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Saturday, July 9, 2011
Ramirez moves up in order, delivers

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- It was only a few days ago that Alexei Ramirez returned to the No. 2 spot in the White Sox batting order, and on Saturday it was a case of the right guy at the right time.

Ramirez's home run in the first inning was topped by his game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth as the White Sox ended their nine-game losing streak against the Minnesota Twins with a 4-3 victory.

Manager Ozzie Guillen had been experimenting with Ramirez in the fifth spot in the order in hopes he could drive in runs, but that wasn't where the RBI chances were located.

"That's why we move him back to the second spot, because I think we left a lot of men on base in the top of the lineup," Guillen said. "Alexei, a lot of times, comes up with the big hit for us and I'm very happy for him."

It's a rare thing indeed to get moved to the No. 2 spot in the order earlier in the season, get switched to the No. 5 spot and then get moved back to No. 2 and have each change be considered a promotion.

"Ozzie has confidence in me, and I appreciate where I'm hitting and try to take advantage of it," Ramirez said through bullpen coach Juan Nieves, who was serving as interpreter. "I do concentrate more with men in scoring position. Every pitch that's a strike you try to make good contact."

The White Sox have three walk-off hits this season and Ramirez has two of them. His other came on a home run.

It hasn't been the type of dynamic season expected out of Ramirez. He is now batting .277 with nine home runs and 40 RBI, but he only needs to be slightly better in the second half to wind up with an extremely impressive season. Shaky on defense when the season began, Ramirez has been much improved there.

"This kid takes baseball very personally, he's very proud about what he's doing and when he fails I know he feels it a lot," Guillen said. "I'm very happy for him."