The White Sox took a bite out of the piranha parable Saturday, and perhaps punctured through the mystery of Javier Vazquez.
Wow, all of that in one cold, bone-chilling afternoon that resulted in a 3-0 Sox victory and vanquished the American League's last undefeated team.
"It wasn't that cold in the World Series, I'll tell you that much," Paul Konerko said. "As far as cold, this is as bad as I've ever been in. I think we had the right approach for this weather (31 degrees at game time)."
The approach was so unlike last year, right from playing flawless "small ball" to having Vazquez finally dominate a team. In fact, it was his first victory since Aug. 10 and only his fourth in his last 20 starts.
Vazquez lasted for 62/3 innings and allowed only one hit, which went for naught when the Twins made an uncharacteristic baserunning mistake.
"Those guys never beat themselves," said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, the one responsible for the piranha moniker.
But sure enough Saturday, Michael Cuddyer forgot the number of outs and was doubled off third base on a short popup just past the infield. The second-inning mistake with the bases loaded seemed to vault Vazquez over an imaginary hump because he retired 12 of the next 13 hitters, striking out the side in the fifth.
"We needed a game like that from him," Guillen said. "We're looking to see more of that. Javy has good enough stuff to win a lot of games for us."
That second inning nearly blew a 1-0 lead for Vazquez, who helped cause his own problems. Cuddyer's single was followed by a pair of walks, which left the bases loaded with one out. Jason Tyner hit the short fly ball and Cuddyer bolted from third as shortstop Juan Uribe caught the pop. Inning over.
When Vazquez again got in trouble with a hit batter and walk to start the seventh inning, Torii Hunter hit into a double play before the bullpen of Andrew Sisco, Mike MacDougal, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks finished up.
"You always want to start [the season] off on the right foot," Vazquez said. "It's good to go out there and throw a good game the first time out.
"The most important thing, I don't care about a 'W' for me as much as for the team. I'm here to win a world championship, so if we get the win it's important."
While the Minnesotans were playing un-piranha-like ball in their first tour outside the Metrodome, the Sox poked across two piranha-like runs.
"When we're up there fighting and no one is trying to go too deep and is trying to put the ball in play and go the other way, we'll make it interesting," Konerko said.
In the first, Darin Erstad started the mini-rally with a single, followed by a Jim Thome walk. A single by cleanup hitter Konerko scored Erstad and the Sox had a run that was reminiscent of 2005, when they didn't wait for home runs from the middle of the order.
The insurance runs came in the eighth inning on a leadoff homer by Uribe and then some more small ball. Scott Podsednik reached on an infield single, was sacrificed to second by Erstad and raced home when reliever Dennys Reyes threw into center field on a pickoff attempt.
And so the Sox were left with a warm feeling.
"You have to get a win on a day like this," Konerko said. "If you don't, you feel empty and cold all day."
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