CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox haven't clinched the AL
Central yet. With the way they are playing so far in September, it
shouldn't be very long.
Paul Konerko homered for the third straight game and Juan Uribe
hit one for the second day in a row to lead the Chicago White Sox
to their sixth consecutive victory, 6-5 over the Kansas City Royals
on Tuesday night."We cannot relax," manager Ozzie Guillen said, refusing to
claim a playoff spot with a 9½-game lead over Cleveland and 25
games left. "We have to fight all the way to the end. We have
[six] games against Cleveland at the end of the season. It's not
over until it's over."The White Sox stayed a perfect 6-0 in September, moving to
86-51, the best record in the American League.Orlando Hernandez (9-7) won for the first time since July 29
after losing a career-high four straight decisions, keeping a run
of six straight wins by the starting staff alive.Uribe homered for the third time during the winning streak,
hitting a solo shot to lead off the three-run second inning.
Konerko hit his 35th homer in the seventh, a solo shot off Jeremy
Affeldt that gave the White Sox, who led 5-0 after two innings, a
6-3 lead."I feel good, I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit,"
Konerko said. "I'm just trying to focus on that, not worry about
myself."Matt Stairs singled off Damaso Marte to lead off the eighth and
Emil Brown followed with his 13th homer, and second in two games,
to get the Royals within a run. Cliff Politte relieved Marte and
got the last two outs of the inning.Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth for his 33rd save. The Royals
have lost 98 straight games when trailing after eight innings."I have to look at the one-run losses as somewhat of a
positive," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "It shows that we're a
team that has some character, we just don't have quite enough."Uribe is hitting .571 (12-for-21) in his last six games with
three doubles and eight RBI. Konerko has an 11-game hitting streak
in which he is hitting .404 (17-for-42)."I think he's swinging at better pitches," Guillen said of
Uribe. "He's not trying to pull everything. He's trying to hit the
ball into the middle of the field and right field. We wish this kid
would be more consistent with that. When this kid is on, he's on
for good and we need those hitters at the bottom of the lineup."Konerko drove in Scott Podsednik with a sacrifice fly and Aaron
Rowand hit an RBI double that scored Tadahito Iguchi in the first
inning.After Uribe's 12th homer, Pablo Ozuna tripled and scored on
Iguchi's sacrifice fly. Konerko drove in Podsednik with a single to
right.Jose Lima (5-14) lost for the sixth time in seven starts, giving
up five runs and 10 hits, six of which came in the first two
innings."You know what, this has happened all year long," Lima said.
"I gave up a couple runs in the first inning. I was trying to stay
away from the big inning. I'm trying to be, probably, too fine."The Royals broke through in the sixth when Terrence Long hit a
leadoff triple, coming home on a balk by Hernandez.Hernandez struck out six, tying a season-high, and allowed three
runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up leadoff doubles
three times, Long's triple and a leadoff single in the fourth. Mark
Teahen doubled to lead off the seventh and John Buck hit a two-run
homer to left to make it 5-3, ending Hernandez's night."When you have the leadoff guy on base 90 percent of the game,
I think we got lucky today by the score," Guillen said.Hernandez threw 101 pitches and continued to have problems after
he reaches 90."He's trying to get to 100, 110 pitches without making any
mistakes. It's just been a coincidence that after 90 pitches,
negatives have come after that," Hernandez said through a
Konerko had homered in two straight games six times this
season. He last homered in three straight games July 24-26, 2004.
... Tuesday's attendance was 14,571, the lowest home total for the
White Sox since they drew 12,712 on May 4, also against the Royals.
The total drove the team's season attendance to 2,003,048, the
sixth-best in team history and the seventh time it has drawn more
than 2 million fans. ... White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski missed his
second straight game for the birth of his daughter in Florida.