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Saturday, July 16, 2011
Pierre setting table for White Sox

By Doug Padilla

DETROIT -- As Juan Pierre goes, so go the White Sox.

Or at least it’s starting to look that way.

It’s pretty obvious that when your leadoff man is getting on base and wreaking havoc, things will be a lot better for an offense, but the veteran didn’t want to put that much pressure on himself. After all, he is only now starting to get in sync after a slow start.

Pierre
Juan Pierre had his first four-hit game of the season for the White Sox on Saturday.
“That remains to be seen,” Pierre said when asked if the team is better when he delivers. “I think the offense does flow a little smoother when I am on and doing stuff like that. But we can score no matter what, if I’m on or not. But definitely it helps. It takes pressure off.”

Pierre scored just once in the White Sox’s 5-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, but he had four hits, drove in a run and stole two bases while keeping the line moving.

“That’s all I try to do is to take the pressure off the big guys in the middle where they don’t always have to come up with the big two-out knock. Where they can get a ground ball or a fly ball and still drive me in,” Pierre said.

Pierre extended his hit streak to eight games with his first four-hit effort of the season and has a hit in 14 of the last 15 games he has started since a day off on June 25. Since that date, the White Sox are just 9-8 so there isn’t quite proof of Pierre’s impact just yet.

Manager Ozzie Guillen sees a difference, though.

“Juan is swinging the bat well the last 10 games for us,” Guillen said. “He’s a big part of our team. Every time Juan does something, we see more life. Every time he’s on base, we got the 2-3-4 hitters behind him and it seems like we play better when he’s playing good.”

Pierre hasn’t just been a table setter, though. He had some big late-inning RBIs toward the tail end of the interleague schedule. Overall, he prefers to see things as an improved collective effort.

“It’s definitely good,” Pierre said about the team’s 2-0 start in the second half. “Everybody had a good break and to come out and win two games against a first-place team in the division is great. Hopefully this is a good start for a good second half, but we’re just taking it game by game. When you get a pitching effort like that (from Edwin Jackson) and move the ball like we did offensively, it makes for a good game.”