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DENVER (AP) Known as a punch hitter, Juan Pierre showed he has some pop, too.
The light-hitting outfielder laced a tiebreaking, two-run single off the wall in the 10th inning, helping the Chicago White Sox rally for a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
For his power surge, Pierre credits an earlier sacrifice fly. He successfully lifted the ball to left in the eighth to bring home the tying run.
Two innings later, he took it a step further by launching the ball.
“I ended up hitting it pretty good,” Pierre said, grinning.
With the bases loaded in the 10th, Pierre, who’s regarded for his speed more than his power, turned on a pitch from Clayton Mortensen (2-4) that hit off the top of the wall in right.
The ball was hit so hard and on such a line that the runners held up on the bases, limiting Pierre to a single.
And while he didn’t think the ball was going to leave the park, Pierre figured, especially with his wheels, it was good enough for more than a single.
Not that he’s complaining.
A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham scored on the play as the White Sox took two of three from the Rockies in the series. It was the ninth straight interleague series Chicago has won on the road.
Sergio Santos pitched a perfect 10th for his 17th save in 19 chances. Jesse Crain (4-2) picked up the win by getting the last two outs in the ninth.
The three-game series was tightly contested, with the Rockies winning 3-2 in 13 innings on Tuesday, the White Sox taking the second game 3-2 with a run in the ninth Wednesday and then Pierre coming up big for the White Sox on Thursday.
“He’s one of the players we need the most,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Pierre. “He’s starting to swing the bat better.”
Trailing 4-2 heading into the eighth, the White Sox rallied for two runs off Rockies reliever Matt Lindstrom. Beckham had an RBI single and Pierre later drove in the tying run with the sacrifice fly.
Beckham finished with three hits, including a solo homer in the seventh.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a three-run homer in the first for Colorado and Todd Helton played in his 2,000th game.
But this loss dampened the milestone moment for the longtime Rockies first baseman.
“It’s one of those games we should’ve won,” Helton said. “Could’ve won a series right there – let one get away.”
Chicago’s Jake Peavy only made one major mistake all afternoon, leaving a pitch up to Tulowitzki in the opening inning after the two engaged in quite a showdown.
On the 12th pitch of the at-bat, Tulowitzki crushed an 89-mph fastball from Peavy over the fence in center for a three-run homer.
“Troy, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He fouled off some good pitches,” Peavy said. “He waited around and got a pitch he could do some damage with.”
Peavy scattered seven hits over six innings and allowed four runs in the no-decision. The righty is 13-8 with a 3.01 ERA lifetime in interleague games.
This was Peavy’s third appearance since coming off the disabled list last week with a strained groin. Peavy pitched in relief in his last outing, throwing four scoreless innings to pick up the win against Washington last Saturday. It was the first relief stint of his career.
Aaron Cook found the form that made him Colorado’s all-time winningest pitcher, giving up five hits and one run before being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. He’s still searching for his first win since last September as the bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead.
The sinkerball specialist enticed the White Sox to hit into three double plays, allowing him wiggle out of several jams.
Cook struggled with his command in the second as he walked three in the inning, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch that allowed a runner to score. But he escaped further damage by getting Pierre to ground out with the bases loaded.
“The second inning was a little rushed and I couldn’t find my release point,” Cook explained. “After that, I settled down and got back to what I do: Let them put the ball in play and let our defense work.”
Moments before the game, the Rockies acquired veteran second baseman Mark Ellis from Oakland to revamp their infield. He’s expected to be available Friday night against Kansas City.
The Rockies are hoping he can provide some consistency at second. The team has used Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, Eric Young Jr. and Jose Lopez, who’s now gone.
“I think the message with this acquisition of a veteran, proven major league player is there’s no scholarship program here,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “This is not a feel-good situation.”
NOTES: Guillen doesn’t expect any setbacks with LHP John Danks, who went on the DL Sunday with a strained oblique. “As soon as he throws, we’ll will see how we’re going to work with him,” Guillen said. … The Rockies sent minor league RHP Bruce Billings and a player to be named to Oakland for the 34-year-old Ellis and cash. … Helton tipped his cap in the sixth when the crowd gave him a standing ovation for reaching the 2,000-game plateau.
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