KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Monday afternoon he wasn’t sure his team could fill the shoes of first baseman Jose Abreu during his stint on the disabled list.
But it certainly helps to have one of the Sox’s all-time offensive leaders to take over the spot.
Konerko said he wasn’t thinking about going big when he hit his second homer of the season about 412 feet to center field in the fifth inning for a 7-6 Sox lead.
“I certainly didn’t think I was going to hit a home run on it. I didn’t feel that good,” Konerko said. “But I felt pretty good. I felt competitive, and in this ballpark, I think the wind was helping a little bit.”
Sox left-hander Chris Sale joked Monday that someone needed to disinfect the team’s clubhouse to stop the injury bug from continuing to creep through the roster.
Unfortunately for the Sox, closer Matt Lindstrom became the latest afflicted, leaving with an apparent foot or ankle injury in the ninth inning. The Sox didn’t have details on his condition after the game, but Ventura said, “It didn’t look good.”
After right-hander Scott Carroll became the third straight Sox starter to allow at least four runs in the first two innings of a game, the Sox have to be hoping that the bug is at least out of Sale’s system so they can add the ace back to the rotation.
Carroll gave up five first-inning runs and six overall, bringing Sox starters’ totals to 18 earned runs over 142/3 innings pitched over the last three games. Sale, on the disabled list with a left flexor muscle strain, said he feels ready to return but will wait for the team’s decision after his bullpen session Tuesday.
The Royals scored five runs in the first inning on five hits and a walk against Carroll. Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double, Billy Butler had an RBI single and Lorenzo Cain added a two-run single, all before Carroll was able to record his second out.
“I needed to just be more efficient,” Carroll said. “I knew that I needed to face adversity and keep plugging away. I wasn’t just going to lay down and take that first inning as the rest of my outing.”
Ramirez cut the Royals’ lead to 5-3 in the third inning with a three-run homer to left field off Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. It was his sixth of the season, matching his home run total for all of 2013. Viciedo hit a solo homer to left field in the fourth inning.
Hosmer got the run back for the Royals with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth against Carroll, who is from nearby Liberty, Mo., and took the mound in front of family and friends for his fifth start.
Adam Eaton scored on a Ramirez groundout in the fifth inning, and after Adam Dunn walked, Konerko homered.
Sox relievers Zach Putnam and Ronald Belisario each pitched two scoreless innings before the Sox pulled off the victory despite some ninth-inning drama.
With the Sox holding a one-run lead, Norichika Aoki hit a single off Lindstrom to lead off the ninth. Lindstrom tried to field an Alcides Escobar bunt to the front of the mound but failed to when he injured himself. He left the game and left two runners on for left-hander Scott Downs, who struck out Hosmer for the first out. Right-hander Jake Petricka then entered, and the Sox caught pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stealing. Billy Butler grounded out to end it.
“It’s a nice job by the offense,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They stayed with it and got some big home runs. … It’s a good win. We’ll take it.”