Lineup Changes Bring Change in Outcome

(SN Report #484) - In what may have been the most energy-filled game the White Sox have played since late last season, the Sox, behind a lineup change consisting of Frank Thomas in the two-hole, beat the A's 8-4 Wednesday night.

Esteban Loaiza picked up his sixth win, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks in six innings. Loaiza struck out one and threw 103 pitches.

Offensively the Sox featured a different lineup and style. With Tony Graffanino in the leadoff spot and Thomas batting second -- the first time in his 14-year career -- the Sox put together eight runs on 14 hits against A's starter Ted Lilly, their bullpen and defense (four errors).

Miguel Olivo, who had a big night himself going 3-4, put the Sox on top with a solo homer in the second inning. The A's tied the game with a solo home run of their own, off the bat of Miguel Tejada in the second, but the Sox came right back in the third.

With one out, Graffanino hit a double, followed by a Thomas single. With men on the corners, Magglio Ordonez hit a deep fly ball over the left field fence, but not out of the reach of leftfielder Eric Byrnes, who caught the ball only to drop it on his way down. Graffanino and Thomas scored on the triple, putting the Sox up, 3-1.

The game was delayed for a few minutes as a section of the outfield wall, which fell on the play, was fixed it. Paul Konerko then hit a soft grounder to Mark Ellis at second who threw the ball away on the throw to the plate, allowing Ordonez to score. Konerko then scored on a Joe Crede single, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.

The Sox then loaded the bases with one out, but Jose Valentin -- batting in the eighth spot -- grounded into a 1-2-3 double play.

Loaiza allowed just one more run over the next three innings, coming on a Scott Hatteberg single in the fifth.

The Sox scored their sixth run in the fifth. With Olivo on first and two outs, Valentin hit a short fly ball over the head of a diving Tejada. Tejada couldn't make the play and Olivo kept on running, scoring from first. The Sox again loaded the bases -- walks to Willie Harris and Graffanino -- but Thomas hit a fly ball to end it.

Graffanino, playing in place of D'Angelo Jimenez, reached base in all six plate appearences, going 2-2 with four walks. Graffanino also stole a base. Thomas went 4-6 with two doubles and an RBI.

A Carlos Lee single in the sixth, scoring Konerko, put the Sox up 7-2. After an Olivo infield single, Valentin grounded out. The Sox left a combined 13 men on base.

Kelly Wunsch threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Loaiza, but Tom Gordon wasn't as fortunate, walking the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth, failing to record a single out. Damaso Marte finished the inning and the game, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Sox added an insurance run in the ninth with a Thomas double, scoring Graffanino. That put the Sox up 8-4.

Lee, batting in the six-hole behind Crede, went 2-5 with a RBI, and Harris went 0-4 out of the nine spot. Olivo batted seventh in the order and Ordonez and Konerko moved up one spot to the three and four holes.

The rubber-match of the three-game set will be Thursday afternoon at 2:35 CT. Jon Garland will be going up against lefty John Halama.

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