White Sox half-game behind Indians after sweep
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com May 27, 2012 10:22PM
Paul Konerko (right) celebrates with Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn after hitting a three-run homer in the fourth. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:47AM
Listing the positives for the White Sox is easy right now, from the team’s torrid hitting to a most valuable player in the making in Paul Konerko to a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians to move a half-game out of the American League Central lead.
But slow and steady is what will win the race, they insist.
‘‘I hate to break the news to everybody, but you just can’t keep that up over a bunch of games,’’ said Konerko, who’s batting .399 after the Sox’ 12-6 victory Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. ‘‘This is one of those streaks where you probably get a couple of them a year.
‘‘We’re just trying to run it out. We have to prepare so that we show up tomorrow, and it could be a 2-1 game, so be ready to play that kind of game.’’
The Sox haven’t had one like that since their 3-2 victory May 18 against the Cubs.
That was one of nine victories in their last 10 games, a stretch in which the Sox have outscored opponents 74-31 in the nine wins.
‘‘It’s just nice to see us get going,’’ said Gordon Beckham, who tied a career high with four hits and has hit safely in eight of the last nine games. ‘‘We have a lot of talent, and it’s nice to see it all coming together.
‘‘We’ve played some long games, and the Indians are tough. For as many as we scored, we had to grind it out because they’re a good team, too. But it’s nice to have it going right now at the end of May.’’
Hitting has been the tonic in the run that has seen the Sox win 13 of their last 18 games. They have hit 13 homers on the six-game homestand and 27 in the last 13 games.
Konerko, who has been red-hot, hit his 11th homer, a three-run drive off Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4) that was his 400th in a Sox uniform.
Only Frank Thomas (448) has hit more.
‘‘That one [matters], just from the longevity standpoint of being here,’’ Konerko said.
‘‘It’s probably the thing I’m proud of most more than any numbers.’’
‘‘It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,’’ Adam Dunn said of Konerko, who was 2-for-4 with a walk.
The rest of the Sox added 13 hits to help Gavin Floyd (4-5) on a day he wasn’t at his best (five runs in five-plus innings).
‘‘We’ve been hitting the ball real well, and it’s nice, for sure,’’ Floyd said. ‘‘Obviously you want to go out there and put zeros up. [The hitters] have kept us in it the last couple of games, and they’ve really been fighting back.’’
Keeping up the fight in the ebb and flow of a season is the larger challenge.
‘‘I think we had confidence we could do it,’’ Beckham said. ‘‘It’s not surprising. But this division is always up and down.
‘‘We’re not focusing on the standings now. It’s focusing on our work every day and hoping it’s good enough for that day and hoping it holds up.’’
That’s also what matters most to rookie manager Robin Ventura.
‘‘It’s always hard to keep up this pace, but it’s the work they do and how they go about it [that matters] for me,’’ Ventura said.
‘‘The way they’re doing it is what I’m more impressed by.’’