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Ramirez fuels White Sox's big inning with slam

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- It might have taken the Chicago White Sox a few innings to warm up, but once they did, it was lights out.

Shortstop Alexei Ramirez had a grand slam during a seven-run fourth inning and designated hitter Jose Abreu added a mammoth blast as the White Sox beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3 on Friday night.

After three perfect innings, everything fell apart for Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy (1-6), culminating with Ramirez's fifth home run of the season, on a 3-0 pitch.

Center fielder Alejandro De Aza, who finished with a season-high three hits, led off the inning with a double, and four of the next five batters singled before Ramirez's drive.

"The first time around he was able to throw his sinker. He was able to throw his curveball efficiently," said Ramirez, who also had a triple in the seventh. "The second time around I laid off of that stuff and that's how I was able to get a good pitch."

After two more singles, De Aza drove in another run with a single to give the White Sox a 7-2 lead.

That ended McCarthy's night after 3 1/3 innings. He gave up nine hits and seven earned runs -- all in the fourth inning. He struck out five.

"(McCarthy) was lights out there for a while," Chicago bench coach Mark Parent said. "And then I think the guys just made some adjustments."

After the game, McCarthy did not know what to make of the sudden turnaround.

"No idea. I don't know if they changed their approach, they just got super aggressive. ... They started jumping on everything," he said. "They're not terrible pitches. They're not anything different than what I was doing the first three innings."

Abreu and second baseman Gordon Beckham also had RBI singles in the inning. The White Sox got nine hits in 10 at-bats -- seven of them singles -- before reliever Trevor Cahill induced a double play from Beckham to end the inning.

Andre Rienzo (3-0) gave up four hits and three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.

Abreu, who was in the lineup as the designated hitter to try to reduce stress on his sore left ankle, limped his way through Thursday's home loss to the Chicago Cubs but maintained before Friday night's game that the ankle was not a cause for concern.

He backed up his words with a 3-for-4 performance, including a 442-foot blast to center field off Cahill in the seventh to extend the lead to 8-3. It was Abreu's major league-leading 13th home run of the season.

Arizona, which did not get a hit off three Chicago relievers in 3 1/3 innings, got one run back in the fifth on A.J. Pollock's RBI single.

"(Reinzo) pitched good and their bullpen came in and shut us down," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We had a couple opportunities, but they put a lot of pressure on us."

Leadoff man Gerrardo Parra gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead with two outs in the third when he drove a 2-2 pitch from Rienzo over the fence in right center for his third homer of the season.

Catcher Tyler Flowers made it 9-3 with a first-pitch homer off reliever Joe Thatcher in the eighth.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 to end a nine-game hitting streak.

NOTES: RHP Nate Jones rejoined Chicago after having surgery to relieve pain caused by a pinched nerve in his back on Monday. Jones said he is a month from resuming baseball activities. "Our first target is becoming a normal person, twisting and bending, stuff like that," he said. ... White Sox's LHP Jose Quintana (1-2, 3.56 ERA) is scheduled to face Arizona's LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 5.14) in the second game of the teams' series on Saturday.
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