ST. PETERSBURG — If the White Sox are to draw a line in the sand, they'll do it with the left hand.
Down 0-1 in the best-of-five AL Division Series, the White Sox will use left-handed starting pitchers in Games 2 and 3, potentially pivotal considering the Rays batted just .246 and were 25-24 against them in the regular season.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said even before the 6-4 Game 1 loss Thursday that LF Carl Crawford's return to the Rays lineup prompted him to go with John Danks in Game 3 instead of RHP Gavin Floyd because Crawford's return made the Rays' lefty-heavy lineup that much more formidable.
"I'll take my chances," Guillen said.
Sox ace Mark Buehrle (15-12, 3.79 ERA), who won four of five September decisions with a 2.29 ERA, will start today against the Rays' Scott Kazmir. Buehrle is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA against the Rays in three starts this year.
BONUS: Guillen started Dewayne Wise in leftfield for his speed and defense, but Wise provided the punch usually left for the rest of the lineup to supply with a three-run homer off James Shields in the third inning. Wise hit six homers in 57 games with Chicago this season and had not faced Shields before Thursday.
"I was (looking changeup)," he said. "My first at-bat he struck me out with the changeup, so I came up again and I had two strikes on me and I was sitting on it. It's a great pitch. If you're sitting on it you don't have a chance at all, so I got lucky."
Miscellany: Chicago had won eight straight postseason games, dating to Game 1 of the 2005 ALCS against the Angels. … It's a good thing home plate umpire Joe West counts better than Paul Konerko. The Sox first baseman removed his shin guard and began trotting to first base after ball three in the ninth, then came back to the plate and hit a solo homer off Dan Wheeler. It was his sixth in the postseason with Chicago, extending his club record. … Rays rookie Evan Longoria impressed Wise with his two home runs. "He's a great ballplayer. What he did all year is amazing," Wise said. "He's going to be, probably a Hall of Famer someday."