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White Sox Tue Jun 08 2010

Bullpen Collapse Spoils Hawk's Big Night

SoxLogoSmall.jpegThe White Sox spent the night honoring longtime broadcaster Ken Harrelson, but the best present they could have given the Hawk, a victory, was ripped cruelly from their grasp after stalwart reliever Matt Thornton fell apart in the seventh inning. Detroit scored six runs and went on to a 7-2 win in the first of three games at U.S. Cellular Field.

Chicago's fifth loss in seven games will do nothing to quell the raging trade rumors and speculation that have begun to consume the club. Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle lead a parade of veteran players the Sox (24-33) could trade away for younger talent as they continue to slip further out of the playoff chase. They trail first-place Minnesota by 9.5 games in the AL Central and are a distant seventh in the early wild card race.


Things were going well Tuesday night when Thornton relieved Gavin Floyd to start the seventh inning. After a disastrous previous outing against Texas, Floyd allowed the Tigers just one run in six innings, but Thornton quickly put runners on first and second with one out.

Detroit tied the score at 2 when the next hitter, Ryan Raburn, cracked a base hit to right field, where Carlos Quentin slipped on the wet grass after fielding the ball. Raburn and Johnny Damon kept running, Quentin hurried the ball back in and second baseman Gordon Beckham threw wild toward second base, trying to catch Raburn. Damon came in from third with the go-ahead run.

After an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, Thornton battled Brennan Boesch for nine pitches, the young right fielder fouling off three two-strike offerings before hitting a 3-2 pitch over the centerfield wall, 400 feet away, for a three-run homer.

Chicago turned to Scott Linebrink and Carlos Guillen greeted him with a homer that made it 7-2. But the loss went to Thornton, whose ERA has ballooned from 1.52 to 3.81 in his past three appearances. Since preserving a one-run lead with a scoreless eighth inning against Texas on June 2, the 33-year-old left-hander has given up 7 runs in 2.1 innings against Cleveland and Detroit.

In one night alone, the man Tigers manager Jim Leyland called "the best lefty reliever in the league," gave up nearly as many runs (5) as he had allowed all season (6) in 25.2 innings.

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