The White Sox played their first home game of the 2011 season today, welcoming the winless Tampa Bay Rays to the South Side. The Sox sent Edwin Jackson to the mound, whose impressive performance helped the Sox to a 5-1 victory.
Jackson dominated the Rays for eight innings. On a cold April day, Jackson allowed only four hits and one earned run. He also struck out a career-high 13 batters. That total also set a franchise record for a home opener.
The Rays never really threatened until the eighth inning, as Jackson pitched a two-hitter through seven with the only hits coming from Sam Fuld’s leadoff single in the first and BJ Upton’s two-out single in the seventh.
Jackson allowed one earned run which came in the eighth before Sergio Santos finished the game in the ninth.
The Sox scored early with two runs off Rays’ starter David Price in the first. Juan Pierre singled to left to lead off the inning before Price hit Gordon Beckham.
(Beckham is using “Your Love” as one of his at-bat songs again. This particular Sox fan is quite pleased with this development.)
With Pierre on second and Beckham on first, Price gave up a double to Alex Rios, allowing two runs to score. The Sox scored again in the third. Rios doubled to left, and Paul Konerko singled to left to drive Rios home. Konerko has an RBI in each of the first six games, which sets a new franchise record to open the season.
The last two Sox runs came in the eighth. Alexei Ramirez led off the inning with a single to left before AJ Pierzynski bunt popped out to third. Brent Morel flied out to right. During Brent Lillibridge’s at-bat, Ramirez stole second. He came around to score after Lillibridge singled to left. Lillibridge then stole second during Pierre’s at-bat and came around to score on a single to right.
The Sox hope to keep Tampa winless as left-hander John Danks faces James Shields in tomorrow’s first home night game of the season.