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Podsednik, White Sox take walk-off win

Podsednik, Sox take walk-off win

CHICAGO -- An exhausted and drained Ozzie Guillen sat down behind the podium for his postgame news conference on Thursday evening at U.S. Cellular Field and didn't exactly look or sound like the winning manager from the 13-inning marathon with the Dodgers.

"It feels like we lost, huh?" Guillen said to one of the reporters after his squad finished off a 6-5 victory in a tight four hours, 27 minutes, courtesy of Scott Podsednik's walk-off single to center with the bases loaded.

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"I do," a frustrated Guillen added.

There's more to come on Guillen's source of displeasure later in the story. But first, the White Sox (35-37) deserve credit for their second straight win over the best team in Major League Baseball, record-wise, and their fourth Interleague win in five games.

They fell into a 4-0 hole after four innings against Chad Billingsley, the ace of the Dodgers' staff with nine wins and a 2.83 ERA coming into Thursday. But they rallied back courtesy of Paul Konerko's solo home run (No. 12), Dewayne Wise's run-scoring triple in the fifth and A.J. Pierzynski's three-run home run with two outs and two strikes in the sixth.

After the Dodgers (47-26) knotted the score at 5 with an unearned run off of D.J. Carrasco in the seventh, White Sox relievers Scott Linebrink, Matt Thornton, Bobby Jenks, Octavio Dotel and Aaron Poreda (1-0) did not allow a hit over the final six innings. The final 23 Los Angeles batters did not get a hit, with the bullpen yielding one unearned run over 8 2/3 innings. Poreda earned his first win.

"We pitched well after we took [Clayton] Richard out," Guillen said. "The bullpen came out and did a tremendous job. And late in the game, we got big hits."

"Our bullpen did a tremendous job today holding them down and giving us a chance," Pierzynski said. "I'm happy for Pods and the great finish."

This great finish came off Jeff Weaver (4-2) in his third inning of relief. Konerko opened the 13th with a single to center that fell out of the glove of Matt Kemp's hard-charging dive, and pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham raced to third on Pierzynski's line shot to right.

Chris Getz was walked intentionally to load the bases with nobody out, setting up Josh Fields to be the hero. Fields ripped a shot to center, but Kemp was placed perfectly to make the catch.

Wise was next, but his short popup to Kemp gave pause for thought that this game would continue. Podsednik erased those thoughts, dropping a 2-2 pitch in front of Kemp to score Beckham for his second walk-off hit of 2009 and the second for the team.

Weaver hurled his glove after crossing the first-base line, while Podsednik sprinted around the field to avoid being caught in the ensuing celebratory pile. A few batters prior to his heroics, Podsednik didn't even think the White Sox would need him to win this one.

"I was kind of joking and having a good time in the dugout with some teammates, but I looked up and figured out I could possibly hit that inning," Podsednik said. "I ended up getting the at-bat.

"No, that stuff never gets old. Game-winning hits are always fun, but most importantly, to win the series against a club like the Dodgers, who came into town with the best record, maybe that will give us some momentum here. We haven't been playing that great at home, so maybe that will give us some momentum going into the Cubs series."

Thursday's victory wrapped up the first home-series win for the White Sox since May 22-24 against Pittsburgh. Judging by Guillen's initial tone in his post-victory chat, clearly it was not a completely satisfying decision for the man in charge.

His ire temporarily was focused on Alexei Ramirez, who committed two errors at shortstop that Guillen termed as "lazy." Ramirez's throwing error in the seventh led to the tying run scoring off of Carrasco, while his fielding error on Casey Blake's leadoff grounder in the 10th could have led to game-ending damage.

These miscues had Guillen bothered enough then he extended Thursday's game longer than its 13 innings during his commentary.

"We played 14 innings because we were lousy in the field," Guillen said. "Lousy and lazy in the field. I never criticize my players for making errors, I never will. But when you make a lazy error, that really [bothers] me."

When asked about the cause for Ramirez's seventh and eighth errors, Guillen said that he soon would find out.

"I made a big mistake when I said in January he's going to be a better shortstop than Ozzie Guillen," Guillen said. "I never thought I was that bad."

Guillen's displeasure quickly turned to praise for Dotel's two scoreless innings and Carrasco once again bailing out the White Sox and giving the team a chance to win. It was a great way for the South Siders to go into this week's Crosstown Showdown against a downtrodden Cubs team.

But the White Sox want sustained success.

"One series doesn't carry over to tomorrow," Pierzynski said. "The Cubs are going to come in here pretty upset and want to kick our tails. We have to come out here and play hard and try to match their intensity."

"I'm excited, but there are so many things out there I want to see that I don't see yet," Guillen said. "And I need to see it. I need to see that. If not ... well, win yes, good, congratulations, come back tomorrow. But I think we have a better ballclub than what we show."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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