Rain kings: ChiSox, down 7-2 before delay, rally to beat M's

CHICAGO (AP) -- Trailing by five runs with their season slipping
away, the Chicago White Sox did the usual during a long rain delay.
They played cards and talked away the time.

"I think we knew pretty early we'd get back out there. When you
hear you're going to play, you stay focused and that's what
happened," Paul Konerko said Saturday after the White Sox stormed
back to beat the Seattle Mariners 11-7 and maintain their faint
playoff hopes.

Konerko hit a go-ahead homer in a five-run eighth as Chicago won
for just the second time in nine games.

The White Sox stayed seven games behind first-place Detroit in
the AL Central and 5½ back of Minnesota for the wild card. The
defending World Series champions have seven games left.

"You'd think we'd be good for a little push here at the end,
but there have been so many games where we won in the middle of a
tough spell and we thought that was the turning point -- a game like
today -- and it didn't happen," Konerko said. "You still have
hope. Just give it your best shot the last week and you need some

Konerko hit the third pitch from reliever Joel Pineiro (8-13)
for a two-run homer, his 33rd, to put the White Sox ahead 8-7 after
Jim Thome drew a leadoff walk against George Sherrill.

The White Sox then loaded the bases on three walks before Juan
Uribe had an RBI infield single and Ryan Sweeney hit a two-run

Rookie knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (1-1) relieved struggling
Chicago starter Mark Buehrle and didn't allow a hit for 3 1-3
innings in his first major league win.

Mariners starter Felix Hernandez went five innings, allowing
three hits, including Thome's 42nd homer. With the Mariners leading
7-2, he didn't return after a rain delay of 1 hour, 57 minutes, in
the top of the sixth that left the footing at U.S. Cellular Field

White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye departed after the seventh
inning when he slipped in the batter's box and fell down, hurting
his left hamstring.

Seattle reliever Eric O'Flaherty got in trouble in the sixth
after a two-out throwing error by shortstop Oswaldo Navarro -- first
baseman Richie Sexson slipped reaching for the throw -- allowed Dye
to reach second and led to four unearned runs.

"Guys were slipping everywhere," O'Flaherty said.

Thome followed the error with an RBI double, and Konerko hit an
RBI single to make it 7-4.

A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede hit back-to-back singles to load
the bases, and Alex Cintron hit a two-run single -- a blooper to
short right that hit the glove of Mariners second baseman Jose
Lopez, who bobbled it before it fell to the ground.

"I thought somebody was going to get hurt," Mariners manager
Mike Hargrove said. "I think we are all concerned about the field
conditions. The umpires made the decision that the field was
playable and we played the game. ... We can sit here and talk about
the field conditions all we want, but the fact of the matter is
that we didn't pitch well from the sixth to the eighth."

Uribe doubled in the seventh but was out easily at third trying
to advance on Dye's grounder to shortstop. And it turned into a
double play when Dye stumbled coming out of the box and fell down.

"It was pretty bad," Dye said about the field conditions.
"But we needed to play to get this one in to give ourselves a
fighting chance at the end."

Dye will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

Sexson's 32nd homer, his third in two games against Chicago,
gave the Mariners a 4-2 lead in the third and was the 36th allowed
this season by Buehrle, tying him for most in the major leagues.

The Mariners tacked on three more in the fifth as Adrian Beltre
-- who homered in the first -- doubled and scored on Raul Ibanez's
two-out RBI single.

Ibanez moved to second on an error by Dye in right field. After
an intentional walk to Sexson, Eduardo Perez and Mike Morse
followed with RBI singles.

Buehrle gave up nine hits and seven runs in 4 2-3 innings. In
the first he yielded a solo homer to Beltre, a double to Lopez, a
walk and an RBI single to Perez as Seattle opened a quick 2-0 lead.
Thome's homer tied it in the bottom half.

Game notes
Crede's sixth-inning single snapped an 0-for-28 skid. ...
Beltre extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He did not return
after the rain delay because of a tight hamstring.