Athletics-White Sox Preview

The Chicago White Sox will be without slugger and clubhouse

leader Paul Konerko for the next week.

Luckily for Robin Ventura, his club has plenty of other sources

of power.

The surprisingly surging A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox look

to build on a dramatic victory Saturday night when they host the

Oakland Athletics.

In Friday’s opener, Chicago (61-50) trailed 3-0 early before

solo homers by Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo tied

the score. In the ninth inning, Jordan Danks hit his first major

league homer to lift the White Sox to a 4-3 victory, their 11th win

in 16 games.

It was an encouraging victory for Chicago, which leads the AL

Central by one game over Detroit, after it placed Konerko on the

seven-day concussion disabled list before the game. The first

baseman, who is batting .316 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs, is

eligible to return Friday.

“It’s not going to be easy not having him in the lineup,”

Ventura said. “We’re just going to have to find ways to have guys

like Jordan Danks come through in ways like that.”

Pierzynski suddenly swinging for power should help the White

Sox, who are tied for third in the majors with 141 home runs.

Pierzynski’s homer Friday was his career-high 22nd, and he is

batting .368 with six home runs and 14 RBIs during a season-high

11-game hitting streak.

“It’s sort of nice to look up there and see some good numbers so

far,” said Pierzynski, whose previous career high for homers was

18 in 2005. “But the biggest thing, we’re winning and that makes up

for all of it.”

Pierzynski is expected to be behind the plate to catch Francisco

Liriano (3-10, 5.03 ERA), who allowed one run, four hits and one

walk in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Chicago rallied for a 4-2 win, and Liriano now has a 2.45 ERA in

two starts for the White Sox – both victories.

“I’m just really happy to be able to give the team a chance to

win a ball game,” said the left-hander, who made two starts

against the A’s with Minnesota this year, going 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA

and 24 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Oakland (60-52) remained 5 1/2 games behind AL West-leading

Texas, but dropped one-half game back of Baltimore and Detroit in

the wild-card race. The A’s lost for the fourth time in six games

as Josh Reddick was 0 for 5 with an RBI groundout to drop his

average to .257 – the lowest it’s been since June 20.

Reddick is hitless in seven career at-bats against Liriano,

while Yoenis Cespedes, who is batting .422 with five homers and 20

RBIs during a 16-game road hitting streak, is 1 for 3 against

him.

The A’s counter with Travis Blackley (4-3, 3.30) as Bob Melvin

shakes up his rotation to give rookies Tommy Milone and Jarrod

Parker some extra rest.

“We are very cognizant of the workload of our younger pitchers,”

Melvin told the Athletics’ official website. “We feel like this is

a good time to be able to give them a little bit of a break,

refresh them going forward for the rest of the season.”

Blackley, who has never faced the White Sox, has shuffled

between the rotation and bullpen with 10 starts and 10 relief

appearances. The lefty yielded five runs in five innings in a 6-1

loss to Baltimore in his last start July 29.