CHICAGO (AP)—For 6 2-3 innings, the Chicago White Sox didn’t have a hit.
“We figured hopefully we’d get to him,” Graffanino said. “Early in the game, it was hard to see with the background. He had good movement on his fastball and a good changeup, mixed his pitches and kept guys off balance.”
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Cornejo (4-8) didn’t allow a hit until Paul Konerko grounded a single between short and third with two outs in the seventh, starting the string of seven straight Chicago hits.
Manager Alan Trammell called on lefty reliever Walker and Graffanino delivered the third pinch-hit homer of his career.
“I didn’t want to come out at that point,” Cornejo said. “I knew they got three hits in a row after I got two outs. I don’t think any starting pitcher at that point is going to want to come out.”
Cornejo said he didn’t realize until the sixth that he hadn’t given up a hit.
“The seventh inning happened too fast. I got those two outs and then Konerko got that hit,” Cornejo said.
Earlier this season, Detroit’s Mike Maroth took a no-hitter into the eighth against Baltimore, only to lose it and eventually the game when the Orioles scored six two-out runs.
“You’re looking at Nate throwing a gem and before you can blink an eye, it’s seven straight hits and five runs,” Trammell said.
Crede added an RBI single in the ninth for the White Sox’s final run.
Graffanino wasn’t sure he’d get to bat because the White Sox sent up Brian Daubach to pinch-hit for Miguel Olivo until Walker relieved. Then, to bat for Daubach, manager Jerry Manuel had to decide between Graffanino and Sandy Alomar Jr.
He made the right decision. Graffanino hit a 2-2 pitch deep to left.
“As a pinch-hitter, you’re sitting there trying to get ready and they tell you to go in the game and your heart is racing a little,” Graffanino said.
Jon Garland (7-7) allowed six hits, including Eric Munson’s 13th homer—a two-run shot in the fourth. Damaso Marte pitched the final two innings, striking out four, to get his fifth save in 12 chances.
Cornejo had shut out the White Sox for eight innings nine days ago when heallowed seven hits. He’s now lost six of his last seven decisions.
Thomas is just 6-for-42 (.139) in his last 11 games, nine of them at DH where he’s struggled most of the season. Konerko played first. … Cornejo’s father Mardie Cornejo went 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 25 appearances for the New York Mets in 1978, his only major league season. … The last time the White Sox had seven straight hits in an inning came in 1997 at Cleveland. … Seven of Detroit’s 26 wins this season are against the White Sox. Chicago leads theseason series 8-7.