Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

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Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

Gordon Beckham hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning Friday and the Chicago White Sox overcame the loss of star Paul Konerko to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in what was the final major league game for Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.Beckham's solo shot and a two-run blast from Konerko in the first were the only runs allowed by Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (4-2).Konerko suffered a laceration above his left eye and swelling when he was hit by a Samardizja pitch in the third inning and had to leave the game. He was to have more tests to determine the extent of the injury.Wood's retirement dominated the pre-game conversations as the right-hander shagged batting practice balls in the outfield with his son. After struggling with injuries over the better part of a decade and again early this season, Wood was expected to retire after one more appearance with the Cubs and he made that in the eighth after Samardzija walked Adam Dunn.Wood, who began his major league career with the Cubs in 1998 and struck out 20 Houston Astros batters in his fifth major league start, took the mound to rousing cheers. When Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo with three pitches - the only batter he faced - he was taken out as teammates congratulated him on the mound and Dunn doffed his batting helmet and clapped from first base.Wood left to a rousing standing ovation and was hugged by his son as he reached the dugout. Moments later, Wood emerged for a curtain call, waving his cap to the fans at Wrigley Field as James Russell threw warmup pitches. He played slightly more than 13 seasons, most of them in Chicago."It's time," Wood said afterward. "We all get to this point.'Konerko's 19th career homer in 66 games against the Cubs came one out after a first-inning single by Beckham and made it 2-0.

But the Cubs responded right away against Phil Humber. David DeJesus led off with a fly ball double into the ivy in left field and Tony Campana had a bunt single when Humber slipped down trying to field it. Campana then stole second before Starlin Castro's long sacrifice fly made it 2-1 and sent Campana to third. Humber then struck out Bryan LaHair and got Alfonso Soriano to fly out.Samardizja hit Konerko with a high tight pitch in the third, sending him sprawling into the dirt and eventually out of the game holding a towel to his face. The next inning, Humber threw a pitch high and behind Cubs cleanup hitter Bryan LaHair in the fourth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons issued a warning to both teams.The Cubs tied the game in the seventh when Ian Stewart led off with a single and one out later Darwin Barney doubled into the left field corner to finish Humber after just 66 pitches. Matt Thornton (2-3) came in and Samardzija promptly bounced his first pitch through the left side for an RBI single to tie the game and put runners at first and third. DeJesus popped out and so did Campana on a bunt attempt, ending the inning.Samardzija allowed six hits and three runs in 7 1-3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.Humber allowed five hits and the two runs in 6 1-3 innings and is now 0-2 with three no-decisions since pitching a perfect game against Seattle on April 21. Addison Reed got his fourth save in as many chances with a scoreless ninth that included a double by Barney when White Sox right fielder Alex Rios lost his two-out fly ball in the sun.Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a call at second base with umpire Marty Foster, who was covering second on the play. DeJesus had hit a ball to left center and appeared to be safe at second but when Beckham went to make a tag he knocked DeJesus off the bag and Foster called him out.Notes: White Sox 3B Brent Morel was a late scratch with a sore back that has bothered him off and on this season. He was replaced by Eduardo Escobar ... Cubs C Geovany Soto will have surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss three to four weeks ... The Cubs called up catcher Blake Lalli and optioned out struggling right-hander Chris Volstad, who had an 0-6 record.
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White Sox come back to beat Yankees on walk-off single by Jose Abreu

White Sox come back to beat Yankees on walk-off single by Jose Abreu

The White Sox offense put it together in just enough time on Tuesday night.

Jose Abreu’s bases-loaded single with two outs helped the White Sox rally from down two runs late for a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees in front of 18,023 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Abreu’s two-out single off Dellin Betances helped the White Sox avoid missing out on two bases-loaded opportunities in the final two innings.

It all came a little too late for Jose Quintana, who earned a no decision in spite of 6 1/3 scoreless innings. But given they had the winning run on board in a one-run loss on Monday and only scored once despite loading the bases with no outs in the eighth, the White Sox will take it.

Abreu, who struck out in the eighth with no outs after three straight walks, got ahead of Betances 2-1 in the count before he singled through the left side to score the tying and go-ahead runs.

Quintana earned the 63rd no decision of his career when the Yankees broke through in the eighth inning against Tommy Kahnle, who had a rare poor performance. Kahnle gave up a game-tying, two-out single to Aaron Judge and a two-run double to Gary Sanchez as the White Sox went from up a run to trailing 3-1.

The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth on all walks, but only scored once. Abreu struck out, Avisail Garcia flew out and Matt Davidson also whiffed to leave the bases loaded. The White Sox lone run came on a two-out walk by Todd Frazier.

The same offensive woes kept them from breaking out with Quintana on the hill. While they provided lavish run support in his previous two starts, the White Sox were back to their old ways with Quintana on Tuesday. They did give him a 1-0 lead when Abreu cued a two-out RBI double off Luis Severino.

But Severino was otherwise a machine as he struck out 12 batters and walked none. Severino struck out the side in the second and seventh innings and retired the last nine batters he faced.

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Still, Quintana didn’t need anything other than the early run. He continues to look more like himself as the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches, making his third straight good turn.

Quintana worked with a good curveball/fastball combo to keep the Yankees off-balance. The 2016 All-Star thrived in the few instances when he got into trouble.

He struck out Tyler Austin with two men in scoring position to end the fourth inning and erased a leadoff walk in the fifth with an Austin Romine double play. After Quintana surrendered a two-out double to Judge in the sixth inning, he got Sanchez to pop out to strand the tying run.

Quintana allowed two hits, walked four and struck out six in 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Since he was hit hard by the Boston Red Sox on May 30, Quintana has been excellent, lowering his ERA from 5.30 to 4.37. In that span, Quintana has allowed 21 hits and six earned runs with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.

Zach LaVine's recovery and performance will either inspire confidence in Bulls rebuild or doom it

Zach LaVine's recovery and performance will either inspire confidence in Bulls rebuild or doom it

The smiles were around as the newcomers of the Bulls put on their best faces as the new era of Bulls basketball was officially presented to the public.

The men who brought them to Chicago, John Paxson and Gar Forman, began the painstaking task of introducing Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to a skeptical public that believes the Bulls were robbed without a ski mask for Jimmy Butler.

Sitting next to them was coach Fred Hoiberg, who’s entering his third season with a third different roster and a chance to change a narrative that’s largely nondescript to this point.

“Thursday night we made a decision to move a great player (Butler),” Paxson said. “But over these last four or five days, we sat and talked and are really happy about the direction we’re about to head down.”

It’s a direction they’ve chosen where they know everything has to be done right for it to be fruitful. High draft choices are to be expected, and Paxson has said publicly and privately that they must hit on every single one, starting with Markkanen.

But for the sake of narrative and performance certainty and erasing errors of the past, LaVine has to be the one who leads the rebuild on the floor. It could be awhile before Markkanen develops, and in Dunn it’s uncertain if he had a bump in the road as a rookie or if the Bulls see something in him the Timberwolves failed to focus on.

Dunn could merely be a long unrequited love the Bulls have held onto without actually looking at the evidence he presented in an underwhelming rookie season.

But it’s LaVine who has the most pressure and is as close to a household name as anyone, winner of two straight dunk contests in 2014 and 2015 at All-Star Weekend.

A high flyer with a higher ceiling than anyone on the Bulls roster, LaVine must show he’s not damaged goods as he’s returning from a left ACL tear he suffered in February.

Bumping knees with Detroit’s Andre Drummond on an athletic drive to the basket, LaVine shook off the pain to play another six minutes in that third quarter in Detroit, completely unaware of the severity.

“I just thought it was a sprain,” LaVine told CSNChicago.com. “It wasn’t until I went to the locker room at the end of the quarter and more doctors were called in that I started thinking something was wrong.”

The bad news arrived and surgery wasn’t far behind, turning a promising campaign into one of uncertainty, the same kind that mirrors this franchise. Doctors have told LaVine, his family and representatives his knee doesn’t have the typical wear and tear of average athletes, probably buoyed by the fact his recovery is ahead of the nine-to-12-month usual schedule that accompanies these injuries.

Considering the last torn ACL in Chicago still haunts the franchise, considering LaVine plays the same position as the man he’s replacing and the fact he’s relishing being the man in charge in a similar way Butler did, LaVine’s recovery and development is the one most critical to this franchise’s credibility.

“We talked about it. Hey, look, you wanted to be an All-Star guy,” Paul LaVine, Zach’s father who was in attendance at the Advocate Center, said to CSNChicago.com. “You’re in a bigger market, go out here and get it done. I’m not concerned because my son, each situation, he’s surprised me.”

He averaged 18.9 points in 47 games as a third option behind Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, but when he steps on the floor, yes he’ll have more opportunities but also more defensive attention and a spotlight he hasn’t had to deal with as a pro.

“High school, I didn’t know,” Paul LaVine said. “His first 15 games at UCLA, that’s what got him drafted, he exploded. When he got here, I knew if he got an opportunity on the NBA stage, it doesn’t surprise me.”

But the newest Bull knows he must fight the urge to come back in a superhuman manner, especially playing for the franchise Michael Jordan built. Jordan, through highlight videos and the movie “Space Jam,” became one of LaVine’s idols. More directly, Kobe Bryant became the player LaVine has modeled himself after, as LaVine chose the number eight and wore Bryant’s signature Nikes during his photo shoot after his introductory news conference.

“I'm only 22. I'm ready for it. I'm very humble,” LaVine said with a smile of confidence. “When it's time for me to get going, I'm going to come in here and work my butt off like I always do, going in with full confidence. I'm just extremely excited to get this ball rolling and see what we can do.”

LaVine is often pulled back when he passes through certain benchmarks of his rehab and has to continue to play the long game. Coming back too soon or being pressed to come back got others in trouble.

Headed into restricted free agency after next season, LaVine certainly wants to prove his worth so contract negotiations will be smooth in the offseason. But since the Bulls have clearly chosen their path of a rebuild, one wonders how the two ideals will compete against one another this season.

“Regardless, I’m going to be safe. That’s the main thing, always being safe,” LaVine said. “I always have to take care of myself and this franchise, as well. I’m going to be safe, I’m going to do everything I can physically to get back. Then when I’m at that point, I’m going to be ready. I’m the type of person that’s going to work my butt off to get there as fast as possible. I’m going to be ready when I am there.”

For the Bulls’ sake, LaVine has to be the face of this first step as it might be the closest thing the front office has to inspiring any level of confidence to a weary fan base.