Thursday, June 19, 2014
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White Sox hold on to beat Giants 7-6

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[June 19, 2014]  CHICAGO -- The anticipated pitcher's duel between Tim Hudson and Chris Sale never materialized, but there was a nail-biting finish Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

Despite allowing four runs in the final three innings, the Chicago White Sox hung on to beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 to sweep a brief two-game interleague series.

The back-to-back wins for Chicago (35-37) come on the heels of a four-game losing streak that included being swept by the Kansas City Royals, who now lead the American League Central.

"Our guys, they're tough," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team will start an 11-game road trip Thursday in Minnesota. "They just keep grinding. The schedule keeps going and it doesn't stop. If you want to look in the rearview mirror and wallow on that, you're going to get beat a lot more. These guys seem to stay with it and grind it out."

The struggling Giants have lost five in a row and eight of their past 10.

Closer Ronald Belisario allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings to earn his seventh save, but not before some late-inning dramatics.

Leading 7-5 heading into the ninth, Belisario allowed a lead-off double to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, followed by designated hitter Michael Morse's single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Belisario got out of it with a strikeout, a sacrifice fly and a fly out to end the game.

"It happens," Ventura said of his bullpen allowing three runs. "I mean, they're human. They've been doing a great job of filling in and getting it done for us. I don't expect this to be a trend or anything, it's just hopefully a blip."

Powered by home runs from first-baseman Jose Abreu and designated hitter Adam Dunn, the White Sox built a 7-2 lead after five innings and barely made it stand up with four relievers used in the final three innings.

Neither starter had his best stuff.

Sale (6-1) picked up the win, but lasted only six innings. Hudson, whose earned-run average went from a majors-leading 1.81 ERA to 2.39 ERA, took the loss. He allowed seven runs (all earned) on 12 hits and didn't record a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings.

"It was a tough day for me out there, no question," Hudson said. "It's hard to put your finger on one thing. It was just a couple of bad pitches here and there and they put themselves in position to score some runs and took advantage of it."

Aside from his sterling ERA before the game, Hudson had also won his last five starts. His history against the White Sox isn't as pristine, however, particularly in Chicago. He carried a 4-3 record and 5.15 ERA in nine career outings against the White Sox into the game, including a 1-2 mark with a 7.40 ERA in his last three starts against Chicago.

Hudson was also 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA in five career starts at U.S. Cellular Field, with no quality starts. He's still searching for his first after the Sox scored two runs in the first, two more in the third and three runs in the fifth to build a 7-2 lead before Hudson was relieved.

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Abreu got it started by drilling a two-run homer in his first at-bat with two outs in the first inning to make it 2-0. Catcher Tyler Flowers added a two-run single in the fourth to make it 4-0 and Dunn launched a three-run homer in the fifth -- making it 7-2 after the Giants had just scratched out two runs in the top of the inning.

Abreu and Dunn each had 0-2 counts against them when they hit their home runs.

"Obviously, the big blow was that homer from Dunn in the fifth inning," Hudson said. "I just didn't get that pitch where I wanted to and elevated a four-seamer. It's frustrating, no doubt about it. You score six runs on a day I pitch, we should win these games. For me, that's the frustrating part."

Sale wasn't at his best either. He struck out seven but allowed an uncharacteristic eight hits and three runs. He labored a bit, but was good enough to protect a comfortable lead until the bullpen took over.

Right-handers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam and left-hander Scott Downs preceded Belisario and just barely kept the Giants at bay through the final 2 1/3 innings. Aside from Belisario's escape act in the ninth, Petricka also wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.

NOTES: Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen watched the game from seats behind home plate. He said it was his first game back at U.S. Cellular Field since leaving for the managing job with the Florida Marlins at the end of the 2011 season ... Chicago backup C Adrian Nieto might start getting more starts to allow slumping Tyler Flowers time to work out some kinks in his swing and let his body heal from bumps and bruises associated with catching. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy said closer Sergio Romo's job is secure despite some struggles in Colorado this past weekend. ... Giants CF Angel Pagan (lower back stiffness) flew to Arizona Thursday ahead of the Giants to undergo tests prior to the start of a weekend series against the Diamondbacks. ... Giants backup catcher Hector Sanchez did not undergo concussion protocol tests after having a foul tip hit him in the mask Tuesday during the first game against Chicago.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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