ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—The White Sox used solid pitching and the long ball to overcome a shortage of hits with runners in scoring position.
Carlos Quentin also homered for Chicago, which has won five of seven. Konerko has seven RBIs over his last five games. He had an RBI double in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the fifth.
“We hit homers. That’s us when we’re going good,” Konerko said. “We had a lot of people on base, but we’re not a team that manufactures runs like some others. We’ve got guys that can hit some home runs and you have to do that once in a while in the American League.”
The White Sox have won two of three over Tampa Bay despite going 8-for-36— including 3-of-14 Saturday—with runners in scoring position.
Buehrle (2-0) gave up eight hits, three walks and struck out five in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander moved within two strikeouts of tying Gary Peters (1,098) for fifth place on the White Sox all-time list.
“He didn’t have the best stuff today, but he’s going to give you a chance everytime,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir (2-1) failed in his bid to open the season with three straight wins, giving up six runs and five hits in four-plus innings. He struck out five and walked six.
“My arm felt really good,” Kazmir said. “It felt like I had a little bit on it in the bullpen and I kind of got carried away once the game started. I should have stayed within myself like I did the previous two starts. It’s one of those outings that you just want to forget about and move on.”
Tampa Bay, which went a major-league best 57-24 at home en route to the AL pennant last season, has lost four of six at Tropicana Field this year. Six of 10 walks issued by Rays’ pitchers Saturday later scored.
“It’s just early,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We don’t have everything going yet. We’re going to be just fine.”
Kazmir started the game by throwing 10 straight balls and eventually walked his first three batters. The White Sox took a 1-0 lead when Jermaine Dye hit into a double play.
After Konerko made it 2-0 on an RBI double, Kazmir ended the inning by striking out Wilson Betemit.
“I thought, ‘Oh, here we go again. We’re in Tampa,”’ Guillen said.
Chicago’s Corky Miller had a fourth-inning RBI double. Quentin hit a solo homer, and Konerko added his two-run drive to put the White Sox up 6-0 in the fifth.
Konerko went 3-for-3 against Kazmir, and has seven hits—including two homers—in 15-at-bats overall against the 2008 AL All-Star.
Tampa Bay pulled to 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Pena had a run-scoring grounder and Pat Burrell drove in a run with a single.
Dye picked up his 1,000th career RBI on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly that extended Chicago’s lead to 7-2. Quentin had an RBI infield single in the eighth.
Rays RHP Jason Isringhausen (right elbow surgery) threw two innings in an extended spring training game and is set to join Double-A Montgomery. … With Kazmir starting, White Sox DH Jim Thome was out of the starting lineup. Thome is 0-for-13 with five strikeouts against the left-hander. … Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single. … Quentin has homered in consecutive games. … Betemit struck out in each of his first four at-bats before hitting a double during the ninth.