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White Sox end pinch-hit RBI drought

White Sox end pinch-hit RBI drought

CHICAGO -- At face value, the home run hit by the White Sox Dewayne Wise in the ninth inning of Thursday's 9-5 loss to the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field looked to be little more than a footnote.

But Wise was pinch-hitting with two outs for Scott Podsednik when he connected on the 1-0 pitch from Kevin Jepsen, making this at-bat, in reality, a long-delayed and now somewhat historic moment in the context of the 2009 campaign. Wise's line shot down the right-field line marked the first White Sox pinch-hit RBI of the season, at Game No. 109, the longest season-opening streak without a pinch-hit RBI by a team since the 1978 Red Sox went all 163 games missing out on this particular achievement.

The second home run for Wise raised the average for White Sox pinch-hitters to .086, or in raw numbers, 5-for-58.

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"How bad was our bench?" said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen with a slightly amused smile. "I call a lot of pinch-hits, but look at what the bench was before. Now, I think our bench is stronger with [Mark] Kotsay and Wise and [Ramon] Castro. We have a better bench."

This ninth-inning solo shot stands as the team's first pinch-hit home run and RBI since Wise's grand slam against Detroit in the eighth inning of the nightcap of a doubleheader on Sept. 14, 2008. As Guillen pointed out, though, adding a player such as Kotsay, with a .373 career average, as a pinch-hitter, should help stave off any sort of future drought.

"I don't have a key to pinch-hitting," said Kotsay during a recent interview. "Come out swinging, get your hacks in, and hopefully something works out.

"Pinch-hitting is not the easiest thing in the game. Aggressive early is better than standing and watching a couple of pitches go by."

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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