Series: Game 1 of 4

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 7/20)

Game 1: Monday, July 20
Tampa Bay3Final
Chi White Sox4
Game 2: Tuesday, July 21
Tampa Bay3Final
Chi White Sox2
Game 3: Wednesday, July 22
Tampa Bay3Final
Chi White Sox4
Game 4: Thursday, July 23
Tampa Bay0Final
Chi White Sox5

Rays 3

(51-42, 21-27 away)

White Sox 4

(48-44, 25-22 home)

    8:11 PM ET, July 20, 2009

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 010101000 3 6 3
    CWS 10300000 - 4 10 0

    W: G. Floyd (8-6)

    L: D. Price (3-4)

    S: B. Jenks (22)

    Konerko's homer helps White Sox hold off rallying Rays

    Associated Press

    CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko realizes the heavy hitters on the schedule are lined up and ready to rip at the Chicago White Sox. On Monday night, he landed the big blow.

    Konerko hit a three-run homer to back a solid start by Gavin Floyd and Chicago started a tough stretch by hanging on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3.

    The game was the first of 18 straight against teams with winning records, a stretch that could knock the White Sox out of the race or solidify them as contenders in the American League. No wonder Konerko didn't want to think about it.

    "It's too overwhelming," he said.

    The White Sox maintained their cool even though the Rays were at it again in the late innings after rallying to win each of their previous three games. This time, however, Tampa Bay came up short.

    The Rays threatened in the eighth but did not score and loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Bobby Jenks before Jason Bartlett struck out to end the game.

    Chicago's Carlos Quentin went 1 for 4 after missing nearly two months with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Scott Podsednik had three hits and scored twice, but Konerko's 18th homer was the difference as the White Sox won for the 13th time in 19 games. His three-run drive in the third gave the White Sox a 4-1 lead, and that was just enough for Floyd (8-6), who went seven innings to improve to 6-2 in his last 11 starts.

    Floyd gave up three hits -- all solo homers. Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria went deep and Carl Crawford had an inside-the-park homer.

    The Rays had a chance to tie it in the eighth when Bartlett singled with one out against Scott Linebrink and B.J. Upton walked. Matt Thornton came in and Bartlett was caught stealing third. Crawford then singled, putting runners on first and second, but Longoria struck out.

    Jenks escaped a tense ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances. He walked Pat Burrell after striking out the first two batters and Willy Aybar singled, putting runners on first and second. Pinch-hitter Gabe Gross, whose bases-loaded walk forced in the go-ahead run against Kansas City on Sunday, walked.

    The tension mounted when Bartlett worked the count to 3-2 before fouling off a pitch. The crowd chanted "Bobby! Bobby!" as Jenks got him on a slider to end it.

    "What a really intense baseball game," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "That was great for this time of the year. Both sides playing to win that thing and they came out on top in the end. Of course we wanted to win it, but I liked our intensity, I liked the way we went after things. I can't ask for anything more from our group."

    The White Sox bounced back after a sluggish 10-2 loss to Baltimore on Sunday. They got Quentin back at the start of this rough stretch in which they also play Detroit, Minnesota, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels following this four-game set with the Rays.

    "We do have a tough stretch in front of us, but it'll be a good measuring stick for us to find out how good we really are," Podsednik said.

    They didn't look bad against David Price (3-4), who allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings for Tampa Bay.

    Crawford cut the Rays' deficit to 4-2 in the fourth. He led off with a drive to center and Podsednik decided to go for a highlight-reel catch rather than play the carom off the wall.

    Bad move.

    Crawford sprinted around the bases with the third inside-the-park homer at U.S. Cellular Field and his first since April 13, 2007. He also hit one against Toronto on April 6, 2005.

    "I thought it was out at first and then it just kind of died," Crawford said. "So, you know, I had to run. I had to get out there a little bit."

    Game notes

    Crawford's inside-the-park homer was the first at U.S. Cellular Field since Chris Singleton hit one for Chicago against Kansas City on Sept. 29, 2000. Seattle's Marc Newfield hit one on June 25, 1995. ... Chicago optioned OF Brian Anderson to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for Quentin.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumU.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
    Attendance39,024 (96.1% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:53
    Weather68 degrees, clear
    Wind12 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Mike Reilly, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Eric Cooper