As usual, Konerko leading Sox's surge

June, 24, 2010
6/24/10
5:08
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Paul Konerko Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesPaul Konerko's 18th home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner on Thursday.
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko once again was the hero for the Chicago White Sox as his two-run home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner in a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

How a team like the White Sox, who swept their third straight series, went from nine games under .500 on June 8 to three games over .500 in 14 games can only really be seized up by Konerko, the veteran team captain.

"We have some good older players in here," Konerko said. "We have guys like [Mark] Kotsay, [Mark] Buehrle, Andruw Jones, [Omar] Vizquel. These are guys that have the same approach everyday. When things were going bad you ask yourself is there something you're doing that you shouldn't be doing or something else that you should be doing. The answer is no, which it really was and you're kind of at peace with your work ethic. You just keep doing it. If you keep losing, you keep losing. You know, you chalk it up to just a tough season.

"Now the wins are piling up, but I guarantee you we'll hit another rough patch. We'll just have to respond better and cut it shorter the next time we begin a tailspin."

Konerko, who is batting .302 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs, has been the one constant for the White Sox all season, staying in the top-five in home runs and RBIs throughout the season.

I asked Konerko how he keeps the same approach on a daily basis.

"You just try to go up to the plate with your mind clear," Konerko said. "You just try to envision good pitch to hit, bad pitch to hit. That's the goal. When you can get to that place as a hitter you can be competitive and hopefully things work out the right way. The majority of the year I have been able to get to that place."

That place has Konerko hitting .410 in his last 21 games with 22 RBIs. A trip to Anaheim for the All-Star Game seems inevitable.

  • The White Sox swept their third straight three-game series for the first time since at least 1952, according to the team's media relations department.

  • The Sox have won a season-high nine straight games and 13 of their past 14.

  • The Sox have also won nine straight interleague games and are 13-2 in interleague play this season.

  • Gavin Floyd, who pitched seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts but got a no-decision, is 3-1 with an 0.89 ERA in his last seven interleague starts. He has gone 0-1 with an 0.93 ERA [three earned runs in 29 innings pitched] over his last four starts.
  • Bruce Levine | email

    Chicago baseball beat reporter
    Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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    TEAM LEADERS

    BA LEADER
    Jose Abreu
    BA HR RBI R
    .317 36 107 80
    OTHER LEADERS
    HRJ. Abreu 36
    RBIJ. Abreu 107
    RA. Ramirez 82
    OPSJ. Abreu .964
    WC. Sale 12
    ERAC. Sale 2.17
    SOC. Sale 208