The Chicago White Sox will be without slugger and clubhouse leader Paul Konerko for the next week.
Luckily for Robin Ventura , his club has plenty of other sources of power.
The surprisingly surging A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox look to build on a dramatic victory Saturday night when they host the Oakland Athletics .
In Friday's opener, Chicago (61-50) trailed 3-0 early before solo homers by Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo tied the score. In the ninth inning, Jordan Danks hit his first major league homer to lift the White Sox to a 4-3 victory, their 11th win in 16 games.
It was an encouraging victory for Chicago, which leads the AL Central by one game over Detroit, after it placed Konerko on the seven-day concussion disabled list before the game. The first baseman, who is batting .316 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs, is eligible to return Friday."It's not going to be easy not having him in the lineup," Ventura said. "We're just going to have to find ways to have guys like Jordan Danks come through in ways like that."
Pierzynski suddenly swinging for power should help the White Sox, who are tied for third in the majors with 141 home runs.
Pierzynski's homer Friday was his career-high 22nd, and he is batting .368 with six home runs and 14 RBIs during a season-high 11-game hitting streak."It's sort of nice to look up there and see some good numbers so far," said Pierzynski, whose previous career high for homers was 18 in 2005. "But the biggest thing, we're winning and that makes up for all of it."
Pierzynski is expected to be behind the plate to catch Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.03 ERA), who allowed one run, four hits and one walk in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. Chicago rallied for a 4-2 win, and Liriano now has a 2.45 ERA in two starts for the White Sox - both victories."I'm just really happy to be able to give the team a chance to win a ball game," said the left-hander, who made two starts against the A's with Minnesota this year, going 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Oakland (60-52) remained 5 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Texas, but dropped one-half game back of Baltimore and Detroit in the wild-card race. The A's lost for the fourth time in six games as Josh Reddick was 0 for 5 with an RBI groundout to drop his average to .257 - the lowest it's been since June 20.
Reddick is hitless in seven career at-bats against Liriano, while Yoenis Cespedes , who is batting .422 with five homers and 20 RBIs during a 16-game road hitting streak, is 1 for 3 against him.
"We are very cognizant of the workload of our younger pitchers," Melvin told the Athletics' official website. "We feel like this is a good time to be able to give them a little bit of a break, refresh them going forward for the rest of the season."
Blackley, who has never faced the White Sox, has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen with 10 starts and 10 relief appearances. The lefty yielded five runs in five innings in a 6-1 loss to Baltimore in his last start July 29.
|August 07, 2012||Eric Sogard||15-Day DL||Strained back|
|August 05, 2012||A.J. Griffin||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 04, 2012||A.J. Griffin||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|August 03, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right wrist|
|July 28, 2012||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring tightness|
|Chicago White Sox|
|August 10, 2012||Paul Konerko||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
|August 08, 2012||Alex Rios||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||Day-to-Day||Mild concussion|
|August 07, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 06, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 05, 2012||Francisco Liriano||Day-to-Day||Bruised left quadriceps|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Brandon Inge knew as soon as he made a diving stop in the seventh inning what was wrong with his shoulder and what he needed to do as quickly as possible.
So, he just popped it back into place and stayed in the game Saturday night.
Two batters later, he started an inning-ending double play at third base, and then in the eighth he delivered the go-ahead single for the Oakland Athletics in a 9-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"I dislocated it. I just had to put it back in the socket," Inge said of his right shoulder that came out of place after he made a diving stop in the seventh on Alex Rios ' infield single down the third base line.
"It might get a little sore tomorrow, but I'll do my best," Inge said.
The White Sox went on to score in the seventh on A.J. Pierzynski's RBI single for a 7-6 lead. But Jonny Gomes homered off Matt Thornton (4-8) in the eighth, and after singles by Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter , Inge greeted reliever Brett Myers with a go-ahead single into the right field corner.
"I guess it just shows two teams that don't want to give up. I like that," Inge said.
Inge said he would do what was best for the A's on Sunday but hopes to be in the lineup.
"I plan on playing. If I feel like I'm going to be a detriment to the team, I won't come back in," he said. "If I feel like I have something to offer, I'll play through some pain. Just make sure I'm somewhat smart about it."
Gomes added an RBI single in the top of the ninth before Grant Balfour pitched the bottom half for his eighth save in 10 chances, his first since May 5. Balfour took the closer's role back from Ryan Cook (5-2), who gave up Pierzynski's single in the seventh but got the win.
"I was surprised he stayed in the game. He felt like the shoulder may have come out of the socket and went back in," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of the veteran Inge.
"He stayed in, made a great play on the double play and ends up getting what ends up being the biggest hit. We all know he's a very tough guy and can play through a lot of pain."
Tyler Flowers homered and had three RBIs and a career-high three hits for the White Sox. Kevin Youkilis also homered for Chicago and was hit in the left forearm by Balfour's pitch in the ninth.
Thornton took the blame for the pitch he made to Gomes.
"It's really frustrating. We've been playing well and I didn't do my job," he said. "One-run lead and I thought it was a good idea to throw him a breaking ball. He jumped all over it."
Chicago starter Francisco Liriano , who left his previous start after five innings with a bruised right quadriceps, didn't make it out of the fourth this time. He surrendered seven hits and six runs in 3 1-3 innings.
He struck out four of the first five batters Saturday before he got in trouble in the third when the A's loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit batter. Carter delivered a two-run single, Inge walked to reload the bases, and Derek Norris had a two-run, ground-rule double. Adam Rosales then drove in the fifth run of the inning with a single as Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate.
Chicago scored two in the second on an infield out by Dayan Viciedo and an RBI double by Flowers. Josh Reddick had an RBI single for Oakland in the fourth, and Flowers added a run-scoring single for the White Sox in the bottom half.
Youkilis hit his 14th homer in the fifth to make it 6-5. It was his 10th since joining the White Sox in a June 24 trade from Boston. Flowers' third homer of the season tied it at 6-6 in the sixth.
Oakland's Travis Blackley , in his first start since July 29, gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.
Notes: Cook has been removed from the closer's role, at least temporarily, by Melvin, who said he wanted to get the rookie some work in lower-pressure situations. Cook has converted just two of his last six save opportunities, and 12 of 19 for the season. ... White Sox 1B Paul Konerko will take it easy this weekend and will be re-evaluated by doctors after suffering a concussion earlier this week and being placed on the 7-day DL. Chicago manager Robin Ventura said Konerko won't be on the first part of next week's trip that starts in Toronto. OF Dewayne Wise was called up from Triple-A to take Konerko's roster spot.