White Sox rally from five-run deficit to power past Reds

CINCINNATI -- Hammerin' Hank had to like this one.

Baseball's annual Civil Rights Game started by paying tribute Saturday to those who have worked for equality, including former home run king Hank Aaron. The White Sox took it from there, with Alexei Ramirez hitting the last of four Chicago homers for a 10-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

What started with history became all about homers.

"There was a lot going on," said Gordon Beckham, whose three-run homer got it started. "It was a blast."

Chicago overcame a five-run deficit by scoring its first eight runs off homers. Ramirez's three-run shot off Nick Masset broke a 5-all tie in the sixth. The shortstop had four hits and drove in four runs overall.

Danny Herrera (1-3) set up Chicago's go-ahead rally by giving up a double and a walk in the sixth. D.J. Carrasco (2-0) got the victory with two innings in relief of Clayton Richard, who failed to make it past the third inning.

Bobby Jenks gave up a solo homer by Jay Bruce in the ninth before getting his 16th save in 18 chances.

With an array of Hall of Famers watching, every White Sox starter got at least one hit.

Beckham hit his first career homer, and Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski added solo shots off Johnny Cueto, who tied his career high by giving up three homers in less than five innings.

"He's usually good with a five-run lead, but he fell into certain patterns and they figured them out pretty quickly," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They tried to help us with four errors, but we couldn't keep them in the ballpark."

For the first time, Major League Baseball held its Civil Rights Game as part of the regular season. Aaron, boxer Muhammad Ali and entertainer Bill Cosby received awards at a luncheon on Saturday, and were honored again on the field before a ceremonial first pitch -- Hall of Famer Frank Robinson tossing to Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

Players from both teams watched from the dugout, soaking it in.

"Awesome," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "One thing about players: They don't know about baseball, what those people came through and what they did for us. They have to learn. I had all my team out there watching."

Even the uniforms were reminders of the past. The teams dressed in their 1964 outfits, spotlighting the year that the Civil Rights Act was passed outlawing discrimination. The White Sox dressed in all-blue jerseys and pants. The Reds had vest-style jerseys featuring large numbers on the back with the players' names below.

In their throwback jerseys, the White Sox did their best to throw one away. They committed four errors, offset by the same number of homers.

Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer for Cincinnati, which couldn't keep up once Chicago's lineup got into the swing. The teams combined for six homers in all.

"It's one of those nights," said Masset, whose hanging slider to Ramirez turned the game. "We all have them, plain and simple. We're going to keep doing well. We're not dreading it or soaking in it."

No surprise that the homer played such a big part. The White Sox and Reds play in the two most homer-friendly ballparks in the majors last season. U.S. Cellular Field gave up 226 homers, while Great American Ball Park yielded 214.

Game notes
The Civil Rights Game was an exhibition in Memphis, Tenn., for its first two years. The White Sox also played it last year, losing to the Mets 3-2. ... OF Jermaine Dye was out of the lineup with a sore left calf that has bothered him recently. He pinch hit and flied out. ... The game drew the Reds' fourth capacity crowd of the season. ... Ramirez's four hits matched his career high. ... Reds SS Alex Gonzalez went on the DL with four bone chips in his right elbow. He'll have surgery and be sidelined for at least three weeks. ... 2B Brandon Phillips aggravated his right thumb -- the one that suffered a hairline fracture last month -- on his final swing in the eighth. He left the game. Baker said it wasn't serious.