CHICAGO (AP/WFAN) — White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen heard the sellout crowd roar during the national anthem, and knew he was in for a fun night.
“If you don’t get motivated with that,” he said with a grin, “then you won’t be ready for any game.”
Guillen’s team sure looked ready, getting off to a fast start in a 9-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday. A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run double in Chicago’s four-run first, Freddy Garcia threw seven solid innings and the White Sox roughed up A.J. Burnett.
“It was a fun game,” Pierzynski said. “It was great. Big crowd, excited crowd, to jump on them early obviously was huge and get the crowd into the game.”
Omar Vizquel had two hits and two RBIs for Chicago, which has won three of four after returning home following an ugly 2-4 road trip. Juan Pierre went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
Kickstarted by a rousing pregame ceremony that included championship trophies from Chicago teams in the four major sports, the White Sox banged out nine hits one night after they had 14 in an 8-0 victory over Baltimore that gave them their first series victory in three weeks. They improved to 25-7 at U.S. Cellular Field since June 9, outscoring their opponents 196-105 during the impressive stretch.
And more help could be on the way.
Chicago was awarded a waiver claim on Manny Ramirez, giving the White Sox exclusive bargaining rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the waiver-wire process is confidential.
The White Sox and Dodgers have until 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to complete a trade, which Ramirez would have to approve. The Dodgers also could let him go — with his consent — and the White Sox would simply assume his salary. Or, Los Angeles could keep Ramirez and try to make a run at the playoffs with him.
Former White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Yankees, who have dropped three of four but remained tied with Tampa Bay for the AL East lead. Brett Gardner had two hits and drove in a run.
Burnett (9-12) struggled once again, dropping to 0-4 with a 7.80 ERA in five starts this month and putting his spot in the rotation in jeopardy.
“I’ve been through this,” he said. “I’m strong enough to deal with it. I’m not going to pout. I’m not going into my next start thinking here we go again. It’s a matter of being strong.”
That next start is up in the air though, with manager Joe Girardi saying the Yankees would “evaluate after this weekend where we are and what we need to do.”
“He didn’t locate it well enough and he didn’t pitch well,” Girardi said.
Five of the first six White Sox batters reached. Pierre hit a leadoff double and scored on Vizquel’s single. Carlos Quentin also singled in a run and Pierzynski capped the scoring with a drive into the right-field corner, delighting the crowd of 38,596.
“It was a tough game early and then it turned into an easier game, which was nice,” said Paul Konerko, who singled and scored on Pierzynski’s hit.
Burnett retired the side in order in the second but Quentin scored on a wild pitch in the third and Chicago added four more in the fourth to make it 9-2.
Burnett was charged with nine runs, eight earned, and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. The right-hander, who also walked three and threw two wild pitches, is 3-10 with a 6.86 ERA in his last 15 starts overall.
While Burnett struggled, Garcia (11-5) snapped out of his rut by yielding two runs, one earned, and five hits for his first win since July 29 against Seattle. The right-hander was 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in his previous four starts.
“He threw the ball great,” Pierzynski said.
Sergio Mitre replaced Burnett and threw 4 2-3 innings of one-hit ball to save the Yankees’ bullpen.
NOTES: White Sox reliever Erick Threets departed in the ninth with a balky left elbow. X-rays were negative and he is scheduled for an MRI on Saturday. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (strained left groin) threw 25 pitches at about 75 percent during a bullpen session. “It was a relief,” he said. The next step will depend on how the 38-year-old Pettitte feels Saturday. … Girardi said DH-1B Lance Berkman (sprained right ankle) is feeling good. “He’s supposed to run some time here in Chicago if he’s up for it,” Girardi said. … Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville brought the Stanley Cup to home plate as part of the pregame ceremony honoring Chicago’s recent championships in the major sports, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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