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White Sox avoid an exit with 5-3 victory over Rays

Chicago, feeling relaxed at home, uses the strength of Danks' pitching to push the division series to Game 4.

October 06, 2008|Mark Gonzales | Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Juan Uribe knocked on a couple of clubhouse door entrances Sunday and ran.

That was just a sampling of how comfortable the Chicago White Sox play in their own environment despite facing long odds and sitting through a 35-minute rain delay.

"Maybe that's just the way we're going to do it the rest of the playoffs," closer Bobby Jenks said after the White Sox averted elimination for at least one more day by beating Tampa Bay, 5-3, in Game 3 of this best-of-five American League division series. "We're going to try."

Behind the revival of timely hitting that was nonexistent in two losses at Tropicana Field and aggressive baserunning, the White Sox gave left-hander John Danks enough support to force a fourth game. This marked the fourth time in a week the Sox had converted a must-win situation.

"We've won when we've had to," said Matt Thornton, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. "We have a good group of veterans where the situation doesn't overwhelm them."

A.J. Pierzynski extended his postseason hitting streak to seven games with a two-out run-scoring single that tied the score at 1-1 in the third inning.

And 38-year-olds Jim Thome and Ken Griffey Jr. teamed with Dewayne Wise to highlight a three-run fourth off Rays starter Matt Garza.

Thome ripped a leadoff double off the wall in right-center. After Paul Konerko drew a walk, Griffey singled to load the bases and then wisely tagged up and advanced to second on Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly.

"I was just trying to stay out of a double play," Griffey said. "And if you get doubled up, you still have a guy on third."

Wise continued his remarkable postseason when he poked an opposite-field double to left to extend the White Sox lead to 4-1. Wise has five runs batted in and two of the Chicago's six extra-base hits in the series.

"This is the postseason, so little things like that win ballgames," Wise said. "We're not ready to go home yet."

Wise's hit was one of four that the White Sox produced with runners in scoring position, equaling their total in the two losses. He also cemented his stature on the club even though he wasn't even invited to a major league camp last spring.

"He's great in the clubhouse," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "He has fit in. Every year we have surprises, and he has been a big surprise. We wouldn't be here without him."

In addition to the clutch hitting, the White Sox stole three bases -- two that led to runs. Uribe's RBI single extended the White Sox lead to 5-1 and loomed large after B.J. Upton hit a two-run home run.

"I don't have a lot of pressure," Uribe said. "This is the playoffs, but you have the same play, the same hustle and work."

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Tampa Bay vs. Chicago White Sox

Rays lead best-of-five series, 2-1;

all times Pacific; all games on TBS

Game 1: at Tampa Bay 6, Chicago 4

Game 2: at Tampa Bay 6, Chicago 2

Game 3: at Chicago 5, Tampa Bay 3

Game 4: Today, 2 p.m.

Tampa Bay (Andy Sonnanstine, 13-9, 4.38)

at Chicago (Gavin Floyd, 17-8, 3.84)

Game 5: Wednesday, 3 p.m.*

Chicago (TBA)

at Tampa Bay (TBA)

*If necessary

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