White Sox throw out Hardy at plate to end game

Published 10:30 am Monday, April 12, 2010

A shift in strategy worked out well for the Chicago White Sox.

J.J. Hardy was nailed at the plate for the final out on an unorthodox relay, and the White Sox held off the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Sunday to end a four-game losing streak.

Hardy singled with two outs against Bobby Jenks and took off when pinch-hitter Jim Thome lined a shot into the left-center field gap. With the Chicago infield drastically overshifted to the right side for Thome, Hardy figured no one would be in good shape to make the relay home.

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“It was a different play,” Hardy said.

But third baseman Mark Teahen put himself in position to take left fielder Juan Pierre’s throw. Teahen’s strike to catcher A.J. Pierzynski arrived in plenty of time, and Hardy was beaten by so much that he didn’t slide or go barreling home.

“With Thome up you’ve got the guys playing shift, the third baseman is kind of playing shortstop,” Hardy said. “There’s a ball to the left-center gap, third baseman goes back to third base, so now there’s no one for the relay from Pierre. I’m running as fast as I can.

“It just turned out that Teahen goes back out there as the relay guy. It’s probably a play that no one’s ever practiced it and it worked out for them,” he said.

The speedy Pierre hurried to track down Thome’s drive, which went as a single.

“Right off the bat, we’re a little deeper in the outfield with no doubles in that situation, Thome is Hall of Famer for a reason,” Pierre said. “I just thought about getting the ball in as quick as possible. I knew they were probably going to be sending him, a ball in the gap, man on first, no-brainer to send him, and I just turned and threw.”