KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Jose Contreras is glad to be with a team
that wants him.
"I'm happy everything went so well in my first game,"
Contreras said Tuesday night after he won his debut for the Chicago
White Sox, a 12-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals. "I'm happy
to be in Chicago. My teammates put up some runs for me and made it
Contreras finally has some stability in his life.
Obtained from the New York Yankees on Saturday for slumping
All-Star Esteban Loaiza, Contreras had waived his no-trade clause
with the Yankees."I accepted the trade because I knew they wanted me out of New
York," he said through a translator. "If I'm at your house and
you don't want me there, I'm going to leave. I had to leave because
they didn't want me there."Contreras (9-5) was given a 7-0 lead by the fifth inning and
left after the sixth, when Chicago extended its lead to 10-4 lead
on Aaron Rowand's three-run homer. He gave up four runs -- two
earned -- and five hits in six innings, struck out three and walked
one."Even though there was an expectation to win every time with
New York, I didn't care," Contreras said. "I was a little bit shy
when I got here, but my teammates treated me great. I was a lot
looser, and I was able to go out there and pitch."Signed by the Yankees to a $32 million, four-year contract in
December 2002, Contreras was inconsistent in New York, where he
compiled a 15-7 record in 1½ seasons. In his White Sox debut, he
threw 57 of 93 pitches for strikes."He threw the ball real well," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen
said. "He's got so many pitches. I thought he did a tremendous
job."Angel Berroa's leadoff single in the third was the only runner
Contreras allowed in the first four innings. He gave up four runs
on four hits in the fifth."All my pitches were fine from the beginning of the game," he
said. "Everything was working. I left the ball high. At this level
of baseball, when you leave the ball high, it's going to get hit."Paul Konerko hit a grand slam that tied him for the AL home run
lead."That grand slam changed the game around," Kansas City manager
Tony Pena said. "They have so much power, when you walk guys,
you're going to pay."The slam was the sixth of Konerko's career."With two outs, I'm just looking for a base hit. It's just
icing on the cake to hit it out," Konerko said. "He's a
sinkerballer. He threw me one inside that didn't really sink."Chicago scored twice in the third and added five runs in the
fifth, sparked by Konerko's 28th homer, which tied Alex Rodriguez
and Manny Ramirez. But Contreras allowed four runs in the bottom
half, when Ken Harvey led off with a home run.Kansas City first baseman Mike Sweeney left in the fifth inning
because of back spasms. Sweeney missed six games last month with
stiffness in his back. He was on the disabled list for 45 games
with back problems last year, when he played in only 108 games, the
fewest since he became a regular in 1999."The last week, it's been tight in my lower back a little bit
off and on," Sweeney said. "I was just trying to battle through
it. I came into the game tonight and I felt great. In the second or
third inning, I was getting ready for a pitch and it just locked
up. Dr. (Steve) Joyce said it's just muscle spasms. Hopefully it's
just a day-to-day thing and I'll be back real soon."Chicago reached double digits in runs for the 18th time this
season, the most in the major leagues. Kansas City has lost nine of
11 games.Mike Wood (1-4) gave up seven runs and six hits in five innings
for the Royals, who have lost five straight to the White Sox.
Chicago has won eight of its last 10 in Kansas City.Joe Crede's 14th homer and Timo Perez's RBI double put Chicago
ahead in the third -- the White Sox have homered in 34 of their last
35 games. Willie Harris' RBI triple and Konerko's slam made it 7-0
in the fifth.After Harvey's homer and a two-base error by Crede at third base
in the bottom half, Ruben Gotay hit a run-scoring single, the first
hit and RBI for the 21-year-old, who made his major league debut
Tuesday.David DeJesus' RBI single and Joe Randa's sacrifice fly pulled
the Royals to 7-4.Rowand homered off reliever Dennys Reyes, a 435-foot drive that
landed halfway up the hill beyond the center-field fence.Harris, 3-for-3 with two RBI, walked with the bases loaded in
the eighth against Ryan Bukvich.
The White Sox have 93 solo homers. ... Gotay became the
eighth Royal to make his major league debut this year. ...
Konerko's slam was Chicago's first since Jose Valentin's last Sept.
26, also at Kansas City.