KANSAS CITY -- Paul Konerko has been to enough All-StarGames to know their importance.While there is constant media scrutiny over whether or notan exhibition game should determine home field advantage for the World Series,Konerko, a six-time All-Star, said players take the event seriously.Sure, Mondays press conferences and the Home Run Derby arefun, Konerko said. But come Tuesday, the contest takes on a serious tone.Theres definitely a focus that is there on the bench andin the clubhouse, said Konerko, who earned his third straight All-Star nodlast week. Especially in the last couple of them. Todays all fun and tomorrowhalf the day is kind of fun. But as it gets closer to game time, it feels morelike a normal day inside the clubhouse.The White Sox slugger knows his team potentially has more atstake this season than other clubs. With the White Sox currently ahead of theAmerican League Central by three games, Konerko, Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy andChris Sale could help determine whether or not the franchise could host up tofour games if it were to reach the World Series.But even if that isnt the case, the drive is still there.We keep that in our heads that this could matter for us,Konerko said. But that second thought is, if it doesnt matter for us, westill want to keep it inside of our league. Ask the Rangers guys about that. Theyknow homefield advantage is crucial. Thats the goal is to win. You still havefun and joke around, but as you get closer to the game you have responsibilityand dial it in.
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PHOENIX -- The red-hot White Sox ran into Zack Greinke on Monday night.
He cooled them off in a hurry.
Greinke struck out 12 hitters and Daniel Descalso blasted a three-run home run off Miguel Gonzalez as the Arizona Diamondbacks sent the White Sox to a 5-1 loss in front of 18,333 at Chase Field. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the White Sox, who had scored 24 runs in their final two games against the Seattle Mariners.
“(Greinke) keeps the ball down out of the zone a lot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s kind of enticing. He keeps the ball in the hitter’s area and it ends up falling out. It’s one of those things that you’ve got to try to get him up. Our approach was to try to make him throw a lot of strikes. He ended up hammering the strike zone early and then finally he just came into a groove.”
Descalso’s three-run shot off Gonzalez was one of two pitches the White Sox right-hander would have liked back. After Gonzalez walked Chris Owings with two outs in the fourth inning, his only free pass of the night, he left the curveball over the middle and Descalso deposited it in the right-center field stands to break a scoreless tie.
He also left a pitch up to Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth inning and the All-Star first baseman ripped it for a solo shot.
But overall Gonzalez rebounded from his previous two starts when he walked nine batters. He was sharp for three innings as he faced one over the minimum. He just missed to Owings in the fourth, which brought up Descalso.
Gonzalez allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in five innings.
“You see what happens when you walk guys,” Gonzalez said. “That wasn’t in a good situation to walk the guy. You have to keep grinding, keep making my pitches. Really two pitches were the ones that hurt me tonight. A lot of positives. Nothing to worry about. Keep working hard and things are going to go my way.
“Sometimes things don’t go your way. Those two pitches, if I take those back, you never know. It’s a different ballgame.”
Not only did Greinke strike out a dozen hitters, he limited the White Sox to four hits in 8 2/3 innings.
Omar Narvaez had two hits, the first coming after Greinke opened the game by retiring seven straight batters. Leury Garcia homered off Greinke with one out in the fifth inning to break up his bid for a shutout.
It was quite the turnaround from when the White Sox bashed Yovani Gallardo and Chris Heston on consecutive days in Seattle. The White Sox scored a combined nine first-inning runs in winning three of four against the Mariners.