Brenda Bazan photo
White Sox centerfielder Alex Rios watches Jason Varitek’s two-run home run fly into the seats. The Red Sox won the game 5-3.
By Larry Peterson
CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox won two out of three games against the Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers last week, and were looking to continue their winning ways in a three-game set against the visiting Boston Red Sox July 29-31.
The White Sox got off to a good start with a 3-1 victory in the series opener. The Red Sox demonstrated why they are leading the American League Eastern Division with a 10-2 trouncing of the hosts in game two and a 5-3 come-from-behind win in game three.
Boston drew first blood with a two-run homer in the top of the second inning off starter Mark Buehrle in the series finale. The White Sox responded with a single run in the second, third and fourth innings to take a 3-2 lead.
Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin and Brent Morel led the White Sox offense with two hits apiece. Adam Dunn contributed a single but continued to struggle at the plate with a pop up to first base and three strikeouts.
Nine of the White Sox 11 hits came in the first four innings and they were unable to dent the scoreboard in the next five innings, collecting only a two-out single by Juan Pierre in the fifth and a two-out double by Ramirez in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox manufactured two runs on three consecutive singles off reliever Chris Sale in the seventh inning to take a 4-3 lead. They added an insurance run in the ninth inning on a single, a walk and a double by Adrian Gonzalez, his second two-bagger of the game.
Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro each had two hits for the Red Sox.
Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth inning and struck out the side to preserve the victory and earn his 24th save.
Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves, 7-1, pitched 1 2/3 innings and was credited with the win. Jesse Crain, 5-3, threw 1/3 of an inning in the seventh, gave up two runs on three hits and was charged with the loss.
The White Sox not only lost the game and the series, but may have suffered a costly loss when Paul Konerko was hit on the left knee by a pitch in the fourth inning and had to leave the game in the fifth inning.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was not happy with the loss and lack of timely hitting, but expressed optimistic concern about Konerko.
“I have two lineups for tomorrow in case Paulie (Konerko) can’t go, but I expect to see him in there. He’s a tough guy.
“We had plenty opportunities today, but couldn’t get the big hit. Our offense has to pick it up from now on and make it easier for our pitching staff. We pushed all the buttons today, but nothing worked. Now we have to get ready for the Yankees,” Guillen said.
The White Sox opened a crucial four-game series against the Yankees at the Cell Monday, Aug. 1 with a 3-2 loss and will continue the Yankee series through Thursday, Aug. 4. Konerko sat out Monday’s game but said he expected to be back in the lineup in a game or two.
The highlight on Sunday came prior to the game with the unveiling of a bronze, life-size statue to honor former Sox slugger Frank Thomas.