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Thursday, July 29, 2010
Putz's White Sox scoreless streak ends

ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox pitcher J.J. Putz saw his club record scoreless appearance streak come to an end on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners.

Putz entered the game in the seventh inning in relief of Freddy Garcia. After getting a groundout from Rob Johnson, he allowed a single to Jack Wilson and an RBI double to Ichiro Suzuki. Suzuki scored later that inning on Putz's wild pitch.

Putz, who set a club record Wednesday with his 27th straight scoreless appearance, has formed his definition of "The Ozzie Guillen Experience."

Putz, who played for the New York Mets last season after six years with the Seattle Mariners, has been part of a surging bullpen that has helped the Sox win 10 straight at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago took a one-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central into Thursday's home game against the Seattle Mariners.

"I think it's great to play for [Guillen]," Putz said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I'm enjoying the time here.

"I'm not sure what 'The Ozzie Experience' is. As far as I'm concerned, it's playing winning baseball. That's what 'The Ozzie Experience' has been for me. I definitely heard the stories, but I haven't seen them yet."

Putz hadn't yielded a run since May 7, when he had an 0-2 record and 4.91 ERA. He now has a 5-2 mark and a 1.42 ERA.

"The best way I could describe it is the defense has made some great plays behind me," he said. "Both of the catchers have done a great job of mixing up the pitches.

"We got ahead of hitters and finished them when we needed to."

The right-hander had surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow in June 2009, which ended his season. And Putz theorizes that his slow start this season was at least partially due to the cold weather.

"[I started pitching better] probably when the weather got above 50 degrees," Putz said. "Early in the season, it was very difficult to get loose.

"But Ozzie and [pitching coach Don Cooper] did a great job of taking care of me and not allowing me to go back-to-back days until June, when the weather was good. For that, I'm very thankful."

Putz also is thankful for the defense played behind him.

"A lot of things you don't really pay attention to when looking at bullpen numbers is how good the defense is playing behind us," Putz said. "Alexei Ramirez is playing Gold Glove shortstop, I don't care what anybody says.

"Omar Vizquel made an over-the-shoulder catch for me [Wednesday] night off a great hitter like Ichiro Suzuki. Any time that happens, it's definitely going to help out."

Putz said the MVP of the bullpen has been Tony Pena, because he's able to throw 3-4 innings of long relief. Putz also praised Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks.

"You can throw any guy out there in any situation, and they're going to get the job done," Putz said.