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Toronto blues end for 2 slumping Sox
Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski got their payback Friday night.
Konerko snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a soft single in the eighth inning and Pierzynski erased a 2-for-29 lifetime hex at the Rogers Centre with a two-run, tie-breaking single to lift the White Sox to a 5-3 victory over Toronto.
The latest in a string of zany victories extended the Sox's winning streak to six games while improving their major-league-best record to 22-7.
"We're playing the game that night for what it is," Konerko said. "We're not looking at tomorrow."
The crazy, eighth-inning rally made a winner out of Orlando Hernandez (4-1), who overcame the Blue Jays' three-run second to weave through seven innings.
After Carl Everett drew a one-out walk off reliever Jason Frasor in the eighth, Konerko swung with ease at an outside fastball that dropped into right-center field to advance Everett to third.
"I'm just happy I helped out when [the hit] came," Konerko said.
The Sox loaded the bases on a two-out walk to Jermaine Dye against Miguel Batista, setting the stage for Pierzynski.
Before the game, Pierzynski joked with manager Ozzie Guillen that he had a worse batting average at Toronto than Konerko, who now has a lifetime .152 mark there.
Pierzynski fouled off two pitches before placing his single into left field to score Everett and Konerko and give the Sox their first lead since the second inning.
"A.J. was 1-for-Canada in his career, and he came through at the right time," Guillen joked after the game.
The Sox now have won 14 of their last 17 and are 11-4 away from U.S. Cellular Field.
In addition to Konerko's hit, Dye continued to show signs of breaking out of his slump. His game-tying homer in the seventh was his first since April 20 at Detroit, and he now has hit safely in four of his last five games since his batting average dipped to .171 on April 27.
The game was delayed three times because of ground maintenance as the dirt around the batter's box seemed hard as rock. Pierzynski slipped and fell while trying to get out of the way of a low and inside pitch in the second.
But the hard field wasn't the Sox's biggest obstacle. Toronto second baseman Orlando Hudson lurked as their chief nemesis.
After falling down in that second-inning at-bat, Pierzynski got up and hit a soft flare to shallow right. Timo Perez broke from second and was rounding third when he saw Hudson hustle to make the catch and fire to second to complete an inning-ending double play.
In the third, Juan Uribe hit a ball up the middle that he thought was a hit as he started to curve his route toward first. Hudson, however, managed to field the ball and make an off-balance throw across his body. Uribe altered his direction and slid into first but was out.
Hernandez hurled 87 of his 116 pitches through five innings but willed his way to keep the Blue Jays scoreless in his final two frames to keep the offense within striking distance.
Guillen stayed with Hernandez after a one-out double by Frank Catalanotto in the seventh, and Hernandez retired the next two batters.
Damaso Marte worked a 1-2-3 eighth and recorded the first out of the ninth before Dustin Hermanson came on to notch his fifth save.