Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

April 2011 Archives

Konerko's thoughts on Sox

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Here's what team captain Paul Konerko had to say about the White Sox bad road trip to Tampa, Detroit and New York following the Sox' 12-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday night. The Sox were 1-3 against the Rays, 0-3 against the Tigers and 2-2 against the Yankees after winning the first two games of their series in New York.

"Overall it's a 3-8 road trip. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. We knew we were facing some tough teams, some tough pitchers. It would have been good to have a great road trip and this was probably the reverse of that. When you go on the road trip we went on, realistically if we came off it 5-6 or 6-5, that's a pretty good road trip with those teams. But it was more of a collapse.

"We salvaged a couple in New York. I guess the games in Detroit were probably the most frustrating as far as in our [AL Central] division. You always want to play well in your division. Sometimes you have a series like Tampa, that can happen. Outside of the division that stuff happens. Every team is going to have that happen, but you want to be a little more competitive in Detroit. But it is what it is.

"Before we know it we're going to be on the field [Friday]. We can sit here and talk about it all night but it doesn't mean [it has to define us]. It's been a bad couple of weeks. It's been bad up to this point as a whole for the season but that doesn't mean tomorrow has to be. It's way too early to get discouraged or to say, 'OK, this is the team that's going to be the team for the season.' We've had some good times already. Just going off last year's team we sure as hell don't want to wait two months to get going but things can turn on a dime in this game. We learned it can turn in a bad way quickly, but we have to realize it can turn the other way just as quick.''

Pena leaves with elbow discomfort; Sox shelled

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NEW YORK -- Long reliever Tony Pena left during the fifth inning of the White Sox 12-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night with discomfort in his right elbow.

Trainer Herm Schneider visited Pena on the pitcher's mound, and Pena appeared to be favoring his right arm. The Sox were losing 8-0 at the time. Pena was replaced by Will Ohman.

Pena had relieved starter Edwin Jackson during the inning after Jackson gave up a home run, double, triple and single to the first four Yankees batters. Pena faced five batters without getting an out, walking two and giving up three hits including a double to the wall by Alex Rodriguez.

Ohman retired all three batters he faced to end the inning, striking out Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson.

The Yankees built their lead to 12-3 on a two-run homer by former Sox Nick Swisher in the seventh inning.

Guillen expecting fine for tweets

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NEW YORK -- Ozzie Guillen hadn't heard from Major League Baseball about his tweet during Wednesday's game, but he expects to.

"I expect them to call me. I expect them to send me a letter. I expect them to send me the fine,'' Guillen said before the Sox closed an 11-game road trip against the New York Yankees and CC Sabathia on Thursday. "Like I said, I've been through this for eight years ... how much is the money and I will pay the money."

MLB is looking into Guillen's Twitter use that transpired during the first inning Wednesday night, moments after he was ejected by plate umpire Todd Tichenor during the first inning of the Sox' 3-1 loss.

Guillen tweeted, "This one is going to cost me a lot of money this is pathetic" and "Today a tough guy show up at yankee stadium," the latter an apparent reference to Tichenor.

According to MLB rules, all social media use by players, managers and coaches must stop 30 minutes before game time and isn't allowed until the game is over. Nobody had violated the rule before Guillen, and there is no policy on punishment. The case is being looked at by the staff of executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre. Joe Garagiola Jr., in charge of on-field discipline, will determine the punishment.

Asked if he will tweet again, Guillen said avoided the topic, saying, "I hope I stay in the game. If people don't think I want to be in the game, they're crazy. When I get kicked out of the game, I let my team down. Big time.''

Guillen has been ejected 26 times in his career, including three times at Yankee Stadium since 2007.

"I get kicked out of the game a lot here in New York. I got to check that record."

"I wonder why.''

On the plus side, Guillen joked that he has a nice office here and that the food is good.

Guillen ejected, tweets it; Sox lose 3-1

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NEW YORK -- Ozzie Guillen, never one to keep opinions to himself or emotions anywhere but on his sleeve, went straight to his Twitter account to make himself heard within minutes of getting thrown out during the Yankees 3-1 victory against the White Sox on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Unhappy about umpire Todd Tichenor's third-strike call against Paul Konerko to end the first inning, Guillen said something that got him ejected. The pitch by Bartolo Colon appeared to be low, or borderline at least.

Walking back to the dugout, Konerko motioned with his bat toward Tichenor. Guillen was livid. It appeared as though he had been thrown out before he went directly to a face-to-face encounter with the umpire, who played it cool. Tichenor walked away from Guillen and got in position behind Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Guillen stayed in the ear of Tichenor, who ignored him.

"This one is going to cost me a lot of money this is pathetic," Guillen tweeted before the inning had finished.

Later, Guillen took another shot at Tichenor when he tweeted, "Today a tough guy show up at yankee stadium."

Tichenor's strike-three call on called strikes is somewhat animated. That may have rubbed Guillen the wrong way as well.

It was Guillen's first ejection of the season and the 26th of his career.

Robinson Cano's three-run homer in the first inning accounted for the Yankees runs. Adam Dunn's single in the sixth scored Carlos Quentin (3-for-3, double) for the Sox run.

Bench coach Joey Cora took over the team in Guillen's absence.

The Sox won the first two games of the series, which concludes tonight.

Sox, Humber stifle Yankees

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NEW YORK -- As bad luck would have it, White Sox general manager Ken Williams' flight to New York was delayed 2 1/2 hours on Monday.

That gave him 2 1/2 hours at O'Hare Airport to hear it from Sox fans, who offered all sorts of suggestions on how to turn his under-achieving team around.

If any of them suggested manager Ozzie Guillen and the coaching staff should be replaced, the tip fell on deaf ears.

"The coaching staff is not throwing the baseball and not hitting the baseball,'' Williams said when he arrived in New York to "give some hugs" to his 8-14 team that opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. "They're doing what they've always done.''

The Sox beat the Yankees 2-0 to win for only the second time time in their last 12 games. Phil Humber (2-2) took a no-hitter into the seventh, and Sergio Santos pitched 1 1/3 innings for his first save and the Sox' second of the season. It was the Sox' first save opportunity since April 13.

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko had the Sox' RBI.

"The first 10 games of the season people talked about how well our offense was performing. We were hitting off the charts. When it turned around, we have to stand up and take the heat.''

Hitting coach Greg Walker "is used to taking the heat and he's been consistent over the years the way teams have rebounded offensively,'' Williams said.

"In professional sports, fingers will be pointed your way. None of them have gotten any dumber the last couple weeks. They're same guys and I have a lot of confidence all of them.''

The Sox invested $125 million in payroll in this team, which has until now only infuriated and frustrated its fan base.

"Chicago White Sox fans, you have to earn their patronage,'' Williams said. "And we haven't earned it, so I don't expect people to show up in droves until we earn it. This is the third week in April, there are a lot of games left and we will earn their respect and their patronage. Until then I wouldn't expect it.''

"Call me crazy but I happen to think we have a pretty good team out there. You just wait for it to all click. The good thing about baseball is we play 162 games. I'm not going to draw conclusions about this start and say we're not what we think we are.''

Sox lose for 10th time in 11 games

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DETROIT -- The White Sox offense remained punchless against Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer, and the Tigers complete a three-game series sweep with a 3-0 victory at Comerica Park.

The Sox' 8-14 record marks their worst start since 2001, when they were 7-15.

Brandon Inge and Austin Jackson's back-to-back RBI doubles in the sixth against John Danks gave a three-run lead to Tigers starter Max Scherzer (4-0), who allowed two hits through six. One was a bunt single by Juan Pierre.

The Sox, trying to avoid their 10th loss in their last 11 games, were held hitless through the first three innings for the third time in the series. They finished with five hits, all singles.

John Danks took the loss.

"You just have to move on,'' Danks said. "We aren't going to dwell on it. We know it's early. We aren't helping ourselves digging ourselves a hole. At the same time, there's plenty of time and plenty of talent on this team to think we are out of it just yet. We are going to battle and try to win every game we can and go from there.''

Walker defends Sox hitters; Tigers win 9-0

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DETROIT -- In a passionate defense of his boys, hitting coach Greg Walker defended the White Sox hitters before their game Saturday afternoon against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

"Actually, I think our scuffles are way overblown,'' Walker said. "We're averaging five runs a game. We're fourth in the league in runs scored. We got a couple high-profile guys who haven't got going yet. One of them [Adam Dunn] got operated on [April 6]. I'm not worried. We're good. We're averaging five runs a game and we got two of our big boys not even started. I'm just sort of sick of the negative [stuff], I really am. We're not that bad.''

A couple of hours later, the Sox managed to scrounge up one hit in six innings against Tigers right-hander Brad Penny, and they lost 9-0 as Detroit pounded out eight hits against Sox starter Edwin Jackson. It was the Sox' ninth loss in their last 10 games.

Walker pointed to the list of starting pitchers the Sox have faced in their streak of eight losses in nine games, a list that includes Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, David Price, James Shields and Justin Verlander.

"We faced the toughest pitching. You said that, and you guys are smart,'' Walker told reporters. "Sit down and figure out who is going to be in the All-Star game this year's pitching staff. Sit down and write down who you think is going to pitch in the All-Star game.

"Yeah, have we faced any of them? Or all of them? We're good. We're doing good. We've scored more runs off these tough guys than anyone else is doing off any of them. We have a tough stretch against tough pitching. We scored some runs off them. We're battling. We're not giving them away. There's been one game where I was disappointed in our focus and effort. That was the second game against Anaheim [on April 16]. Other than that, our guys have been there battling. We've got a couple high profile guys [Dunn and Alex Rios] scuffling a bit. But overall, we're scoring runs. We're doing fine.''

Penny pitched like an All-Star against the Sox, but he hadn't in his previous starts. He came in with an 0-2 record and 8.44 ERA. The hit he allowed in the sixth to break up his no-hitter could have been ruled an error on third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge backhanded a ground ball by Brent Morel behind the bag, straightened up and pulled first baseman Miguel Cabrera off the bag. The official scorer's ruling was booed by the crowd of 35,227.

The Sox are were batting .192 with 32 runs in their last 11 games. Among the slumping: Gordon Beckham is in a 2-for-28 slump, Dunn 4-for-39, Morel 1-for-19, Rios 0-for-17, and Alexei Ramirez 1-for-14.

"I still believe in those guys,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said after the loss. "We got great talent, but it's time right now to get mean. It's time to show people how good we are."

"The thing you have to remember is someone is going to pay,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "And hopefully it comes sooner than later. Someone eventually will pay. Carlos [Quentin] and Paul [Konerko] are swinging the bat really well right now, and the rest of us need to catch up and do what they are doing. It's a battle. It's a long way to go. We are 21 games in and we have 141 to go. There's still a long ways to go, hopefully tomorrow we can turn it around and go.''

Walker said Dunn will be fine when he gets his timing back. Direction is another issue.

"Hey, the guy was a dominant force until he had an appendectomy,'' Walker said. "He's had, what, six, seven, eight days back? Sit around and watch. He'll be fine. "

"His timing is off. He's a big man. He's got a lot of moving parts. He's got to get his timing back. Because his timing is off, he's been getting beat and cheating, trying to get the fastball. When he starts hitting fastballs, watch out. Because a lot of people are going to pay."

Guillen not worried about job; Sox end skid

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ozzie Guillen said Thursday he's not worried about getting fired, and if he does, "I can at least enjoy my 2-point something million I'm going to get next year.''

The White Sox manager received an extension through 2012 at Sox Fest, and there's little reason to think his job is on the line despite the seven-game losing streak the Sox took into their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

The Sox ended the skid with a 9-2 victory, but the unsettling slide raised the subject of the hot seat, and Guillen -- as usual -- spoke freely about the subject of job security. Or lack of it.

"I'll do like Manny Ramirez. I'll go to Spain for the bullfight and come back for the World Series. I don't worry about it,' ' he said.

The Sox, who hadn't led in their previous 51 innings, jumped to a 5-0 lead against the Rays Jeff Niemann, scoring one in the first on Omar Vizquel's RBI groundout and four in the third on an RBI double by Vizquel, RBI singles by Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn and a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski.

Sam Fuld's two-run single against Sox starter Gavin Floyd (2-1) made it 5-2. Pierzynski singled in Konerko (double) to give the Sox a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Quentin added a two-run double in the sixth and Konerko singled in another run in the seventh.

Vizquel, Konerko, Quentin and Pierzynski each drove in two runs. Adam Dunn also had an RBI.

"Hallelujah,'' Floyd said when asked if the Sox remembered how to shake hands after a win.

"That's the way we expect the way to play every day, to be honest with you,'' Guillen said. "I don't want to be cocky or arrogant, but this team is allowed to play this way because of the way we built this club and the talent we have. Every time we take the field we expect to play that way.''

"When we play good, Ozzie is the best. When we play bad, it's when are you going to get fired. Every year, I leave for two or three months and Ozzie is going to get fired. Oh, wow. Look at the turn around the White Sox did, Ozzie is a genius and they play Ozzie Ball. That's the fun thing about it. I don't worry about it.''

"Last year when we had the problems, I didn't worry about it last year. And we had a lot of problems last year, a lot, more than people thought. I come to work, put a smile on my face, talk to you guys and do my manager's job and go home and cry.

"I have three kids who are healthy. My family is well,'' Guillen said. "This is a good job, but ... everyone who wants to be manager, be careful what they think.''

Sox skid reaches seven; Ozzie remains calm

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen watched his team lose again but kept his cool.

"I'm not angry,'' Guillen said after the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Sox 4-1 at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night. "If I think we are not fighting, then everyone know me. Then I will say something. But right now, that ball is not bouncing our way. A few inches away to score a couple of runs and they catch the ball. I'm not going to take any credit away from those guys. They are playing well, great defense.''

Guillen shook up his batting order, dropping struggling slugger Adam Dunn from third to fifth. It helped Dunn a little, as the left-handed hitting designated hitter lined out hard and doubled.

Dunn showed signs of getting his swing back. He walked his first time up, lined out to right field and doubled to left center against Rays starter Wade Davis.

"We've gotten frustrated and we're not very good right now,'' hitting coach Greg Walker said. "We're making terrible decisions, swinging at everything they throw, swinging at pitchers' pitches. If you don't swing at strikes you're not going to hit.''

The Sox trailed 4-1 through six innings. John Jaso hit a two-run homer in the second against starter Phil Humber.

"I felt like I had good stuff tonight but didn't make good pitches at the right time,'' said Humber, whose value as a fifth starter increases with each Jake Peavy setback. "That was definitely the difference in the ballgame. Tip your cap to him. A good at-bat.''

Carlos Quentin moved up to third in Guillen's lineup. He hit his fourth home run leading off the sixth inning.

"Obviously nobody thought we'd be in this position,'' said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was ejected by plate umpire Brian Knight for griping about ball-strike calls after he grounded out in the sixth inning. "But you got to find a way to battle through it. This team does not quit. This team is not down. We're still fighting and want to win. You look at Ozzie, and he's been positive through this whole thing. You're going to have ups and downs and just got to find a way [Thursday] to win.''

Sox losing streak reaches six

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- James Shields pitched a complete-game four-hitter, and the White Sox could muster no more than A.J. Pierzynski's RBI single for run production in their 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. The Sox have lost six straight games.

Shields struck out nine as the Rays won for the seventh time in eight games.

David Price and Joel Peralta combined on a four-hitter to shut out the Sox the previous night.

John Danks (0-2) gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Sox. He struck out five.

"You have to tip your cap to Shields,'' Danks said.

"The attention needs to be on Shields. He was as good as it gets. That's all you can say. It stinks to get out-pitched but it happens and I'll get ready to go Sunday in Detroit.''

Soreness in lat will sideline Peavy for one start

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jake Peavy's latest health issue is directly related to the latissimus dorsi muscle near his right shoulder that was surgically re-attached last July.

Peavy, who left his start for AA Birmingham on Monday night with discomfort after 15 pitches, will miss at least one start after being diagnosed with irritation and tenderness the lat area near his right shoulder.

Peavy returned to Chicago on Tuesday and underwent an MRI which revealed no other abmoralities, the Sox said said. He will take anti-inflammatory medicine for six days and if all goes well, will resume throwing Friday. His next rehab start could be next Thursday.

The Sox had hoped to have him in uniform to pitch by the end of the month, but that won't happen.

"We think he will come back but we're not sure when,'' pitching coach Don Cooper said. "But right now we're proceeding as if he is not going to be here. We have to. We need our starting pitchers to step up and we need to get more consistency from our bullpen.''

The Sox went into their game against the Tampa Bay Rays carrying a five-game losing streak. Sox lefty John Danks (0-1, 3.15) was set to face the Rays' James Shields (0-1, 3.98).

"We've lost a few games -- the best way to stop a losing streak is for somebody to step up and shut down the other team,'' Cooper said. "We're hoping for that from John tonight.''

Manager Ozzie Guillen feared worse the night before.

"What they told me was good news,'' Guillen said. "Nothing was bad.

"I was worried last night but with the word we got I feel a little bit better.''

Peavy setback "more bad news" for Sox

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy ran into another speed bump in his attempted recovery from surgery on Monday night. Pitching for AA Birmingham, Peavy left his start after 15 pitches to six Mississippi Braves batters with "discomfort," according to the Sox.

The Sox did not say where the discomfort was for the Sox' $16 million right-hander, who went on the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis before the season. But the word around the clubhouse after the game was that the discomfort was in the lat area which he had surgically repaired in July.

After giving up four hits to the six batters he faced, Peavy was unavailable to the media on Monday night. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday afternoon and will undoubtedly not return to the mound for the Sox in late April as hoped.

"Another [round of] bad news for the White Sox.,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after the Sox' 5-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. "It's something I worry about because he's my player, that's a setback for him. Hopefully [today] we have better news.

"In my mind, I know it's going to happen. If it happens in July, you say wow. Of course, we want him here but we have to wait and be patient with him.''

Opening an 11-game road trip with a flat four-hit effort against David Price (2-2), the Sox (7-9) lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Dunn on bench; Sox shut out to open long trip

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Adam Dunn, 2-for-23 in his last six games, took extra batting practice and did not play in the White Sox' 5-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Ray on Monday night.

Carlos Quentin batted third as the designated hitter and Brent Lillibridge played right field as the Sox watched their losing streak reach five as they opened an 11-game road trip.

"When he gets hot, he's going to be on fire, on and off,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Dunn. "But he's a pro. I don't worry about it. He's going to take extra hitting for a little while and try to make some adjustments.''

Dunn was loose and relaxed in the Sox clubhouse before the game, tossing a football around with Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham and Sergio Santos. Dunn was a red-shirt college quarterback at Texas for one season before giving up football to concentrate on baseball.

Dunn gave throwing pointers to Konerko, who, after throwing wobbly passes at first, came around and started throwing tight spirals under Dunn's watch.

Dunn was swinging well before he was sideline by an appendectomy. When he came back after a six-day layoff, "then he's got to face [Trevor] Cahill and [Jared] Weaver and all those guys,'' Guillen said. "It's kind of tough. It's not great for us, but little by little, the last couple days he's got couple good swings on a couple good balls, but I don't worry about him."

Dunn was 2-for-19 since with 11 strikeouts since the appendectomy. He fanned three times in the Sox' loss to the Angels on Sunday.

Dunn isn't the only Sox in a slump. Gordon Beckham went 0-for-4 Monday, his average slipping to .231. Beckham has one hit in his last 18 at-bats.

Alex Rios, who has been bothered by a sore big left toe, struck out three times.

Price was at his best.

"David had an exceptional fastball and he had some really good sliders on both sides of the plate,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Peavy's latest rehab start 'OK'

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Jake Peavy had good command in his six innings for AAA Charlotte Wednesday night. The rehabbing right-hander allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks, striking out four against the Durham Bulls. Peavy threw 72 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Peavy, who allowed a tape-measure home run to Russ Canzler, said he felt slightly more fatigued toward the end of this outing than his last.

"I felt OK. No pain. My arm was a little rusty. I didn't get to throw yesterday, travel day. Sometimes that leads to a little rust," Peavy told reporters after the game. "Other than that, I threw the ball OK.

"Obviously, a lot of hits, but just pitched. Took some off, put some on when we needed to. Got some good work in."

Peavy went to the bullpen after he pitched to throw about a dozen more pitches to get his count up to 85. His next minor-league start is scheduled for April 18, on regular four days rest.

Peavy will return to Chicago and be with the team on Friday.

"I feel like I'm a musician on tour," he said.

Ozzie's take on scuffling pen

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Ozzie Guillen's one-and-half-minute postgame session with the media on Wednesday is getting plenty of radio play today.

Guillen was at a loss after the Sox bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning to the Oakland Athletics, wasting an outstanding effort by his starter for the second time in the three-game series. Mark Buehrle had turned over a 1-0 lead to the pen on Monday night only to see it go up in flames. John Danks left with a three-run lead and poof, there it went.

Guillen said he didn't know who to turn to next. Inside the Sox clubhouse, worked-over relief pitchers Matt Thornton and Chris Sale, to their credit, answered questions under difficult circumstances. The players know it's too early to panic because they trust the relievers' talent. But these are the kinds of losses that take something out of a team's hide, even in April.

"You need to have the bullpen,'' captain Paul Konerko said. "Obviously, winning teams that get to the playoffs have that and I believe we will.''

Here is the Guillen post-game.

"When you have a bad bullpen, that's what happens. That's what happens. That's the third time it happened. I wish I know who I can bring in the ninth. I mean now we try everyone in one inning. No more excuse.

"Three-run lead and [Sale] said he can go. That's the reason we put him there.

"I go to Miami right now, the closer situation, I don't have any closer. I don't. Then we will see. This point on, it's just, you are just scratching your head and second-guess yourself what you are doing wrong, bringing people to the mound with three-run lead for a third time and we can't hold the lead. That's not a good sign. Have we got the people out there with the arms? Yes.

"Have we got the people that can do that? Yes, there's no doubt in my mind. We have some people out there who can do the job. They can't get it done, I doubt myself right now.

"I see what you guys see. Next. What the hell am I going to see? I see the same [expletive] you guys see.

"It's not about Thornton. It's about all of those guys out there. I put three different guys out there and nobody do their job.

"[Sergio] Santos throw two innings [the previous night] and I might call [former Sox] Bobby Thigpen to help us. You know why? When we play good, they send those guys to this [expletive] table and talk to them like heroes. When we [expletive] it up, I'm the one who has to [expletive] sit here and talk to you guys.''

And with that, Guillen stood up, his chair tipping over behind him, and stormed out toward the first flight he could find for Miami.

While Guillen sorts things out in the Florida sun today, he knows the storm clouds could be even darker if not for his starting rotaton and lineup. Sox starters are 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in the first seven games of the current homestand and his batters are hitting .284 and averaging six runs a game this season.

Sox blow 3-run lead in ninth, lose in 10th

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White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen can understand the booing. In fact, he'd be all in himself were he a paying customer watching highly-paid players make errors.

The Bronx cheers, now that's something that rankles Guillen. Sox fans got their money's worth with sarcastic cheering Tuesday night every time the Sox caught an Oakland Athletics fly ball, a night after Juan Pierre dropped his second fly ball of the season.

There were more boos in the ninth inning Wednesday when the Sox bullpen failed to protect a 4-1 lead. The A's sent the game into extra innings and scored three in the 10th against Matt Thornton for a 7-4 victory that dropped the Sox to 7-5.

Chris Sale gave up three hits to start the the ninth inning, Jesse Crain issued a walk and struck out Kurt Suzuki, and Thornton gave up a tying two-run single to A's ninth-place hitter Cliff Pennington.

After getting Mark Ellis on a groundout to start the 10th, Thornton issued two walks before Coco Crisp lined an RBI single to center and Daric Barton scored two more runs with a single that ended Thornton's horrid afternoon and sent many fans to the exits.

Sox fans have seen the Sox allow a major league high 12 runs in the ninth inning this season, and a season's worth of dropped fly balls in 12 games. Pierre has dropped two in left field, Mark Teahan one in left and Alex Rios had one pop out of his glove in center Tuesday night. Three of those four were routine. Lastings Milledge had a tougher one bounce out of the pocket of his glove for a double in Cleveland and misjudged another in Kansas City.

"Hopefully we get better about it,'' Guillen said. "I know we will.''

As for booing, Guillen said "I would do the same thing.'' It's the sarcastic cheering that got Guillen's goat.

"The thing is that bugs me a little bit, you're booing because we drop the ball, yes, please do. You boo because you make a bad pitch that's a double, yes. But don't think this is a little game every time we take fly balls like making fun of the team or embarrassing. Juan Pierre, everyone should be proud if you're a White Sox fan and you see Juan Pierre play every day. He gives you your money's worth. This kid plays very, very hard for us. He don't deserve that. He don't deserve that.''

Pierre made his third error of the season Wednesday, this one on Cliff Pennington's single to left leading off the third inning. Pierre moved to his right to field it on the fifth hop and the ball glanced off his glove, allowing Pennington to take second. Pierre made one error all last season.

The Wednesday matinee crowd was easier on Pierre than the previous two nights' gatherings, but that was before the 2010 MLB base-stealing leader guessed wrong on left-hander Brett Anderson's move to the first for the second time and was thrown out at second a second time. Pierre was booed coming off the field.

Pierre's error did not cost the Sox a run. After David DeJesus bunted Pennington to third, Sox pitcher John Danks struck out Mark Ellis. Third baseman Brent Morel then made his third sparkling play of the game, backhanding Conor Jackson's grounder down the line and throwing him out at first for the third out.

Danks allowed one run in his eight innings of work.

Pierre reached on an error and scored on Gordon Beckham's double to knot the score at 1 in the fifth. In the sixth, the Sox took a 3-1 lead, scoring the third run on Brent Morel's squeeze bunt that brought Alex Rios (double) home.

Ramirez homer in 10th lifts Sox past A's

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Alexei Ramirez hit a home run in the 10th inning to give the White Sox a 6-5 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Ramirez hit a 3-1 pitch from left-hander Bobby Cramer with two outs, his second homer of the game. Ramirez also hit a three-run shot in second inning against A's starter Trevor Cahill, pitching for the first time since agreeing to a $30.5 million, five-year contract the day before.

Left-hander Chris Sale (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings after right-hander Sergio Santos pitched two perfect innings of relief. Santos has not allowed a run after not allowing a run in spring training.

"Any time you can give them a little bit of left and right, it always works out ... I like our matchups,'' Santos said. "I feel we have guys who can go multiple innings now, we're not just all one-inning guys.

"So we're all feeling good, we'll all feeding off each other and hopefully this gets us going.''

Designated hitter Adam Dunn returned to the Sox lineup, batting third in his customary spot. Dunn had an appendectomy last Wednesday and has missed six games.

The appearance was the $56 million free agent's first at U.S. Cellular Field, and he said he felt 100 percent.

"If I couldn't go full force, they wouldn't want me out there,'' Dunn said before the game. "It's ready to rock, ready to go.

A night after making a costly error in left field, Juan Pierre scored a run and singled in Ramirez in the sixth inning to forge a 5-5 tie. After that, Santos and Sale each pitched two scoreless innings as the game turned into a pitchers' duel.

Sox starter Edwin Jackson, coming off a masterful 13-strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, had major problems with his location in first two innings. Jackson threw 36 pitches to the first six A's batters and had no command of his slider, which was a devastating pitch against the Rays. Mark Ellis' RBI double accounted for the Rays' early run.

Jackson was lifted after 4 2/3 innings and 100 pitches, one out shy of qualifying for a win. Ramirez booted a grounder that would have been the third out, and Jackson appeared visibly annoyed, walking off the field with his hands on his hips.

"I don't know any starter that is going to be pretty happy going 4 2/3 innings,'' Jackson said. "It's definitely not helping the pen out and you want to be in there as long as possible. But it's part of the game and one of those things.''

Will Ohman got the third out of the inning, but the A's took the lead in the sixth on a two-run homer by Kevin Kouzmanoff against Tony Pena.

Ramirez, a notoriously slow starter in April, has eight hits in his last 23 at-bats. It was the first game-ending home run and multihomer game of his career.

"I'm really happy I put in the hard [off-season] work in Miami,'' Ramirez said. "As of right now I'm not happy with the defensive side of it but I compensate with the offense and hopefully everything will come together soon.''

In other news, the Sox announced before the game that outfielder Lastings Milledge cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to AAA Charlotte. General manager Ken Williams said he was glad to have Milledge in the organization and talked to the former first-round pick about working on his defense in the minors.

Konerko is co-player of week in American League

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White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who batted .417 with three homers and eight RBI in his last eight games, has been named co-American League Player of the Week with Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera.

Konerko, was 10-for-24 with a double and three home runs in the period ending April 10. He tied for the AL lead in home runs and RBI, ranked second in slugging percentage (.833) and ranked third in average.

Konerko had an RBI in each of the Sox first seven games of the season, establishing a club record. He is a four-time winner of the award.

Carlos Quentin was named AL Player of the Week last week, the first time Sox players won consecutive weekly awards since Jim Thome and Mark Buehrle in 2009.

Buehrle's 8scoreless innings wasted in loss to A's

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Mark Buehrle threw eight scoreless innings on Monday night, but the Oakland Athletics rallied against Matt Thornton in the ninth inning to tie and went ahead on Kurt Suzuki's home run in the 10th inning to defeat the White Sox 2-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Left fielder Juan Pierre dropped a fly ball in left field for the second time in four games with Thornton (three blown saves) trying for a save. Pierre drifted into the corner but couldn't catch Daric Barton's fly that fell for a two-base error that scored pinch runner Cliff Pennington. Andy LaRoche had led off the inning with a double on an 0-2 hanging slider from Thornton.

In the 10th, Suzuki hit a 1-2 pitch with two out and nobody on against Jesse Crain (0-1). The line shot barely cleared the wall in left field.

"I'm not going to lose confidence in myself,'' Thornton said. "I'm a grown man. I'm mature enough to handle it, you know. I'm going to bounce right back and be ready to go tomorrow. I'm going to come in here with a smile on my face and keep on working hard, and commit myself to what I'm trying to do, commit myself to each pitch, and throw each pitch with conviction, and put everything I have behind it.''

Thornton has a 2.45 ERA. He was hurt by errors by Pierre and Alexei Ramirez in the Rays' win on Friday but also served up a home run pitch. Pierre didn't help him on Monday night, but Thornton threw a bad pitch to LaRoche.

"He has to get going,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now, the balls don't bounce his way. Today, the two swings they put up were pretty good swings, the double and the line drive to first base and then the fly ball, they hit them pretty good.

"Keep your head up, we are here for him. He's going to be back out there. Like I say, it look like a rewind of the game a copule of days ago. We make a couple of mistakes and today again, we don't help him.''

Buehrle said he didn't object to coming out despite his performance. His pitch count was 99, 14 more than his previous high. Guillen said he has to "take care of Buehrle" and not over-use the veteran, especially early in the season.

"Our bullpen, they are getting paid pretty good. I have confidence in the bullpen,'' Guillen said. "I'm going to use those guys the best way I can and the most I can. I think our bullpen, we have guys with good arms and they can pitch.''

There's no doubt some help from the defense would help, especially in left field. Already this season, Pierre has dropped two fly balls in left, Mark Teahen dropped one for an error and Lastings Milledge misplayed two into doubles.

Brent Lillibridge, who hit the 10,000th home run in Sox history for the only Sox run against starter Dallas Braden, came to Pierre's side after the game.

"Juan works his tail off and has all the respect in the world in this clubhouse,'' Lillibridge said. "He's had a couple of tough plays but it's not a lack of effort and it's not a lack of drive. He's going to be the hardest guy on himself and we want him to know it's not a big deal. We're going to win a bunch of games because of him.''

Sox remain cautious with Dunn

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The caution flag is out on Adam Dunn's return to game action. The White Sox designated hitter talked about a fast-track return the day after his appendectomy in Kansas City last week, but he still feels sore when he runs.

The best bet for Dunn's return looks like Friday, when the Sox open a three-game home series against the Anaheim Angels after an off day.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is in no rush to get Dunn in the lineup with his team leading the American League in hitting going into Monday's game against Oakland. Dunn looked ready in batting practice, hitting multiple shots into the seats.

"Yeah, when he tells me he's ready to go I am going to give him an extra day,'' Guillen said before Monday's game. "He talked to me yesterday. Every time he's running he's uncomfortable there. And we better wait to see how he's running the bases a little bit. Very cautious for us.

"Obviously the pain is going to be there. How much he is going to tolerate that is the question. I give him another day.''

Dunn was out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game when the Sox hosted the Oakland Athletics Monday night in a matchup of starting pitchers who have pitched perfect games.

The Sox' designated hitter underwent an emergency appendectomy in the wee hours early Wednesday after the Sox' Tuesday night game in Kansas City. The Sox said then that Dunn would miss up to five games.

Carlos Quentin will be the Sox designated hitter tonight. Brent Lillibridge will play right field. Lillibridge started in right field against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday and had contributed two hits, a run scored, an RBI and two stolen bases in the Sox' home opener.

Tonight's lineup against A's Dallas Braden:

Juan Pierre - LF
Gordon Beckham - 2B
Alex Rios - CF
Paul Konerko - 1B
Carlos Quentin - DH
Alexei Ramirez - SS
Brent Morel - 3B
Ramon Castro - C
Brent Lillibridge - RF

Mark Buehrle will pitch for the Sox. It will be the 21st time in major league history that pitchers with perfect games will start against each other.

Braden said he is a fan of Buehrle's.

"He's a guy I looked to, especially early in my career, for how to get outs," Braden told the Oakland Tribune. "He's a guy who pitches to contact. That's the reason I watch him and don't watch old clips of Randy Johnson. I watch a lot of (Buehrle), Jamie Moyer "... crafty guys."

Braden got his perfecto on May 9, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Buehrle threw his on July 23, 2009, also against the Rays.

"I'm venturing to say this matchup is going to be a far cry from perfection," Braden said. "I'm not a math major, but the numbers say I got mine out of the way already."

Sox hitters stealing the show

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The White Sox have scored 52 runs on 88 hits in their first seven games. They've jumped out to big leads and rallied back from a seemingly impossible situation -- down three with two outs in the ninth and nobody on base. A Royals closer Joakim Soria, no less, in Kansas City on Wednesday.

While a shaky bullpen is the hot-button subject seven games into the season, the offense has been a force with contributions coming from up and down the batting order. Even while Edwin Jackson was stealing some of its thunder with his 13-strikeout performance in the Sox' 5-1 win against the winless Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, the lineup was thumping its chest with 12 more hits.

"It's been more about our hitters than anything,'' said relief pitcher Chris Sale, who earned the win in Wednesday's 10-7 victory in 12 innings with two scoreless innings. "Those guys have been on fire, they're stealing the show."

Going into Friday night's game against the 0-6 Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox were batting .320 with five homers and 14 doubles. They had a .374 on-base percentage and are slugging .456. They scored seven runs on 11 hits against the Rays on Friday night but errors by shortstop Alexei Ramirez and left fielder Juan Pierre contributed to a Rays rally in the ninth against closer Matt Thornton.

"The run support has been unbelievable,'' Sale said Thursday. "They can rally back from any situation. When everyone else thinks we are down and out, in the back of our minds we know they can go off.''

Adam Dunn has missed the last two games after an appendectomy and the offense hasn't missed a beat.

"Especially without Dunn in the lineup,'' Sale said. "Those guys stepping up and scoring some runs and making things happen. They are a special group of guys."

Cleanup hitter Paul Konerko has nine RBI, second only to Carlos Quentin with 10. Konerko has at least one in each game -- a Sox record streak to start a season. And he's not even on top of his game.

"I'm just grinding out there and I don't kind of have it,'' Konerko said. "I'm just trying to play to the situation, not trying to be perfect. I'm just trying to get the best pitch I can and just hit it - I found a couple of holes. I'm not dialed in by any means.''

Leadoff man Pierre was batting .357 and No. 2 hitter Gordon Beckham was at .308. Beckham hit his first home run of the season Friday night.

"We've been getting a lot of guys on base these first few games and that's a good thing,'' Konerko said. "That's huge when those guys at the top of the lineup have been doing that. That can really settle it for the middle guys. It's nice to get out of the gate. Those guys at the top of the lineup have really been setting the table.''

Said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after Thursday's win: "We have a pretty good hitting ballclub. We showed yesterday how we can hit. Yesterday we scored four with two outs.

"Today we scored late in the game, we scored twice with two outs. We steal a base and made things happen. Right now we're hitting in the clutch and that's very important. We're mixing in one run here and there. Every day it's not the same guy every time. Different guys are doing the damage.''

13 strikeouts for Sox' Jackson in 5-1 victory

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Edwin Jackson struck out 13 batters in eight innings on Thursday, the most ever by a White Sox in a home opener, in a 5-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jackson, getting almost all of his strikeouts with his slider, had at least one in each inning.

Jackson was relieved by Sergio Santos after throwing 120 pitches. Jackson (2-0) walked one and gave up four hits.

Alex Rios had a two-run double in the first inning against David Price and Paul Konerko singled in a run in the third. It gave Konerko an RBI in each of the Sox' first six games, a franchise record.

Milledge designated for assignment; RHP Gray up

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The White Sox designated outfielder Lastings Milledge for assignment on Thursday and brought up right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray from AAA Charlotte.

In need of a 12th pitcher to bolster a bullpen that has taken a few lumps in the first five games, the Sox announced the move before their home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is hoping Milledge clears waivers and accepts a minor league assignment at Charlotte.

"Personally, it was very hard for me to do it,'' Guillen said. "That's the hardest thing you can do. When you send someone down that has nothing to do with the situation, that's something.

Milledge had a good spring, batting .305 in a competition with Brent Lillibridge for the extra outfielder's job. The Sox kept them both and started with 11 pitchers instead of 12 as they had first planned. Milledge was 1-for-4 with a run scored in the Sox' first five games. He misplayed a ball in left field in Cleveland and another in Kansas City, both doubles that probably could have been caught if played right.

The Sox are placing an emphasis on defense, and that may have been a factor in Milledge getting sent down. However, Guillen spoke highly of Milledge, who came with a reputation as something of a problem child but was anything but that with the Sox. Guillen gave Milledge the bad news after the team's flight from Kansas City to Chicago.

"I was on the plane thinking all flight how I was going to handle it,'' Guillen said. "He handled it very well. I talked to Milledge about the problem we have. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. It's one of the hardest talks I had with any of the players.''

Gray, 29, was signed by the Sox as a free agent last November. The former Cub is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 36 major-league relief appearances.

"He threw the ball well and he had good stuff in spring training,'' Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "He can give us innings. He pitched well in Charlotte.''

Dunn has appendectomy in KC; out five days

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn underwent an appendectomy late Tuesday night and will miss up to five days, according to the White Sox.

Dunn, the team's $56 million designated hitter, will travel home with the team after it plays the Royals this afternoon. He is expected to be at the ballpark at some point during the game, the Sox said.

"He said he wants to be out there tomorrow but I don't want to take the risk,'' Guillen said. "He said he can pinch-hit today, but that's crazy.''

Dunn played in the Sox' 7-6 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night, and was removed in the 12th inning for pinch runner Brent Lillibridge after reaching first base on a fielder's choice. Dunn was 0-for-4 with a walk, hit-by-pitch and a run scored.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has said he will pinch run at times for Dunn and slow-footed Paul Konerko late in games at times, so there appeared to be nothing unusual about Dunn coming out of the game. Lillibridge was eventually caught between second and third on a pickoff move by Royals pitcher Jeremy Jeffress.

Dunn had a laparoscopic appendectomy, a minimally invasive surgical technique to remove the appendix. The Sox open a four-game series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

"Will you see him tomorrow? I try to stay away from him because that's the best for him and the ballclub and to me the player is more important than the club,'' Guillen said. "When we get back to Chicago the doctor will check him again and we'll make a decision if he can play this weekend or wait till the next series.''

Against left-hander Jeff Francis today, Lastings Milledge and Ramon Castro will get their first starts of the season. The Sox lineup: Juan Pierre, DH; Gordon Beckham, 2B; Alex Rios, CF; Paul Konerko, 1B; Carlos Quentin, RF; Alexei Ramirez, SS; Milledge, LF; Castro, C; Brent Morel, 3B. Mark Buehrle will pitch.

"We were going to play Milledge anyway to get him some at-bats," Guillen said.

Dunn is 4-for-14 with a home run, double, three runs scored and five RBI in the Sox' first four games. He homered in his second at-bat as a Sox on Opening Day. He was signed as a free agent to a four-year deal this past off-season.

Last week, Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday underwent an appendectomy.

Quentin has sixth sense for place in lineup

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Batting sixth is working for Carlos Quentin. And it's working for White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

"I'm comfortable right now,'' Quentin said Tuesday before the Sox lost to the Royals 7-6 in 12 innings on Tuesday night. "I've been able to get some hits and production in that spot. I've always been adamant about wherever they hit me is good. I just want at-bats. The whole staff knows where they hit me doesn't bother me. Just being in the lineup is all I want.''

Quentin, who was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday after going 6-for-11 (.545) with three doubles, one home run and seven RBI during the opening series at Cleveland over the weekend, was 1-for-5 in the sixth spot on Tuesday. He was in the on-deck circle in the 12th when Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar made a sensational play on Alex Rios' grounder in the hole to end the inning. That came right after Royals reliever Jeremey Jeffress caught pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge leaning from second with a leg-raise pickoff move.

Rios went into the game hitless but had two singles and was robbed of a third by Escobar.

"I don't see why we should change the lineup," manager Ozzie Guillen said Tuesday. "Rios has hit the ball well [in the fifth spot] without any luck. I like how the lineup is right now.

"No matter what, I think Lilly got a little too aggressive, and that's the end of the game like that.''

Quentin said he hits best when he tries to hit the ball to right-center.

"It helps me stay on pitches,'' he said.

"The one thing about Carlos right now, I don't think he always tries to pull the ball,'' Guillen said. "He tries to hit the ball to the opposite field. All his big hits were to right center. That's when you see the ball the best. He's got the potential to pull a lot that way and help us to win two games. Hopefully he continues to do that."

Quentin said he has tried to stay on an even keel since spring training.

"When you guys asked me what I was looking for, it was a chance to build on things and develop good habits on and off the field and set a routine I feel comfortable with day in and day out. That's what I'm going to do: Come in here, do my work, play the game, and either way it turns out hope for the victory. Go home at night and know everything I did was set and done. Turn in my card, punch it, come back the next day. I look at it like that.''

The Sox (2-2) come back for work today as they finish their two-game set in Kansas City Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. The Sox' home opener is Thursday afternoon against Tampa Bay.

The Royals (4-1) are off to a hot start. They took three of four from the Angels to open their season.

Sox' Ramirez bunts into triple play in Indians' 7-1 win

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians turned a triple play on the White Sox during the third inning of Cleveland's 7-1 victory at Progressive Field on Sunday.

With A.J. Pierzynski on first and Carlos Quentin on second, Alexei Ramirez popped up a bunt down the first-base line. Indians first baseman Carlos Santana came in and made a diving catch on the line.

Quentin was standing on third and Pierzynski on second. Both were easily out.

It was the Indians' first triple play since 2008.

"The game changed with the bunt," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If we put the ball down on the bunt, maybe it's a different game.''

The Sox (2-1) trailed the Indians 2-1 on Orlando Cabrera's two-run homer in the sixth against Sox starter John Danks, who struck out six and allowed one hit in the first three innings. Cabrera homered with two outs and hit the first pitch.

The Indians tacked on runs against the Sox bullpen, including Will Ohman, Phil Humber and Matt Thornton.

The last triple play the Sox hit into was on April 22, 1978 at Toronto.

Hits falling early for Beckham

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CLEVELAND - Gordon Beckham was off to a fast start with three singles and two doubles in his first eight at-bats. And the White Sox scored 23 runs in their first two games, the second-most in club history since 1915.

Chalk it up to Ozzie Guillen's decision to play everybody more in the final week of spring training, right? Beckham isn't convinced.

"I was like 0-for-20 to finish the spring," Beckham said. "So I think that was just for a change of scenery.

"I like led the Cactus League in at-bats with 75, and I felt really good at the start and middle and at the end I didn't feel good.''

The important thing is how he feels at the plate now.

"Now I feel good,'' he said.

Before heading to the cage to hit before Sunday's game against the Indians, Beckham said he was somewhat encouraged by his first two games but wasn't reading too much into them.

"Last year I played pretty well the first couple of games and then struggled really bad, so it can go both ways,'' said Beckham, who is batting .333 since July 11.

"These first two games, I don't feel like I'm hitting the ball as well as I can, and I'm getting hits so that's a positive thing.

"I thought I had better swings yesterday than I did on Day One, so I just have to continue to get my work in and then go out and play.''

The Sox were looking to start 3-0 for the first time since 1992. Their 2-0 start was their first since 2005, their World Series championship season.

Old habit hard to break for Dunn

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CLEVELAND -- Adam Dunn admits it: He likes to watch.

The White Sox slugger can't stop his penchant for shutting down when a baserunner attempts a steal.

"One hundred percent of the time I won't swing because my eyes go straight to the runner,'' Dunn said Saturday. "It's just a bad habit I got into.''

If Dunn knows the runner is going, he said he's not affected. Gordon Beckham was running when Dunn homered on a 3-2 pitch on Opening Day. Dunn knew he was going, so he wasn't distracted. Juan Pierre, who stole 68 bases last season, has a green light to go on his own.

"I've played with some pretty good base stealers and all I asked them was just don't run with two strikes - please - because I probably won't swing,'' said Dunn, who has hit 355 career home runs.

"But that's how they make their living. I want them to go, and I'd rather have them on second for sure.''

With two strikes, though, Pierre and Beckham should know that Dunn won't swing if there is no sign.

"I just don't know why my body shuts down when I see a runner going,'' Dunn said. "It's a bad habit I got into.''

Dunn singled in the first and added an RBI groundout in the the second inning of the Sox' game against the Indians, giving him five RBI in his first six at-bats as a Sox.

So far, so good as a designated hitter for the first time American Leaguer who is concerned about staying loose and sharp between at-bats.

"[Friday] was easy," Dunn said Friday. "It seemed like as soon as it was my at-bat, 15 minutes later I had another one. I was still sweating. I don't imagine it's going to be like that. I had the same routine: I went up to hit, came back and sat down, got water, put some gum in and went to hit again."

Sox defeat Indians 8-3

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CLEVELAND -- The White Sox bats picked up where they left off on Saturday, producing five runs in the first two innings, getting another big hit from Carlos Quentin in the seventh and defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-3 before 9,853 fans at Progressive Field.

A day after scoring 11 runs in the first four innings of their 15-10 win in the season opener, the Sox got two more hits and two more RBI each from Quentin and Gordon Beckham, and six solid innings from starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to improve to 2-0 for the first time since their World Series championship season of 2005.

Quentin's second double of the game drove in Paul Konerko and Alex Rios to give the Sox a five-run lead in the seventh inning.

"I think the biggest hit of the day was when Carlos hit the double late in the game,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think that made us feel a little bit more comfortable going to the last three innings with the lead, especially with the way they swung the bat last night and the way they swung the bat today.''

After Jackson allowed three runs (two earned) over his 99-pitch outing in six innings, left-hander Chris Sale and right-hander Sergio Santos combined to pitch three scoreless innnings to finish out the game.

"Everybody's swinging the bat pretty good and they feel comfortable,'' Guillen said. "The main thing about baseball is to try to keep it as long as you can when you're hitting well. Make sure you stay on the same path and make sure you don't change anything.''

Jackson improved to 8-0 in his last nine starts against the Indians. He is 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA at Cleveland. He gave up three runs, two of them earned, and struck out seven while walking four.

"It was just a matter of finding my rhythm,'' said Jackson, who settled in after giving up three runs in the second inning. "The first couple of innings, I didn't have too much rhythm. You give up an 0-2 hit and that's what you want to do, catching too much of the plate. They took advantage of it. It's a battle, not a war. Just keep fighting and keep your team in the game. That's what I tried to do.''

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco gave up seven runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings.

The Sox have won eight of their last nine games against the Indians and go for the series sweep on Sunday with lefty John Danks pitching against right-hander Justin Masterson.

Danks visited a dentist in Cleveland because of a bad toothache but said he will be ready to pitch today.

Sox erupt early, win opener 15-10

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CLEVELAND -- Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin each hit two-run homers in the third inning and two-run doubles in the fourth, and the White Sox erupted for an early 14-0 lead and held on for a 15-9 victory against the Cleveland Indians in their season opener on Friday.

The Sox had 14 runs on 15 hits through four innings. Mark Buehrle, starting his ninth opener for the Sox, allowed two hits through the first five innings, retiring the last 10 batters he faced in that stretch before giving up four runs in the sixth -- his final inning.

Buehrle gave up eight hits. Will Ohman (three runs), Tony Pena (two) and Jesse Crain each took their lumps in a lackluster day for the Sox bullpen as the Indians finished with 17 hits.

Dunn's double, a liner to the right-center field wall, was the knockout blow for Indians ace Fausto Carmona, who was off his game from the get-go.

After Juan Pierre singled and Gordon Beckham doubled to open the game, Paul Konerko poked a one-out single to right field to score Pierre, and Quentin singled to center with two out to score Beckham from third. Both RBI singles came with two strikes.

Dunn, who struck out in the first in his first at-bat as a White Sox, hit a 386-foot home run with Beckham (single) on first in the third to make it 4-0. After Konerko singled for his second hit, Rios struck out for the second time before Quentin homered to left. Umpires watched on replay to confirm that Quentin's blast cleared the yellow line on top of the high wall at Progressive Field.

Beckham had three hits in his first three at-bats. Konerko had two hits in his first two at-bats and was hit by a pitch from Justin Germano, who had just entered in relief of Carmona and may have been making a purpose pitch with first base open.
Konerko flipped the bat as he headed toward first.

Germano gave up five hits in the inning, including a two-run double to Brent Morel.

Fast start not that big a deal, Guillen says

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CLEVELAND -- Much has been made of the White Sox' 4-9 start last year and the emphasis on a better beginning in 2011.

Manager Ozzie Guillen gave his regulars more at-bats than usual late in spring training with the purpose of avoiding a slow start, but he tried to diffuse the importance of a fast getaway before the Sox took the field for their season opener against the Indians on Friday.

"That's overrated to me," Guillen said. "Last year, just because we started bad ... a lot of people forget we were in first place for almost a month [before fading late]. You can start very bad and pick it up or you can start good and finish second at end.''

The Sox wasted no time getting their season off to a fast start against the Indians, exploding for 14 runs on 15 hits in the first four innings. Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin each had a two-run homer in the third and two-run double in the fourth.

The Sox are picked to finish first in the AL Central by many in what figures to be a race with the Tigers and defending champion Twins. They comprise three of the top 10 payroll teams in baseball.

With the Sox payroll at $125 million, an all-time high, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf would possibly considering cutting chunks of it should the Sox start slowly.

"I don't care what Jerry and [general manager] Kenny [Williams] say with all due respect,'' Guillen said. "It doesn't matter. To sell tickets in Chicago, you have to win. Fans buy tickets for one reason, because we have a good team.

"We have a very good team. This is a fun team to watch, I can promise that.
If you start good you take the heat away from players and play more relaxed."

Guillen said the players expect to win and he's right there with them.

"Every manager feels he a chance to win the World Series during spring training and the first game. We'll see how it plays out. One thing about this ballclub, it doesn't complain, it plays nine innings everybody is ready.

"The body language on this ballclub is a little bit better than what I've had in past. There was always somebody bitching and moaning about something, but with this club the only thing I see is they are pretty good kids.''

How good are they?

"I don't know about talent but this is the most expensive ballclub. That's all that is different.''

Guillen, who was identified by one national columnist as one of the managers on the hot seat, was asked about pressure.

"Pressure? No. Never,'' Guillen said. "Me, I like the heat and the hot seat. If we're not playing good I should be fired and if we play good keep me.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself and my coaching staff. The reason they spend a lot of money on this team is they have confidence in me. I am very comfortable where I am right now.''

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