Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2003

White Sox hammer K.C., 15-4

July 31, 2003


— Jose Valentin hit three home runs in the first five innings, and there were plenty of other Chicago White Sox players doing serious damage, too.

Paul Konerko hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs as the White Sox routed the Kansas City Royals, 15-4, Wednesday night.

Chicago set season highs for runs, hits (19) and home runs (six).

"It was one of those days where you see pitches to hit and you don't miss them," Valentin said. "I didn't try to hit three out, but it happened. It was a great game for me."

The White Sox won their third in a row and improved to a league-best 11-2 since the All-Star break. They pulled within two games of AL Central-leading Kansas City, the closest they've been to first place since April 8.

"You add (Roberto) Alomar and (Carl) Everett to a team that's swinging the way we're swinging the bat, and it makes for a tough lineup to go through," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "You have Magglio Ordonez as hot as he is and Paul Konerko heating up. Jose Valentin can be damaging as well."

Valentin hit a solo home run in the second inning and three-run home run in the third, both swinging left-handed off Kansas City starter Runelvys Hernandez.

The switch-hitting Valentin homered right-handed to lead off the fifth against reliever Jeremy Affeldt. It was only his second home run of the season swinging right-handed.

"The one right-handed was the one I enjoyed the most," Valentin said. "You won't see me too often hit home runs right-handed. The second home run was the big one because it put us ahead in the game."

It was the second three-homer game of Valentin's career. His first was April 3, 1998, while with Milwaukee at Florida. It was the third time in his career he has homered from both sides of the plate in a game.

Valentin became the first White Sox player to hit three home runs in a game since Frank Thomas Sept. 15, 1996, at Boston.

Valentin is the 10th player to hit three homers in a game this season. Bill Mueller did it for Boston Tuesday night.

Sean Lowe walked Valentin in the sixth and seventh innings. Mike MacDougal struck out Valentin in the ninth, but he reached on a wild pitch.

Konerko hit a grand slam in the seventh, singled home a run in the sixth and had a sacrifice fly in the third. Konerko's grand slam off Lowe just cleared the fence as center fielder Carlos Beltran nearly caught it with a leap at the wall.

"I was walking off the field, thinking Carlos got it," Lowe said. "I was saying my prayers. It was a cut fastball, not exactly where I wanted it, but I didn't think he got it that good."

Carlos Lee and Ordonez also homered for the White Sox, while Miguel Olivo had a career-high four hits.

Ordonez had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He has eight straight multihit games.

"We just got hit, that's all," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "It was very simple: bad pitches. When you make bad pitches you are going to pay for it."

Jon Garland (8-7) was the benefactor of Chicago's big bats, pitching six innings.

"Garland settled down after we took the lead and pretty much dominated them," Manuel said.

Hernandez (5-4) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He gave up six runs and seven hits, including three home runs.

The Royals actually had a 4-1 lead after two innings. Raul Ibanez and Ken Harvey drove in runs in the first inning. Mike DiFelice doubled home Michael Tucker in the second inning and scored on Aaron Guiel's single.

Notes: Alomar led off the game with his 1,000th career walk. ... The Royals announced their June 12 rainout with the Arizona Diamondbacks will be made up on Sept. 4, a 3:30 p.m. CDT start at Kauffman Stadium. ... The White Sox have hit four or more home runs in eight games this season. ... Plate umpire Ed Montague warned both teams after Hernandez hit Frank Thomas with a pitch in the third inning. Garland hit Joe Randa with a pitch in the second.

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