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White Sox Thu Jul 15 2010

Jenks Helps Sox Start 2nd Half Strong

SoxLogoSmall.jpegSaves are sometimes the most overrated stat in baseball, but not tonight.

Not after the White Sox rallied to overcome Minnesota's six-run second inning and John Danks handed a two-run lead to the bullpen for the final nine outs. Not after Sergio Santos stumbled in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs.

Tonight, Bobby Jenks earned his closer's money.

Jenks cleaned up after Santos by striking out Orlando Hudson to leave the bases loaded, then survived the heart of the Twins order in the ninth, preserving an 8-7 win as Chicago kicked off the second half of the season, a four-game series in Minneapolis and a 10-game road trip.

Joe Mauer doubled off Jenks to begin the bottom of the ninth, but the big man recovered to get cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer on one pitch, inducing a grounder to shortstop. He struck out Jason Kubel after a tough battle on a breaking ball down and in.

Jenks was working with an 8-6 lead, so he still had breathing room after Delmon Young capped a nice at-bat with a single to center, scoring Mauer. He retired old friend Jim Thome to end the game, freezing baseball's No. 10 all-time home run hitter with a two-strike curveball down the middle. [video]

"The bullpen did a good job and came out and shut those guys down," said Ozzie Guillen, whose first-place Sox earned their 26th win in 31 games. "That's something that's not easy to do."

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