The slugger promptly got Guillen’s attention by hitting a career-high three home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning, to lead the White Sox to a 10-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
Konerko, who drove in a career-high seven RBIs, became the 12th player in White Sox history to hit three homers in a game.
“I feel bad because earlier I mention a couple of names, but I didn’t say Paul Konerko. That’s embarrassing when you leave (off one) of the most consistent players all year and his name was not there when I mention the guys that should be there. I don’t think that’s fair, I apologize to PK,” said Guillen.
After being selected to his fourth All-Star game Sunday, White Sox starter Mark Buehrle(notes) (9-2) allowed three runs and scattered seven hits in seven innings. He struck out three and allowed just one walk.
For the first time in his career Buehrle will being going to the All-Star without Konerko.
“Three years that I have been in, he’s been to all three and this is the first year I’m going without him. I told him I don’t know what to do without him there. He said he’s got to cut the cord, said, ‘Kid you have to grow up and do your own thing and go without me,”’ said Buehrle.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning, Ramirez doubled with one out off Indians starter Jeremy Sowers(notes) (2-7) and advanced to third on Jermaine Dye’s(notes) single. Sowers’ night ended when he walked Jim Thome(notes) to load the bases. Then Konerko greeted Indians reliever Chris Perez(notes) by hitting his second homer of the game on a 2-0 fastball into the left field seats. It was his eighth career grand slam.
“It was one of those days where I didn’t feel all that different going into it. It was just having good at-bats and making good decisions,” said Konerko. “The grand slam, obviously got bases loaded and got ahead in the count so you’re feeling good about getting a pitch to drive to the outfield. A good time in the year to do it. A couple of those balls don’t go early in the year and that’s what you wait for hopefully in the summer here.”
Indians manager Eric Wedge is struggling to find help from his rotation and his bullpen.
“There’s never been more opportunity then there is out in the bullpen right now. There’s never been more opportunity for starting pitchers, then we have going right now. Somebody is going to have to step up. We’re going to keep trying guys,” said Wedge.
After getting a loud standing ovation before his at-bat in the seventh, Konerko hit a two-run home run into the White Sox bullpen in left for his 16th of the season. He also tagged Sowers for a solo shot in the second inning. Konerko has 24 multi-homer games in his career.
Sowers allowed four runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
With two outs in the sixth, Choo hit his 13th homer of the season to center.
Notes: The White Sox made a trade before the game, acquiring reliever Tony Pena(notes) from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Brandon Allen. Pena was 5-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 37 games for the Diamondbacks this season. The White Sox designated reliever Jimmy Gobble(notes) for assignment to make room for Pena. … Konerko is the third player to hit three homers in a game this season. Angels OF Torii Hunter(notes) did it on June 13 and Dodgers OF Andre Ethier(notes) accomplished it on June 26.