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The Chicago White Sox built up such a big lead that the Boston Red Sox used infielder Nick Green as a pitcher for the first time in his pro career.
He did a lot better than rookie starter Junichi Tazawa.
Jayson Nix drove in three runs and the White Sox scored four times in both the second and third innings, beating the Red Sox 9-5 on Thursday night to avoid a four-game sweep.
"That's a pretty big win," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said, "just for the momentum, to get this fire up, get this energy back, get the hope."
The Red Sox battered Tazawa for all nine runs in four innings, five days after he pitched six scoreless innings in a 14-1 win over the New York Yankees. Green finished up, pitching two hitless innings while allowing three walks.
With relievers Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner unavailable, manager Terry Francona told Green in the third that he might pitch.
"I didn't really want to do it, but because of the situation today I had to do it," Green said. "When he told me Manny (Delcarmen) was going to work two, Ramon (Ramirez) one, I said, `I'm going in in the eighth inning? Who's going to pitch the ninth?"'
That was the 30-year-old Green, who turned pro in 2004 and last pitched in junior college.
John Danks (12-8) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings to improve to 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last four starts and 5-1 in his last eight outings on the road.
"It helps us relax a little bit," Danks said. "We have plenty of time but, at the same time, we can't be digging ourselves a hole."
Chicago broke a four-game losing streak, snapped a tie for second place in the AL Central with Minnesota and moved four games behind Detroit. The Twins and Tigers were idle Thursday. The White Sox are 64-64 after dropping under .500 for the first time since June 28.
J.D. Drew hit two solo homers and Alex Gonzalez added one as the Red Sox hit more than one homer for the 11th time in 13 games and have 48 in August.
Boston remained six games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and dropped to 11/2 games ahead of Texas in the wild-card race.
Tazawa (2-3) pitched a perfect first inning before loading the bases with no outs when he allowed singles by Paul Konerko and Jim Thome and hit Carlos Quentin. Mark Kotsay hit a sacrifice fly, Nix followed with a two-run double and Scott Podsednik had an RBI single.
"Their guy was on the ropes and we were ready to attack," Nix said.
In the third, A.J. Pierzynski singled, went to third on Konerko's double and scored on Thome's sacrifice fly. Quentin then hit his 15th homer and Nix made it 8-0 with a run-scoring single.
Tazawa retired the first two batters in the fifth before Konerko walked and Thome doubled him home.
"He obviously wasn't commanding any of his secondary stuff," Francona said. "They were looking for that fastball and when you're throwing one pitch, you better be pretty fine with it."
Danks allowed just two singles in the first four innings and retired the leadoff batter in the fifth. But Drew and Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers, making it 9-2.
Green, who started 78 games at shortstop this season, threw 90 mph fastballs on his first two pitches.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I haven't thrown a strike to a batter in like 11 years."
His last pitch was an 88 mph fastball that Podsednik hit sharply to the mound. Green speared it, fired to first baseman Kevin Youkilis and walked to the dugout to the cheers of the fans.
"I think they're going to make a change," Guillen joked. "They might start him and put (Tazawa) back in the bullpen."
Boston scored twice in the eighth with two outs when Youkilis walked and David Ortiz and Jason Bay hit RBI doubles. Drew hit his 18th homer in the ninth off Bobby Jenks.
This program aired on August 28, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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