Quality Hits Win Over Quantity 6-5

Baseball is a game of inches and that fact was brought home again in the final game of the series with the White Sox when Chicago could only manage 5 five hits over the first 11 innings of play, but they were a pair of home runs, a triple and a double. Then they switched to one base at a time and tagged Jeff Kent for five hits in the 12th and 13th to win 6-5.

At four crucial points in the game the White Sox were within one strike of coming up empty, but each time they got the important hit, accounting for five of their six runs. The winning run scored in the bottom of the 13th on a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded. The drive to center field fell just about a foot in front of a diving Matt Kemp as the runner came in from third.

During the three game series, Chicago slugged nine home runs and scored 18 runs, 15 of which came in on home runs.

A total of 12 pitchers, seven White Sox, threw 435 pitches (225 by the Dodgers) and only one earned run scored over the final seven innings, unfortunately, it was by the Sox.

Manager Joe Torre went with his mix-and-match system of filling out the lineup card, benching James Loney and Rafael Furcal in favor of Mark Loretta and Juan Castro. Mitch Jones (in his first major league start) replaced Andre Ethier in right field. Brad Ausmus caught and Russell Martin served as the designated hitter and batted second with Matt Kemp moving up to the #5 slot.

All that maneuvering didn't help them hit with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-16 and leaving nine runners on base, six by Kemp (four of them strikeouts) and four by Ausmus. The Sox were even worse: 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position and 11 left on.

For the third time in the three-game series, Los Angeles scored first, this time piling up a 4-0 margin going into the last of the fifth. Then a home run, a walk and a triple scored two and Paul Konerko (again) slugged a home run, this time with two on base to take a 5-4 lead.

The Dodgers tied in the top of the seventh, then quit hitting abruptly with the last 21 batters to go to the plate managed only a pair of walks and gained a third runner on an infield error.

Chicago got it's sixth and seventh hits, and their first singles, in the 12th inning but Weaver survived, leaving runners at second and third. Then Two more singles and a walk loaded the bases with none out in the 13th. With both the infield and outfield in, a pair of balls were hit to center field, the first a line drive and the second a routine ball, but Kemp's arm kept the runner at third. A third drive to center, with the outfield in normal position, was perfectly placed and drove in the winner.

The Dodgers were held hitless until one out in the fourth inning, After Juan Pierre was hit by a pitch, Martin flew out to right field and Pierre tagged and beat the throw to second. He stole third and scored on Orlando Hudson's ground single. Casey Blake singled him to third and surprised both benches by stealing second.

Loretta drove a ball off the left field wall to drive in two and give starter Chad Billingsley a 4-0 cushion.

Billingsley had trouble commanding his breaking ball but blanked the Sox over the first four innings. Then Konerko's home run (with two strikes) broke the spell. He walked Josh Fields and Dewayne Wise tripled off Kemp's glove at the deepest part of center field to cut the lead to 4-2.

A double by Jermaine Dye with one out in the sixth, a walk and a home run by A.J. Pierzynski on a 3-2 pitch put the Sox in front for the first time.

Ronald Belisario, Brent Leach and Ramon Troncoso worked four scoreless innings. Weaver made it through two more, then was tagged with the loss.

It took some help from the Sox to tie the game.

Pierre led off the seventh and after six throws was finally picked off. Martin bounced to short and the throw was down the line for an error. Hudson's third him moved him to third and Blake sliced a drive into right field and with Hudson moving on the pitch, it dropped perhaps an inch outside the foul line. Blake did manage a ground ball with Hudson again moving that cancelled out a double play and scored Martin.

At that point the Los Angeles offense shut down and over the final 5.1 innings they had walks by Andre Ethier, one intentional, one not, and another error by the Sox shortstop. Blake lived on the error to open the 10th an stole his second base of the game and the season but he was still there when the inning ended after Kemp and Ausmus fanned and Loney, pinch-hitting, bounced a broken bat ground ball to second.

The Dodgers flew home to open a three game series with Seattle tonight (Friday) and another three-game set with Colorado.

  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	000 310 100 000 0-5
White Sox	000 023 000 000 1-6

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  1  1  0  .326
Martin dh	5  1  1  0  .248
Hudson 2b	6  1  3  2  .312
Blake 3b	5  1  1  1  .298
Kemp cf	        6  0  0  0  .306
Loretta 1b	6  0  2  2  .264
MJones rf	2  0  0  0  .300
 Ethier ph-rf	2  0  0  0  .261
Ausmus c	4  0  0  0  .277
 Loney ph	1  0  0  0  .282
 Ellis c	1  0  0  0  .000
Castro ss	3  1  1  0  .340
 Furcal ph-ss	2  0  0  0  .241	
  Totals  	46  5  9  5
  White Sox	45  6 10  6

  2B- Loretta 2 (5), RBI- Hudson 2 (41), 
Loretta 2 (14), Blake (47). S- Pierre.
LOB- Dodgers 9, White Sox 11. SB- Blake 2
(2), Pierre (18). PO- Pierre. DP- Blake, 
Hudson and Loretta. 

  Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Billingsley	6.0  4  5-5  4  3  3.10
Belisario	1.1  1  0-0  0  1  2.08
Leach	        0.2  0  0-0  2  0  3.21
Troncoso	2.0  0  0-0  2  1  2.11
Weaver (4-2)	2.2  5  1-1  1  2  3.68
  HBP- Martin, Pierre, MJones. PB- Ausmus
(1). T- 4:27. Att- 20,051.

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