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Konerko homers as White Sox rally to snap three-game slump

Sep 23, 2006 - 10:36 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The defending champions aren't going down without a fight.

Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Chicago White Sox rallied from a five-run deficit for an 11-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners in a contest that included a lengthy rain delay.

Snapping a three-game losing streak, Chicago (86-69) kept alive its slim hopes of making it back to the postseason. It is seven games behind the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers and 5 1/2 games back of Minnesota in the wild card.

After Sunday's series finale, Chicago plays three games at Cleveland before ending the season with three games at Minnesota.

"We're not out of it yet, but we know it's a big uphill battle," Konerko said. "I think the goal is somehow to try to make those games in Minnesota matter.

"If we can be three back with three to go, give it your best shot and even that's an uphill battle. If we can get to that point, that's what we're playing for right now. We're going to have play well the next four games and have Minnesota hiccup a few times."

Following a rain delay that lasted nearly two hours, Chicago took advantage of some sloppy field conditions to score four runs in the sixth and cut the deficit to 7-6. It added five more in the eighth, with Konerko's 33rd homer off Joel Pineiro (8-13) being the big blow.

"I don't know anyone who would ever say home runs are a bad thing," Konerko said. "They're the best thing you can do, because you drive yourself in. The difference is that you don't want to start games relying on the home run.

"There's been some games we've been guilty of that, but I also remember last year there were some games we were guilty of it, too."

Closer Bobby Jenks struck out two in the ninth to seal the win, just the White Sox's second in their last nine games.

"We've battled but haven't done much," Chicago designated hitter Jim Thome said. "It was nice to get a win here and build from that - send it into tomorrow and go out for our last road trip."

Coming out of the rain delay, Jermaine Dye started the sixth-inning rally with two outs by advancing to second base on a throwing error by shortstop Oswaldo Navarro. He scored on Thome's double before Konerko followed with an RBI single.

Alex Cintron later plated two more runs on a bloop single that bounced out of second baseman Jose Lopez's glove.

"We got a couple breaks," Dye said. "These last couple weeks it seems like everything we hit hard is right at them. Everything they hit seems to fall. Today we got a couple breaks and got rejuvenated with the rain delay and came up and put up a lot of runs."

On the play, Cintron slipped rounding first base, causing White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to complain about the slippery field conditions. Ground crew members then spent the next several minutes trying to fix trouble spots.

"It was pretty wet at the plate," Guillen said. "It was bad because of how long we waited, but it wasn't that bad."

While numerous players were having trouble with conditions, Chicago's Charlie Haeger (1-1) flourished. The rookie knuckleballer retired all 10 batters he faced following the rain delay, striking out five in 3 1/3 innings.

"It (the knuckleball) was working," Haeger said. "The conditions were right for it. Right after it rains, it's nice and humid. The ball was moving out there."

Juan Uribe singled home a run in the eighth and rookie Ryan Sweeney added a base hit that drove in two runs.

"I think this game was good for everyone," Guillen said. "Healthy for everyone. Hopefully, we can keep doing it."

Richie Sexson hit a two-run homer and Eduardo Perez plated two runs for the Mariners, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

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