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Harris hits first major league homer in rout

7/27/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- It didn't take long for Willie Harris to fill the
void that Ray Durham left.

The highly touted Harris, now getting a full-time chance in the
majors after Durham was traded, hit his first big league home run
as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 10-2
Friday night.

Jose Valentin also homered and Paul Konerko drove in three runs
for the White Sox. Kansas City has lost four in a row and five of
six since a nine-game winning streak.

Harris, who also singled and had a sacrifice fly, was called up
from Triple-A Charlotte before the game to take the roster spot of
Durham. The two-time All-Star second baseman was traded to Oakland
on Thursday for a Triple-A pitcher.

"It's not easy. Ray is a great player,'' said Harris. "I'm not
really trying to fill his shoes, I'm just going to go out there and
play to the ability that I can.''

Harris hit a solo home run in the third to give the White Sox a
3-0 lead.

"It felt pretty good,'' said Harris. "I knew I got it pretty
good and thought it might leave the park, but I didn't want to show
anyone up or anything like that.''

Dan Wright (7-8) gave up two runs, scattered eight hits and
struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 125 pitches. He retired
eight in a row in the middle innings.

"I thought my location was pretty good tonight,'' said Wright.
"I made some big pitches when I had to and we made some good
plays.''

Royals starter Shawn Sedlacek(1-1) gave up four runs and eight
hits in six innings.

Chuck Knoblauch was 4-for-5 for the Royals. He hit a two-run
single in the seventh with bases loaded off Bobby Howry to cut the
White Sox lead to 4-2.

Howry walked Carlos Beltran to load the bases, but he was able
to get Joe Randa to pop out. Damaso Marte finished up the inning by
getting Raul Ibanez to pop out.

Chicago broke open the game with six runs in the seventh against
relievers Ryan Bukvich and Jason Grimsley. Sandy Alomar Jr. had two
hits in the inning, Konerko had a two-run single and Frank Thomas
hit an RBI double.

"That was one ugly inning,'' said Royals manager Tony Pena.
"But I'm not going to second guess my boys. They gave me
everything.''

In the first, Kenny Lofton led off with a bunt single and Harris
singled. A run scored to right moving Lofton to third. Lofton
scored on a double-play grounder and Konerko hit an RBI double to
give the White Sox a 2-0 lead.

"I've been working on getting out of the first inning,'' said
Sedlacek. "I couldn't do it.''

Valentin hit his 14th home run in the fourth.

Game notes
Thomas was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts and was
booed by fans. ... This is the 17th time this year that the White
Sox have scored 10 or more runs. ... Knoblauch raised his batting
average from .176 to .194. ... Sedlacek struck out a career-high
five.