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Ozzie's faith in Pierre pays off in victory

DENVER -- If Juan Pierre had a bull's-eye on his back all season he’d be walking around like a porcupine right now from all the arrows fired from the left-field bleachers and beyond.

His early-season struggles have led to major criticism and it hasn’t helped his cause that Dayan Viciedo is making a mockery of Triple-A pitching and could use a place to play in the major leagues.

But manager Ozzie Guillen has been unwavering in his support of his veteran Pierre, taking just as many shots, if not more, than the outfielder himself.

So when Pierre delivered an I-told-you-so afternoon against the Colorado Rockies with a pair of clutch at-bats, both him and his manager figured to be in full-blown celebration. Not so. Success, like failure, can be fleeting and a level-head is the best course of action.

“I think this guy, all the work he’s put in over the years, it’s not a fake,” Guillen said. “When you work that much and try to get better every day after he’s got 30 years in the big leagues, you deserved to be out there. You earned that spot. And he’s one of the players we need the most.

“A lot of people talk about this guy, that guy. Well, the way I like to manage, you have to have some speed at the top. He’s starting to swing the bat. Hopefully he continues to do that. It happened to him last year, and he had a pretty good season.”

Pierre not only had a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to give the White Sox he rarest of all pleasures – getting the run home from third base – he came through in the 10th inning with some power. Pierre hit a ball high off the right-field wall to score two runs, ending up only with a single in the process since the bases were clogged in front of him.

“It’s one of longest singles I’ve ever had,” he said “but I didn’t think it was out.”

Asked if he ever started to doubt himself during a season when he’s had offensive, defensive and base-stealing issues, Pierre didn’t hesitate to answer.

“I have been through it, man,” he said. “That’s the good thing about having been through stuff. I’ve been on the bench, batted ninth behind the pitcher, anything you can think of. I’ve missed fly balls. All these circumstances built the man you see today.

“It’s definitely still frustrating. I don’t enjoy screwing up. But I know if I do my work and believe in my faith things will come out in the end the way it’s supposed to be.”

Pierre went 7-fo4-14 in the series and stuck one last feather in his cap Thursday. He stole third base, his fisrt steal since June 1 at Boston. But it was the RBIs that earned him all the postgame attention.

“It’s always nice for me especially because the last couple weeks I’ve left a lot of guys on base in scoring position,” Pierre said. “It was big, big to get those runs the way we started out. … It’s definitely a big win here. We’ll have a happy flight home and hopefully continue against the Cubs tomorrow.”