White Sox walk 12, fall out of first place

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Thud.

That was the sound of the White Sox falling out of first place on Wednesday night for the first time since July 23.

Dud.

That’s what the Sox produced against the last-place Cleveland Indians in their failing attempt to stay in first.

Sox pitchers walked 12 Indians and Sox hitters were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position as the South Siders (82-73) lost 6-4 before 20,166 fans for their seventh defeat in eight games. The Tigers (83-72) beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 to take a one-game lead in the American League Central.

Shin-Soo Choo grounded to first baseman Paul Konerko to score Lou Marson (Walk) as the Indians broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth. Vinny Rottino hit his first homer against Brett Myers in the eighth to make it 6-4.

Making his third start, rookie left-hander Hector Santiago was staked to a 3-1 lead but lasted 3 1/3 innings that started the agonzing run on walks. Santiago walked four and gave up five hits, allowing three runs. Fellow rookie Brian Omogrosso replaced Santiago and gave up a two-run single to Glenbrook North grad Jason Kipnis to tie the score at 3 in the fourth.

Indians starter Justin Masterson had control problems of his own in the first, walking Paul Konerko with no outs and the bases loaded to score Alejandro De Aza (walk) before Alex Rios’ sacrifice fly and A.J. Pierzynski’s RBI double gave the Sox their 3-1 lead.

The Sox wanted more with runners on second and third and one out, but Alexei Ramirez tapped out to Masterson and Dewayne Wise grounded to first as the Sox problems with runners in scoring position continued. They’re 8-for-64 over the last nine games.

Masterson regained his command and lasted until the fifth when he walked Pierzynski with two outs and threw a wild pitch. When Ramirez doubled off the center-field wall to give the Sox a 4-3 lead, Masterson’s night was over.

Jones, pitching for the sixth time in 10 days, walked Santana with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth to tie the score at 4. Jones struck out Russ Canzler and Matt Thornton came in and got Travis Hafner to hit into a pitcher-to-home-to-first double play, but not without making a shaky throw home to Pierzynski, the Sox catcher.

By that time, the Tigers were making their way home to rest up for their home finale against the Royals on Thursday afternoon. They finish up with three games at Minnesota and three at Kansas City. The Sox open a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday before playing the Indians in Cleveland for three.

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