Smile Politely

Sox Hold On To Win AL Central

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Smile Politely party at Mike ‘N Molly’s last night. It was a lot of fun, despite the baseball game, which was won by the White Sox, 1–0. Chicago wins the AL Central and advances to the playoffs to face Tampa Bay, starting tomorrow night.

Surprisingly, there were a couple of groups of Twins fans that filed in right around 6:30 p.m., and we outnumbered the Sox fans (at least those in caps or jerseys, anyway) in the place for the majority of the evening. Too bad it wasn’t a better show for the displaced faithful.

In a game that featured a grand total of seven hits and 13 baserunners, every opportunity was magnified. Like has been the case all season, whatever offense the Sox generated came courtesy of the long ball, in this instance a towering seventh-inning shot by Jim Thome off Twins starter Nick Blackburn.

The only legitimate scoring chance the Twins had all night was in the fifth, when Michael Cuddyer, making the surprise start at DH, hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on Delmon Young’s fly out. Then Brendan Harris hit a shallow fly ball to center, and Cuddyer tagged up. Ken Griffey, Jr.’s throw was not especially strong, but it was accurate and easily handled by A.J. Pierzynski, who held his own and held onto the ball as Cuddyer tried to bowl him over. Cuddyer didn’t make solid contact with Pierzynski, and while replays showed a lot of white peeking out of A.J.’s glove, the ball didn’t pop all the way free.

Some nights, especially on the road, Minnesota will only generate one chance to score a run, and last night they just didn’t capitalize. Of their five baserunners, three were erased on double plays, meaning only 29 men came to the plate for the Twins on the evening. A tip of the cap to Sox starter John Danks, who kept the Twins hitters, especially Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, off-balance all evening. Credit is also due to the Sox’ defense, which was solid if not spectacular after several shaky outings last week at the Metrodome.

Now, after struggling for the last month of the season, Chicago enters the postseason tied with the Phillies for the longest current winning streak of any playoff team, a whopping three games. Check back in next Wednesday for an update on their progress, as well as some divisional postseason awards.

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