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No sweep dreams for White Sox
The White Sox finished their trip to Baltimore, Kansas City and Toronto with a 6-3 record. Is that good or bad?
"It was a good road trip," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "I wouldn't say it was great, but it was good."
It's not bad in the big picture, but it's not good considering they lost a half-game on the AL Central-leading Tigers in the process.
They now face their largest deficit of the season, nine games, and have only 10 games left with the Tigers.
The Sox were in position to sweep in all three cities but lost the final game each time, including Sunday's 7-3 decision to the Blue Jays.
Obviously, when you're trying to catch the Tigers, winning two of three isn't good enough because Detroit has won better than two of three all season.
"We went about it the right way," Konerko said. "It just shows how tough it is to sweep a major-league team."
But the Sox could have done it if Jose Contreras had not blown a 3-0 lead with one frightful inning against a team that had lost seven in a row. He was charged with six runs in 62/3 innings. The runs matched his season high, last done June 29.
"Jose threw the ball real good," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Good enough to win. He lost it for one inning."
Contreras becomes the latest concern in the rotation, having lost four of his last five decisions after opening the season with eight straight victories.
"I went out with the mind-set of wining the game and sweeping," Contreras said. "It didn't work out that way."
It didn't work out because he let go of a lead again provided by the middle of the lineup.
In the first, Jim Thome reached on an infield bouncer, Konerko walked and Jermaine Dye singled for an RBI.
Scott Podsednik started the third with a single, was sacrificed by Tadahito Iguchi and scored on Thome's double. Konerko's single brought home Thome.
The resurgence of Thome and Konerko was encouraging for the Sox. The two finished the series a combined 13-for-20 with eight walks. And Dye was right there with them, going 5-for-13 with four RBIs.
But the advantage disappeared quickly in the fourth inning, when the Blue Jays batted around to take a 4-3 lead. Contreras was touched for four hits and two walks before finally getting out of the mess.
"Hanging slider, hanging changeup," Contreras said of the two doubles that started the inning. "I started off the inning the wrong way."
The lead grew to 6-3 as Contreras' day ended in the seventh. Aaron Hill led off getting hit by a pitch, and he was still at first with two outs. But Frank Catalanotto doubledand Hill never quit running, easily beating the relay throw home.
The second run scored after Contreras was gone, when Vernon Wells singled off reliever Mike MacDougal. The Blue Jays added an insurance run in the eighth when Bengie Molina homered off David Riske.
Meanwhile, the Sox's offense was done after the third inning, though they picked up 10 hits against A.J. Burnett and three relievers.
"A.J. really threw the ball good after that [third inning]," Guillen said. "And their bullpen did a tremendous job."
Now the Sox return for an 11-game homestand, with the realization that winning each series is no longer good enough.