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White Sox Dump Rangers In 9th

The Texas Rangers can't seem to score enough runs.

Paul Konerko drove in four runs including the game-winning sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago White Sox to an 8-7 victory over the Rangers Saturday night.

The loss, coupled with Oakland's win over Toronto, closed the Rangers' lead in the AL West to 4 1-2 games.

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  • "We've got to make better pitches. We've got to catch the ball," Texas manager Johnny Oates said. "Seven runs. Goodness gracious. How many runs does it take to win a game? You shouldn't have to score 10, 12 runs a night."

    After Texas tied the game in the top of the ninth, Jeff Zimmerman (9-2) gave up a leadoff single to Ray Durham. Third baseman Todd Zeile then slipped on the grass while trying to field Mike Caruso's bunt, allowing Durham to advance to third and Caruso to be safe at first.

    "Everybody in the ballpark knows he's bunting and (Zeile) fell on his rear end," Oates said.

    "It was not a designed play to kick it foul," said Zeile, who blamed the wet grass for his fall. "My body wanted to (stop) and my feet didn't."

    The Rangers brought right fielder Mark McLemore in to second base for a five-man infield. Zimmerman fell behind Frank Thomas 3-0 and then intentionally walked him to load the bases. Magglio Ordoez flied out to shallow right.

    Konerko, who was 2-for-4, then hit a fly ball to right that was deep enough to score Durham, whose slide easily beat Roberto Kelly's throw.

    "I got to 0-2 and I was just trying to get lucky," Konerko said. "I got a good pitch to hit into the outfield. I told myself, `Just don't swing at the slider.' That's his bread-and-butter pitch."

    "I was looking to strike him out," Zimmerman said. "I threw three straight sliders for balls and then a fastball. (Konerko) did his job."

    Bob Howry (3-3), who blew his fifth save of the season when he gave up back-to-back homers in the ninth, picked up the win. Howry allowed Rafael Palmeiro's 30th home run with two outs and then served up Zeile's 17th that tied it 7-7.

    "We felt we had a chance to win," Palmeiro said. "The only positive thing you can get out of something like this is that we had life in the ninth and we were able to come back. The other thing is Juan (Gonzalez) is back. You can see what he does when he's back."

    Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and an RBI double in his first start after missing four games because of a strained left hamstring.

    Ivan Rodriguez became the first catcher to ever hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season. Rodriguez, who has 24 homers, stole second base in the third to become the first 20-20 catcher in major league history. He is only the third catcher in AL history to steal 20 bases in a single season.

    The closest any catcher had come to a 20-20 season was Benito Santiago when he hit 18 homers and stole 21 bases in 1987 for San Diego.

    "Talk to me tomorrow about it," Rodriguez said. "It'll feel better when we win."

    Konerko had a two-run double in the sixth and an RBI single in the seventh. Thomas went 3-for-4, including an RBI double.

    Rusty Greer reached on a fielding error by second baseman Durham in the Rangers first and Gonzalez followed with his 27th home run to give Texas a 2-0 lead.

    The White Sox tied the game in their half of the first when Thomas hit an RBI double and scored on Ordonez's single.

    Gonzalez's RBI double in the third put the Rangers back on top 3-2. Greer hit a two-run single in the fourth that gave Texas a 5-2 lead and chased starter Jim Parque.

    The White Sox took the lead when they batted around in the sixth. Konerko hit a two-run double and scored on Chris Singleton's game-tying single that knocked strter Mike Morgan from the game.

    The White Sox loaded the bases against Tim Crabtree and Durham's RBI groundout scored Singleton with the go-ahead run. Chicago made it 7-5 one inning later on Konerko's RBI single.

    Morgan gave up six runs on 10 hits and one walk over five-plus innings.

    Parque gave up five runs on six hits and three walks over 3 1-3 innings and Sean Lowe worked 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief.

    White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said he was concerned with Parque's hand, which had forced the left-hander to miss a start. However, Parque denied there was a problem.

    "Everyone struggles. My time is now," Parque said.


  • The other two AL catchers to steal 20 bases are Kansas City's John Wathan who stole a major league record 36 in 1982 and 28 more in 1983 and the White Sox's Ray Schalk who stole 30 bases in 1916 and 24 in 1914.
  • The Rangers recalled right-hander Danny Kolb from Triple-A Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League and optioned right-hander Ryan Glynn to Oklahoma.
  • Saturday's crowd of 27,476 included walkup ticket sales of 5,233.
  • Palmeiro, who snapped an 0-for-16 slump with his ninth-inning homer, has had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in five straight seasons.

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