Konerko, Flowers homer as ChiSox beat Royals 5-4
Sunday, August 14, 2011
CHICAGO (AP) — Finally, for the White Sox, it was good to be home.
Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer and Tyler Flowers added his first home run in the majors to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Konerko went deep in the third and Flowers added a solo shot in the fifth to help the White Sox snap a seven-game home losing streak. Flowers also had a single and a walk.
“I think it’s just been bad luck at home, that’s just how it’s been going,” said Flowers. “It’s good to get it out of the way so you (media) quit asking us. But this was definitely a big win for us.”
Juan Pierre had three singles and scored two runs for Chicago.
Jesse Crain (7-3) got the win in relief after pitching out of starter Jake Peavy’s jam in the seventh and his own in the eighth. Chris Sale got the last three outs, earning his fourth save.
Peavy allowed four runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings.
“I thought (Peavy) was pretty good, just a couple balls squeeked through,” Flowers said. “I really thought this was one of the better times I’ve seen him throw. It was real aggressive, located really well and just a couple breaks didn’t go our way.”
Luke Hochevar (8-9) took the loss, allowing eight hits and five runs in six innings. He had won four straight decisions and hadn’t lost in eight starts dating to June 21.
“I felt like the leadoff guy every inning was on,” Hochevar said. “It was a grind tonight and sometimes you run into those. You just have to keep battling and keep executing and keep attacking the strike zone.”
Billy Butler stroked a two-run single for the Royals, and Johnny Giavotella added two hits and an RBI.
The White Sox have won seven of their last nine, but they had lost seven straight at U.S. Cellular Field by a combined score of 54-17.
“We (were) down 4-2, I think we never gave up,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “We got the best out of Peavy. For seven innings, he went out and battled and give his team a shot. I think the double, the two-out base hit was big.”
The start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 25 minutes due to thunderstorms that moved through the Chicago area late Saturday afternoon. There was another delay of 42 minutes prior to the start of the eighth.
The White Sox took the lead with a two-run seventh. Carlos Quentin drove in the tying run with an RBI double into the left-field corner. Alejandro De Aza forced in the go-ahead run with a bases loaded walk.
“With two outs, we take the walk to win the game, that’s not White Sox baseball,” Guillen said. “Taking a walk to win that’s unusual, but it’s something we needed.
“Especially in this ballpark we’re not playing well. Had we lose and had the rain delays and all this stuff, I don’t know how we would have handled it for tomorrow’s game.”
Both runs came with Royals reliever Aaron Crow on the mound but both were charged to Hochevar, who issued a single and a walk to start the inning before being pulled.
Hochevar pitched out of jams effectively for most of the game, allowing the leadoff man to reach in six of seven innings.
“I thought he threw the ball pretty good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Got a ball up to Konerko that he hit out of the park. Kind of threw a cement mixer to Flowers, tried to throw him a slider that just spun up and in, he drove it out of the park. He wasn’t as sharp as he has been the last couple times, but I thought he threw the ball quite well.”
The Royals overcame an early 2-0 deficit with a four-run rally in the fifth. Butler’s two-out, two-run single put the Royals up 4-2.
Butler got his chance when Guillen had Melky Cabrera intentionally walked in front of him to load the bases.
The White Sox cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth on Flowers’ homer. For Flowers, who was playing in his 25th game over the last three seasons, it was also his first career RBI.
“I’m glad we were able to come back and win that game and I’m glad I was able to help,” Flowers said. “Probably wouldn’t mean as much if we didn’t get a win out of it but it turned out to be great.”
With two outs and one on in the third, Konerko hit a 1-2 fastball into the left field seats, putting the White Sox up 2-0. It was Konerko’s 27th homer and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
After the Royals fell behind 5-4, they got the first two runners on in the eighth against Crain, but Salvador Perez bounced into an inning-ending double play.
“Winning in general is what we’re looking for,” outfielder Brent Lillibridge said. “Just coming back here and getting a win and playing good baseball the whole night. It’s big. Hopefully we’ll finish a winning series and hope to do that the rest of the season.”
NOTES: White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski (bruised left wrist) was out of the lineup Saturday and manager Ozzie Guillen said he doesn’t expect him to play Sunday against Royals LHP Jeff Francis. ... Konerko (left knee) said he is close to being able to return to playing defense. Guillen said Wednesday is the earliest he would consider putting Konerko back at first base. Konerko hasn’t played in the field since being hit by a pitch on July 31 against Boston. ... Adam Dunn (personal) was not with the team Saturday and Guillen said he won’t play until Tuesday since the lefty Francis takes the hill Sunday and the team is off Monday. ... The Royals and White Sox will play the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Francis will start for Kansas City against Chicago’s John Danks. Francis has allowed just four earned runs in 12 2-3 innings in two starts against Chicago this season but has ended up with no-decisions in both outings. Danks started the season 0-8 but is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in his last eight starts. The ERA is the fourth-lowest in baseball over that span. ... Kansas City’s Melky Cabrera went 2 for 3. He’s hitting .400 (60 for 150) since July 2, the best average in the major leagues. ... Mike Moustakas went 0 for 4 and fell to 0 for 31 against the White Sox in his first big-league season.
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