Paul Konerko passes Frank Thomas for franchise record in White Sox win
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter April 23, 2014 9:04PM
Updated: April 23, 2014 10:43PM
DETROIT — Paul Konerko surpassed Frank Thomas’ franchise record for total bases with two singles and a double, Marcus Semien erased a two-run deficit with a grand slam and Jose Abreu cleared the 420-foot sign in center field in the first inning for the second time in two days in the White Sox’ 6-4 victory Wednesday night over the Detroit Tigers.
Konerko, whose double in the eighth inning off Justin Miller gave him 3,950 total bases as a Sox player — one more than Thomas — also led off the seventh with a single and scored on Semien’s slam against Evan Reed with two outs in the inning. It was Semien’s third homer in the seventh or later, all of them giving the Sox a lead. The rookie infielder is the only major-leaguer to boast that achievement.
“He’s a guy you like to see up there with guys on base,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “That was a big shot in the arm, especially with the way Andre [Rienzo] was pitching. He gave up what we needed tonight. He battled. He had the one bad inning, but other than that, he was sharp.’’
Rienzo won his first start, allowing four runs in 61/3 innings. All of the Tigers’ runs came in the fourth inning on J.D. Martinez’s two-run single and Austin Jackson’s two-run homer.
While rookies Abreu and Semien provided the thunder, the retiring veteran Konerko, who had been off to a 2-for-19 start in his new role as pinch hitter and part-time designated hitter, put his name on another team record with a breakout 3-for-4 game.
“Anytime you hear franchise lead or something like that, that’s cool,’’ Konerko said. “It’s always something you enjoy. I think I’ll look back and enjoy it more seven months from now and beyond. . . . More than anything, you have to be on the field to do it. I always took pride in that.’’
The Sox, who improved to 11-11 and won for the second time in three nights in Detroit, conclude a four-game series Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a big series, a four-game series against a division opponent,’’ Semien said. “I’m glad we put some runs on the board today.
“With a 3-1 count, bases loaded, I was sitting dead-red there.’’
Ronald Belisario pitched two scoreless innings, and Matt Lindstrom pitched the ninth for his third save, but not before the Tigers put runners on second and third with two out. With pinch hitter Torii Hunter in the on-deck circle, Alex Avila swung away at a 3-0 pitch and lined out to Abreu at first to end the game.
Abreu’s homer was against Drew Smyly in the first. He has 21 RBI.
“Yeah, it’s a pretty good attack,’’ Konerko said of the Sox’ productive lineup. “Everybody is buying into catering your at-bat to the situation of the game.
“We are going to have to do that to compete all year. There are teams that have some horses that are a little more battle-tested and have been around. They can do that.’’
NOTES: Gordon Beckham will come off the disabled list Thursday, a day sooner than expected. Charlie Leesman, who gave up six runs in 22/3 innings Tuesday, was sent back to Class AAA Charlotte, leaving Sunday’s starter against Tampa Bay to be determined. With Adam Eaton (left leg) still ailing, the bench has been short. Eaton will miss his fifth consecutive game Thursday.
† Chris Sale, on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain, said the elbow feels better moving around with normal everyday activities.
“Obviously, I haven’t thrown a baseball, so that will be the ultimate test,’’ said Sale, whose treatment is “nothing too out of the norm. Just resting and doing more icing, heat, that kind of stuff.’’