Wise’s slam helps White Sox sweep doubleheader

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CHICAGO (AP)—Just as a sweet sweep appeared to be slipping away, DeWayne Wise picked the perfect moment to hit his first grand slam.

He hit a pinch-hit shot in the eighth inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 11-7 to complete a doubleheader sweep after the bullpen blew a seven-run lead Sunday night.

“Felt good,” Wise said. “It was my first one up here and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The White Sox won the first game 4-2 behind Javier Vazquez’s 7 2-3 scoreless innings after the game was delayed more than three hours. They appeared on their way to an easy nightcap, building a 7-0 lead.

Jim Thome hit his 539th homer and Brian Anderson went deep against Kenny Rogers, but the bullpen imploded after John Danks pitched six scoreless innings.

The Tigers tied it at 7-all in the top half of the eighth on a leadoff homer by Curtis Granderson and grand slam by Marcus Thames. In the bottom of the inning, Wise connected off Kyle Farnsworth with two out. His first career slam came after third baseman Mike Hessman booted Orlando Cabrera’s one-hopper— which was ruled a hit after a bad bounce—to load the bases.

Wise, batting for Anderson, drove an 0-1 pitch into the right-field bullpen, and Chicago grabbed a 1 1/2 -game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.

“It seems like every time he goes to the plate he hits the ball hard,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “You roll the dice. Hopefully, it works and it worked out for us today.”

The meltdown by the White Sox’s bullpen started when Hessman hit a two-run shot off Scott Linebrink in the seventh. Boone Logan allowed a leadoff drive by Chicago-area native Granderson—the lone batter he faced—in the eighth, and the lead continued to slip away.

Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez, who hit a two-run homer off closer Bobby Jenks in the first game, followed with singles off D.J. Carrasco. Octavio Dotel then walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases, drawing loud boos from an already restless crowd, and things only got worse after he struck out Gary Sheffield.

Thames drove the first pitch he saw out to left-center, tying it at 7 with his second grand slam this season and the sixth of his career.

But the White Sox answered in the bottom half.

Jerry Owens led off with a single against Bobby Seay (1-2) and moved to second on Juan Uribe’s sacrifice before Nick Swisher was intentionally walked. Farnsworth came on after Toby Hall flied out and allowed that infield single by Cabrera that loaded the bases.

“It was unfortunate,” Hessman said. “Farnsworth came in, he had his pitch, got the ground ball for it … it didn’t work out.”

Wise’s grand slam made a winner of Matt Thornton (5-3), who pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings, and allowed the White Sox to exhale after a long day.

Danks held the Tigers to just four hits while striking out six and walking one after going 0-3 in his previous four starts, but the concerns about the bullpen continue to grow. Have the relievers hit a wall?

“They better not,” Guillen said. “Or let me know. I will feel real comfortable pitching somebody else.”

Rogers was in line for his fourth straight loss after allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings. He has allowed at least six runs in each of those outings.

Thome, 14th on baseball’s home-run list, led off the fourth with his 32nd homer to make it 2-0 after knocking a run-scoring single in the first. Anderson added a two-run shot in the fifth before Ken Griffey Jr. chased Rogers with a two-run double as the White Sox scored five to increase their lead to 7-0.

In the opener, Vazquez (12-13) took a shutout into the eighth and Alexei Ramirez homered.

Juan Uribe singled in Ken Griffey Jr. in the fifth inning and Ramirez made it 2-0 in the seventh with his 17th homer. DeWayne Wise added an RBI double in the eighth, and Jermaine Dye drove him in with a single that made it 4-0 and chased Justin Verlander (10-16).

Ordonez hit a two-run homer off Jenks in the ninth, and the Tigers had the tying run on after Matt Joyce singled with one out, before Gary Sheffield grounded into a game-ending double play.

“Both teams I think were a little slugglish after laying around like that, but not one more than the other obviously,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Come out of it, the ball was kind of funky for the first couple of innings, damp. That’s the way it goes, the ball is not going anywhere, but you get back into it.”

The late drama aside, the White Sox were glad to get the games in after rain washed out the previous two days. They were supposed to play a doubleheader Saturday, and this one appeared to be in jeopardy as the remnants of Hurricane Ike rolled through the area on Sunday. They intended to play a day-night doubleheader before the rain delay made it a standard one, and there were only a few hundred fans at U.S. Cellular Field when it started.

“I played about six years in Montreal so I’m used to (small crowds),” Vazquez said.

Notes

Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to make his first start for Detroit since June 9 when the Tigers visit Texas on Monday. Sent to the minors after a slow start, he was recalled from Triple-A Toledo Sept. 1.

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