Rangers 5, White Sox 0
Thomson did exactly that Sunday, throwing a four-hitter to win his fifth straight decision as the Rangers avoided a four-game sweep with a 5-0 win over the White Sox.
“The key for me today was to try to get ahead of them early, to try to make them conscious about the inside part of the plate,” Thomson said. “I noticed in the first three games, especially Frank Thomas, was able to get his arms extended.”
The White Sox outscored Texas 25-6 in three wins, but Thomas nor any other Chicago hitter could do much against Thomson (12-10), who didn’t allow a runner to reach second until there were two outs in the ninth. Thomson threw 107 pitches—77 for strikes—in his third complete game of the season. His last came May 18 in a 5-1 win over the New York Yankees. He struck out six and walked one.
“That’s as good a game as you will see pitched anywhere this year,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “You’ve got probably one of the hottest offensive teams in baseball playing in their ballpark with a big crowd,” and Thomson shut them down.
The five straight wins are a career high for Thomson, who hasn’t lost since July 22 at Baltimore—seven starts.
“He hit the corners all day long,” said Thomas, who went 0-for-3. “That’s what you call teasing the zone.”
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Chicago, which remained a game up on Kansas City in the AL Central. The Royals lost 8-1 to the Minnesota Twins, who moved within 1 1/2 games of the White Sox.
The Rangers had won eight in a row coming into the series, including a three-game sweep of Chicago last weekend at Texas, before dropping the first three games of the series. Hank Blalock had a two-run homer for the Rangers.
Jon Garland (9-10) was almost as sharp as Thomson. He had a career-high 10 strike outs and gave up just three runs and five hits in seven-plus innings. He was removed after Donnie Sadler led off the eighth with a single.
“John had a good outing for us. He gave us a chance to win,” Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. “The one changeup was up to Blalock and he put a good swing on it to put them up 2-0. Obviously, with the way Thomson was pitching that was more than enough. He was an impressive pitcher today.”
Texas scored two times in the third when Todd Greene singled and Blalock followed three batters later by hitting the first pitch from Garland into the seats in right field. It was his 23rd homer.
The Rangers added three runs in the eighth on a bases-loaded double by Mark Teixeira off reliever Scott Sullivan. Teixeira hit a ball into the gap in left-center and went to third when left fielder Carlos Lee misplayed the ball. Lee was charged with an error. Texas loaded the bases on Sadler’s single, andan intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez and a walk to Rafael Palmeiro. ^Notes: Blalock hit a pinch-hit homer to win the All-Star game at U.S. Cellular Field. … The White Sox trailed Kansas City by seven games at the All-Starbreak but had the majors’ best second-half record going into Sunday at 24-12.