Monday, September 22, 2014
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Garcia flexes muscle, White Sox swat Rays

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[September 22, 2014]  ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Chicago White Sox had gone five games without a home run, a season-long power outage for a team with a couple of big bats in the lineup every day.

That changed in a big way Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

Right fielder Avisail Garcia hit a pair of homers to spark two big innings as the White Sox rolled past the Tampa Bay Rays, 10-5.

"I think it was a case of Avisail Garcia. The bat in his hand was our problem," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They've got some really talented hitters on that team."

White Sox lefty John Danks carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowing two runs on two hits in six innings as the White Sox secured their first road series victory since the end of July.

"That was fun," said Danks, who picked up his first win over the Rays since April 20, 2010. "We got in a nice little rhythm and were able to get some quick outs, which helps. All in all, it was a good day."

The White Sox (71-84) broke out in the second inning against Rays starter Nathan Karns, who wasn't able to build off a dominant Rays debut on Sept. 12. Garcia led off the inning with a solo home run to left field.

Karns then hit left fielder Dayan Viciedo, gave up a single to center fielder Jordan Danks and served up a three-run homer to third baseman Marcus Semien.

Maddon and Karns praised Semien for the blast, as he took a good fastball inside and pulled it into the left field seats.

"That's how it goes sometimes," Karns said. "The hitters are going to take a bad pitch and make it good."

While Danks silenced the Rays (75-81) in their home finale, the White Sox lineup backed him up with a six-run sixth inning. Once again, Garcia led off the frame with a solo homer for his second-career multihomer game.

"That ball Garcia hit was in the next ZIP code," Maddon said.

After three straight hits by Viciedo, Danks and Semien, right-hander Alex Colome walked first baseman Andy Wilkins with the bases loaded to make it 6-0.

After throwing seven shutout innings in his last start Sept. 12, Karns was charged with six earned runs in five-plus innings Sunday.

Colome, a starter auditioning for a potential bullpen job next season, was equally unimpressive.

"I'm not going to draw any conclusions from that," Maddon said. "Just a bad day for him."

Another run scored on a groundout by catcher Josh Phegley, shortstop Alexei Ramirez added a two-run double and designated hitter Jose Abreu finished off the rally with an RBI single, the rookie's 105th RBI this season.

Danks no-hit the Rays through 5 1/3 innings before left fielder Brandon Guyer knocked a double to left field in the sixth.

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Could the long offensive inning have thrown off Danks in his bid for a no-hitter?

"You'll take it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "All things considered, you'd rather have a six-run inning than take your chances going out there trying to throw a no-hitter."

Pinch-hitter Kevin Kiermaier drove in one run on a groundout, and right fielder Wil Myers' infield single scored Guyer.

The Rays tacked on another run in the seventh inning, when catcher Curt Casali drove in first baseman James Loney with a double to left, and two more in the ninth on a double by Guyer.

The loss gave the Rays 81 on the year, snapping their streak of six consecutive winning seasons. Tampa Bay finished its home schedule with a 36-45 record, the club's lowest mark since 2003, when the Devil Rays went 36-45 at home.

"That's the part that is really hard to understand," Maddon said. "That's where the season literally went upside-down."

NOTES: White Sox LHP Chris Sale (12-4, 2.20 ERA) is scheduled to make his final start of the season Wednesday against Tigers RHP Justin Verlander. RHP Chris Bassitt (0-1, 5.29) will start Monday against LHP Kyle Lobstein (1-0, 3.58). ... Rays INF Sean Rodriguez (death in the family) and RHP Brad Boxberger (birth of his daughter) returned to the team Sunday. ... White Sox 1B Paul Konerko was out of Sunday's lineup but said it had nothing to do with the hand injury that sidelined him from Sept. 2 until Friday. The Rays aired a short video tribute to Konerko, set to retire after this season, on the scoreboard during the game. ... After an off day Monday, the Rays will head to Boston for three games. RHP Alex Cobb (9-8, 2.82) will face Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (8-9, 5.29). ... The Rays drew 1,446,464 fans in 81 home games this season, their lowest total since 2007, for an average of 17,858 per game that currently ranks last in the major leagues.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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