CHICAGO Optimism soared Friday night throughout U.S. Cellular Field with each scoring update from Minnesota.
But the ineffectiveness of the White Sox's pitching staff resembled the September chill of a non-contending team.
While Minnesota was in the midst of losing to Kansas City, John Danks and the bullpen suffered one of their worst outings in an 11-8 loss to Cleveland.
The Sox wasted a chance to move back into first place in the American League Central. The Twins kept their half-game lead, though the Sox still control their own fate.
"I don't think it was a baseball game," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It was a pitching parade. Those guys should be a little embarrassed of themselves.
"It gets to the point where I start laughing. I think that's the worst four, five, six innings we've gone through in a long time. It's getting old. To win, you have to put it all together.
"I cannot even throw people under the bus anymore. It's not worth it."
For the second time in as many nights, the Sox wasted a four-run rally as nemesis Ryan Garko slugged two home runs.
Garko's grand slam off reliever D.J. Carrasco capped a six-run fifth inning rally in which the Indians erased a 4-3 deficit.
Returning home for the first time since they swept a doubleheader from Detroit on Sept. 14, the Sox experienced a power revival en route to a 12-hit attack.
Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski each hit home runs during a four-run second. Pierzynski's homer, a two-run shot, was his 13th of the season and his first since Aug. 20 against Seattle's Jake Woods.
Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer in the fifth to snap a homerless drought of 93 at-bats. Dye's homer was his first since Aug. 27 against Baltimore's Lance Cormier.
After hurling 13 consecutive scoreless innings and allowing only two runs in his last 18, Danks suffered one of his worst outings at the worst time of an otherwise breakthrough season.
Danks constantly struggled and was yanked after failing to retire any of the four batters he faced to start the fifth inning.
Danks threw only 80 pitches, so there's an outside chance he could be brought back on short rest or be available in relief if the Sox meet Minnesota in a one-game playoff Tuesday to determine the division champion.
Danks went 20 consecutive innings without allowing a homer until Ben Francisco hit a solo homer in the first inning. But even after being staked to a 4-2 lead, Danks struggled.
Garko led off the fourth with a solo shot, and Danks was knocked out after Shin-Soo Choo's two-run single in the fifth.
Before the game, Guillen expressed concern about bringing back left-hander Mark Buehrle to pitch Sunday on three days' rest because Buehrle threw 121 pitches Wednesday night at Minnesota.
But Guillen might not have any choice after Javier Vazquez pitches Saturday and the Sox remain in a must-win situation.
(c) 2008, Chicago Tribune.
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