CHICAGO – When runs are hard to come by, three key ones in the late innings feel like a windfall.
Struggling on offense all season, especially during a run when the White Sox lost 10 of 11 games, clutch hitting has been nonexistent. So when the White Sox put together fundamentals to go along with a little power in the eighth inning Saturday, it was as if the floodgates opened.
“Man, we know these guys are capable of putting up crooked numbers every inning,” said pitcher John Danks, who benefited from the outburst to earn his first victory since May 19 of last year. “We hear what people say about them outside the field, but when they get here as a pitching staff we have full trust in those guys. We know they're capable of busting the game wide open. We were excited to see that.”
Locked in a 1-1 game, the White Sox got their game-winning rally going on an infield single from Alejandro De Aza. That left Alexei Ramirez to do what he couldn’t accomplish less than 24 hours earlier.
Ramirez laid down a successful sacrifice bunt after failing to do the same a day earlier in the late innings. Alex Rios then followed with a go-ahead single to right field to score De Aza. Paul Konerko turned up the heat with a two-run home run, his first since May 22 and his second since April 28.
“It’s nice when you (get a bunt down) and the guy behind you comes in with a hit,” manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s something you have to do to win games and when you do it right, you get to your closer, and Konerko hits a big homer, too. But Rios is big with that base hit going the other way and then you get to Paulie and it kind of puts it away a little bit.”
Mired in last place, the White Sox still haven’t lost hope.
“We’ve dug ourselves a hole,” Konerko said. “It has been a tough go here early. There’s a lot of good teams out there. I’m not going to sit here and say we are the 27 Yankees, but we are a lot better than what we have shown.
“I think the main thing is trying to get to that level, try to sustain it for a little bit, see where we are at then and see how that unfolds with the rest of the division and all that. That’s the main thing, just look inward and try to get better here as a player and as a team and let’s do that for a month and see where we are at and see how we roll with that. We haven’t come close to that yet.”