About 24 hours after catcher A.J. Pierzynski and hitting coach Greg Walker expressed their differences in the dugout, the White Sox showed they still have some fight.
Fueled by Pierzynski's leadoff home run, the Sox smacked four homers in Monday's seventh inning, capped by rookie Josh Fields' two-run shot, to seize a 5-4 win over the Devil Rays in a makeup game and snap a five-game losing streak.
The comeback quelled some doubts about the resolve of the Sox after American League East leader Boston embarrassed them in a four-game sweep.
"Every game is for pride from now on," Fields said. "It was more heart than anything, showing that guys were willing to turn the season around and get it to end on the right note."
The Sox have 31 games left to salvage what's left of a miserable season, starting with a nine-game, three-city trip that concludes with games against AL Central leaders Cleveland and Detroit.
"Hopefully we battle like we did," Bobby Jenks said after extending his scoreless streak to 15 innings with a perfect ninth, "whether it means coming from behind or take some games away from the division leaders."
Until the bottom of the seventh, the Pierzynski-Walker spat that occurred on Sunday seemed as if it would overshadow yet another setback. But the four-homer outburst helped Jose Contreras (7-16) end a nine-game losing streak as a starter.
Pierzynski, meanwhile, continued his penchant for being the center of attention, this time with a homer that ended Edwin Jackson's shutout bid.
"No one has quit, no one has thrown in the towel," Pierzynski said.
Before the game, Pierzynski accepted blame for his Sunday argument with Walker that occurred after he grounded out. According to manager Ozzie Guillen, Pierzynski was grumbling that he didn't know Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen threw a cut fastball.
"Like I said, we've gotten into it many times before, and it wasn't his fault, it was probably my fault," Pierzynski said. "[Walker] misunderstood what I said. We were getting one hit at the time, two hits. It's just one of those things that happen. It's a shame it got into the media."
Said Guillen: "That's the 20th time we faced Delcarmen since I've been managing. If he doesn't know what he throws, don't make an excuse. That's a bad excuse. You put the coach on the spot to listen to that.
"The way we hit, if you come up to the hitting coach and say that, you put someone's job on the edge. I listen to that and turn around and say you don't prepare for this guy? I'm not protecting Greg Walker, but I think Greg Walker was right."
Walker downplayed the incident. "It's A.J. being A.J. and Walk being Walk," he said.
Disputes among Sox personnel are nothing new, even in their more successful years.
Earlier this season, Mark Buehrle was among those who took exception to Pierzynski "disrespecting" Toby Hall by complaining about not starting the opener of the Cubs-White Sox series at Wrigley Field.
But on Monday, the Sox displayed unity over the final three innings.
Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe hit consecutive homers off Jackson, and rookie Danny Richar pulled a double into the right-field corner, prompting Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon to replace Jackson with Dan Wheeler.
With two outs, Fields launched his 17th homer, marking the first time the Sox hit four home runs in one inning since Aug. 21, 2005, against the Yankees.
"They're not going to give in," Guillen said. "They're not going to give up. That's all I hope."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun