Sox hitters stealing the show

The White Sox have scored 52 runs on 88 hits in their first seven games. They’ve jumped out to big leads and rallied back from a seemingly impossible situation — down three with two outs in the ninth and nobody on base. A Royals closer Joakim Soria, no less, in Kansas City on Wednesday.

While a shaky bullpen is the hot-button subject seven games into the season, the offense has been a force with contributions coming from up and down the batting order. Even while Edwin Jackson was stealing some of its thunder with his 13-strikeout performance in the Sox’ 5-1 win against the winless Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, the lineup was thumping its chest with 12 more hits.

“It’s been more about our hitters than anything,” said relief pitcher Chris Sale, who earned the win in Wednesday’s 10-7 victory in 12 innings with two scoreless innings. “Those guys have been on fire, they’re stealing the show.”

Going into Friday night’s game against the 0-6 Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox were batting .320 with five homers and 14 doubles. They had a .374 on-base percentage and are slugging .456. They scored seven runs on 11 hits against the Rays on Friday night but errors by shortstop Alexei Ramirez and left fielder Juan Pierre contributed to a Rays rally in the ninth against closer Matt Thornton.

“The run support has been unbelievable,” Sale said Thursday. “They can rally back from any situation. When everyone else thinks we are down and out, in the back of our minds we know they can go off.”

Adam Dunn has missed the last two games after an appendectomy and the offense hasn’t missed a beat.

“Especially without Dunn in the lineup,” Sale said. “Those guys stepping up and scoring some runs and making things happen. They are a special group of guys.”

Cleanup hitter Paul Konerko has nine RBI, second only to Carlos Quentin with 10. Konerko has at least one in each game — a Sox record streak to start a season. And he’s not even on top of his game.

“I’m just grinding out there and I don’t kind of have it,” Konerko said. “I’m just trying to play to the situation, not trying to be perfect. I’m just trying to get the best pitch I can and just hit it – I found a couple of holes. I’m not dialed in by any means.”

Leadoff man Pierre was batting .357 and No. 2 hitter Gordon Beckham was at .308. Beckham hit his first home run of the season Friday night.

“We’ve been getting a lot of guys on base these first few games and that’s a good thing,” Konerko said. “That’s huge when those guys at the top of the lineup have been doing that. That can really settle it for the middle guys. It’s nice to get out of the gate. Those guys at the top of the lineup have really been setting the table.”

Said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after Thursday’s win: “We have a pretty good hitting ballclub. We showed yesterday how we can hit. Yesterday we scored four with two outs.

“Today we scored late in the game, we scored twice with two outs. We steal a base and made things happen. Right now we’re hitting in the clutch and that’s very important. We’re mixing in one run here and there. Every day it’s not the same guy every time. Different guys are doing the damage.”

The Latest
The Railsplitters avenged last season’s championship loss to Nazareth with a resounding 60-44 IHSA Class 3A state championship win over Glenwood. Froebe set a Class 3A championship scoring record with her dominant 36-point performance.
The Ramblers (38-0) came back and won the IHSA Class 4A state championship 44-40 over Nazareth, but not because of their lethal offense. They won because they got gritty on defense.
The lowly Jackets — who have won only 18 of 58 games this season against teams other than the Hawks — cruised to a 5-2 victory Saturday, outscoring the Hawks 12-5 across their two meetings this season.