine Dye drew a base on balls, Jim Thome singled to left-center scoring Wise, and sending Dye to 3rd. After Alexei Ramirez struckout, A.J. Pierzynski ripped a two out basehit, scoring Dye.

Chicago padded their 2-0 lead adding three runs in the bottom of the 6th. Thome got things started with a single, went to third on Ramirez’ double (Alexei almost kept on running, but looked up in time to see Jim standing on third), Pierzynski then doubled home both runners, Nick Swisher K’d, Juan Uribe singled, setting up 1st & 3rd, with one out. That’s when more small ball happened, A.J. broke for the plate just as the pitch was reaching home plate, Jerry Owens squared, dropping to one knee to make sure he got the bunt down, and the White Sox executed a perfect suicide squeeze. Home runs are nice, but there are few things in baseball as exciting as a suicide squeeze. Now the score stood at five to nothing.

Mark Buehrle was cruising along, the only real threat coming in the first inning. Swisher made a nice play on a grounder when he stepped on first to retire Jose Bautista, then fired to second to double up Marco Scutaro, who’d gotten a single to open the game. Alex Rios picked up a base knock, went to third on a Vernon Wells hit, but Wells was nailed at 2nd for out number three by Jermaine Dye’s perfect throw trying to stretch it to a double.

Buehrle was at about 100 pitches thrown as he walked Bautista with one out in the 8th and was replaced by Octavio Dotel. Dotel served one up that Rios deposited the ball over the leftfield wall. Octavio could feel the love when Wells ripped a single to left, but Rod Barajas grounded into an inning ending doubleplay to get ODot out of a jam.

Swisher sandwiched an 8th inning double that almost made it out to left between a couple of strikeouts. Then Guillen sent up pinch hitter Brian Anderson to face the lefty reliever for the Jays. Chicago went up four when Anderson’s basehit scored Nick from 2nd, the Sox went up 6-2, and this wouldn’t be a save situation for Bobby Jenks.

Jenks hadn’t pitched since he went two innings Saturday, so he was called in to nail down this one. It almost got away, I sat down, I stood up, I was trying just about everything to help Bobby out. After getting the first guy on strikes, Joe Inglett singled, Scott Rolen walked, pinch hitter Lyle Overbay singled, scoring Inglett. Scutaro doubled home Rolen, Bautista’s groundout plated Overbay, and the potential tying run was 90 feet away. 90 feet away, with the dangerous Alex Rios stepping in there. Rios couldn’t check his swing on strike three in the dirt and the game was over. 6-5, whew, we had it all the way.

Everybody was in the house for this one. Standing next to Nancy Faust’s empty organ booth was crowded with baseball fans, Tade, Al, Anthony, Dan, Steve, Phil, Dick, & Bea were all rooting Chicago on to victory. This small ball is exhausting!

That said, Chicago has only two regulars who can run, Ramirez & Cabrera. Griffey hasn’t provided the offense hoped for when he was brought to the Southside of Chicago. If I were in charge I’d play two of three guys (Wise, Anderson, & Owens) everyday. Tough decisions need to be made in a pennant race. Right now Joe Torre has benched Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, & Nomar Garciaparra. With Konerko injured and Junior slumping, it’s a no brainer, small ball is the way to go. Also wanted to let you know, I saw where secondbaseman Chris Getz broke two bones in his wrist, too bad as we could use his speed.

Going to miss tonite’s series finale against Toronto, going to Ray’s SURPRISE (Shhh) 50th, tomorrow is our big tailgate party before the opener against Detroit, it’s halfway to St. Patty’s Day, green Sox hats will be the giveaway, totally sold out game! CLuke will be bringing his family and Rob & Vicki will be there, as well as the whole gang! I’ll have one for you! LET’S GO WHITE SOX!

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