White Sox bag Mariners
CHICAGO — Ramon Castro homered twice and Paul Konerko went deep for the fourth straight game Thursday night, leading the Chicago White Sox to their 11th consecutive home victory, 9-5 over the Seattle Mariners.
Carlos Quentin also homered for the White Sox, whose previous home winning streak this long came in 1989 — two years before they left old Comiskey Park for U.S. Cellular Field.
Since June 9, AL Central-leading Chicago is 33-11 overall and 18-1 at home. Before the surge, the White Sox were 24-33 and 91/2 games behind Minnesota. They are now 57-44 and 11/2 games in front.
As catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s backup, Castro doesn’t play much. But he produces when he does, batting .400 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games. It was his second career two-homer game, the other coming in 2002 when he was with Florida. He also singled during Chicago’s four-run third inning, the three hits tying his personal best.
Konerko’s homer-per-game performance — his only hits of the series — helped the White Sox to their first four-game sweep of Seattle since 1994 and first at home since ’83. Chicago went 9-1 against the Mariners this season, outscoring them 52-21.
Ichiro Suzuki tied a team record with three doubles and also scored three times for Seattle, which is 6-20 in July after ending June with nine wins in 12 games.
Coming off his worst outing this season — five runs in 1 1-3 innings — Freddy Garcia (10-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings as the White Sox moved 13 games over .500 (57-44) for the first time in two seasons.
Casey Kotchman’s RBI double and sacrifice fly gave Seattle a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third, but David Pauley (0-3) was hit hard and didn’t make it out of the inning.
Singles by Alexei Ramirez and Castro and a walk to Gordon Beckham loaded the bases for Juan Pierre, whose double down the left-field line tied the game. Beckham scored on Omar Vizquel’s single and Pierre came home on a double play.
Castro’s first-pitch homer off Chris Sedden in the fourth gave Chicago a 5-2 lead.
With one out in the sixth, Kotchman doubled, Franklin Gutierrez singled and Michael Saunders lined an RBI single. Garcia escaped the jam by getting Justin Smoak to pop out and striking out Josh Wilson.
In the sixth, Castro homered off Sedden again and Vizquel knocked in a run with his third single to make it 7-3.
Ichiro doubled home a run in the seventh off J.J. Putz and scored on a wild pitch. But Konerko and Quentin responded with consecutive homers off Garrett Olson in Chicago’s half.
Putz’s 27-appearance scoreless streak, a team record, was snapped.
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