TORONTO - Team captain Paul Konerko has seen it all in 12 seasons in the major leagues, so a nine-game deficit in the standings in May means nothing to him.
"Listen, I was on the 2005 team that was up 15 games on August 1 and saw that go all the way down to nothing,'' Konerko said before the Sox beat the Blue Jays 3-1 on Thursday night. "So in my mind anything is possible.''
The Sox were World Series champs that season. On paper this season they were considered a contender during spring training but a 23-28 start for the Sox, coupled with a 30-17 start for the surprising, AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians has changed a lot of minds.
It will take more than getting Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham to find their hitting strokes, Konerko said.
"It's not all about the numbers,'' Konerko said. "There are things between the numbers we can do better - on the bases, the little things that create more runs. We need to do a better job when we don't have everything going. Instead of scraping out two runs, scrape out four. It's possible to do. We just need to be better at it.''
Having won four of five from the Indians with 12 left to play them means a lot.
"This trip [which continues in Boston] is an important trip to get through May eight or nine behind,'' Konerko said. "Staying right where we're at or better, you have four months to go with a ton of head to heads left. It's certainly possible.''
The Sox opened a four-game series in Toronto on Thursday night. Phil Humber pitched five scoreless innings and Juan Pierre drove in a run with a single in the fifth to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
Pierre, who extended his hitting streak to 11 with the hit and added two more with his 14th infield hit of the season in the ninth. That one scored Alex Rios, who had reached on an error, and Gordon Beckham, who was hit by a pitch to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.
Sergio Santos came on to pitch the ninth.