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Wednesday, July 24

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White Sox Wed Jul 28 2010

Jenks Closes Door on Grand Night for Sox

SoxLogoSmall.jpegAfter an uneven road trip, with trading deadline speculation in full swing, home has provided all the comforts the White Sox could require as they fight to hold on to first place in the AL Central.

John Danks, Gavin Floyd and a brawny offensive display helped the Sox outscore Seattle 17-1 on Monday and Tuesday in the first of seven straight home games -- and that set the stage Wednesday for a night of high drama.

Seattle, the lowest-scoring team in baseball, got to Mark Buehrle for five runs in the first two innings, but Chicago pulled within 5-3 on a two-run homer by Gordon Beckham; tied it on a two-run homer by Paul Konerko; and manufactured the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when Juan Pierre walked, stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Alex Rios' single through a drawn-in infield.

But that was the easy part. Overcoming a four-run deficit is no big thing for the resurgent Sox offense these days. The best sign for South Side fans was the work of the bullpen, anchored definitively by once-and-future closer Bobby Jenks.

Buehrle made it through five innings; Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz handled the sixth, seventh and eighth with few problems; and the ninth belonged to Jenks.

With the home fans roaring in support, the big man struck out Franklin Gutierrez, Russell Branyan and Justin Smoak, 1-2-3, for his first save since two disastrous outings against the Twins and these very Mariners in the past 10 days.

Like Mayor Daley -- nearly hit by a projectile in the fourth inning -- the Sox escaped unscathed. They'll carry a one-game lead into Thursday's series finale against Seattle before welcoming Oakland for a three-game weekend series.

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