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Konerko's big fly leads White Sox over Indians

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Booed, taunted and ridiculed. Back in the ballpark he once called home, Jim Thome was treated like the enemy.

In Cleveland, that's what he is now.

Playing his first game as a visitor in Jacobs Field, Thome endured some harsh treatment from Cleveland fans who used to cheer every one of his monster homers during Chicago's 8-6 win over the Indians on Monday night.

"It was just a night of booing," Thome said. "That's all it was."

Javier Vazquez dominated for six innings and Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer in the first inning to help Thome make the most of his return to Cleveland. The Indians' career home run leader bolted as a free agent following the 2002 season, signing a six-year, $85 million deal with Philadelphia and leaving behind a trail of broken hearts and bitterness across Northeast Ohio.

There's still some harsh feelings among Indians fans.

The boos and insults directed at Thome got progressively worse as the 3-hour, 44-minute game plodded on. Thome said he was somewhat surprised by the negativity, and in typical fashion, he took it in stride.

"It puts a little closure on everything," he said. "You play to win the game. You don't play to hear boos. The bottom line is we won the ballgame. You definitely hear it. There's nothing else to say. You move on."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, never one to hold back an opinion, called the crowd's reaction to Thome "brutal."

"I was real disappointed by it, kind of embarrassing," he said. "Even the Indians players were shaking their heads. Booing Jim Thome? You don't boo him, he's a class act. That's OK. We'll give him a standing ovation in Chicago."

Before heading to the ballpark, Thome, who lives in a Cleveland suburb during the offseason, got a request from his young daughter, Lila.

"She told me," Thome said "'Daddy, hit me a tater."'

Thome didn't muscle out a homer for his little girl and went 1-for-5 with an RBI in his first game at the Jake since Sept. 29, 2002. He also struck out twice to the delight of some Cleveland fans.

Vazquez (3-1) allowed five hits and would have blanked the Indians for six innings if left fielder Scott Podsednik hadn't dropped a two-out fly ball. The error led to Cleveland's only run off Vazquez, who has given up two earned runs in his last 20 innings.

Konerko connected for his seventh homer in the first off Cliff Lee (2-2).

"They beat us every way possible -- hitting, pitching and defense," Lee said.

Podsednik had four hits and matched a club record with four steals as the White Sox won their fourth straight and improved to 18-7 -- their record on May 1 a year ago when they went on to win the World Series.

Chicago has won eight straight and 10 of 11 in Cleveland.

The Indians trailed 7-0 after making a season-high four errors and playing some comical baseball in the first six innings. However, Travis Hafner's third career grand slam -- a towering shot off reliever Brandon McCarthy -- brought Cleveland within two in the seventh.

It was Hafner's eighth homer and first in 53 at-bats.

The Indians kept scrapping and put two on in the eighth before Neal Cotts got Casey Blake on a grounder. Cotts gave up a walk and single to start the ninth before giving way to closer Bobby Jenks.

The right-hander struck out Victor Martinez but gave up Ben Broussard's RBI single that made it 8-6. Jenks then struck out Ronnie Belliard and Todd Hollandsworth for his eighth save.

Thome was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers when he came to the plate in the first. One sour Indians fan held up a cardboard sign that said: Et Tu, Thome? -- a reference to Thome's perceived betrayal.

With the White Sox leading 5-0 in the sixth, the crowd of 17,845 got a little testier, directing some derisive chants at Thome.

"A little bit, yes," Thome said when asked if he was surprised by the boos. "But you understand this is a business. The Indians gave me a chance to play in the big leagues. There's closure now."

"I'm where I should be. I'm happy, and we're winning."

Lee struggled to get through the first. He allowed consecutive singles to Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi before fanning Thome. But Konerko followed with a 411-foot shot to right-center that made it 3-0.

Notes

  • It was Guillen's 200th win as White Sox manager. He's 117-70 since the start of last season.
  • On Tuesday, Indians LHP C.C. Sabathia makes his first start since getting hurt on opening night in Chicago. Sabathia strained an oblique muscle and had to leave in the third inning on April 2. "Here we go again," Sabathia said of seeing the Sox again.
  • Indians C Victor Martinez extended his streak of reaching base to 41 straight games with a walk in the fourth.
  • Both benches were warned after Lee hit A.J. Pierzynski in the third and Vazquez threw behind Belliard in the bottom of the inning. Pierzynski proudly showed off the ball mark on his upper back in the clubhouse.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jim Thome finishes the night 1-for-5 but drives in one run in his return to Jacobs Field.  (AP)
Jim Thome finishes the night 1-for-5 but drives in one run in his return to Jacobs Field. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Chicago

S. Podsednik
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF5340112
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B6110014
Jim Thome, DH5111124
    Pablo Ozuna, PR-DH0000000
Paul Konerko, 1B5113123
A.J. Pierzynski, C4121000
Joe Crede, 3B4010113
Rob Mackowiak, RF3130200
Juan Uribe, SS5020006
Brian Anderson, CF5000032
Totals42815561024 
Batting
2B - A.J. Pierzynski (, Guthrie)
HR - Paul Konerko (, Lee)
RBI - Jim Thome (), Paul Konerko 3 (), A.J. Pierzynski ()
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome (), A.J. Pierzynski ()
SB - Scott Podsednik 4 (, 3rd base off Lee/Martinez, 2nd base off Slocum/Martinez, 2nd base off Cabrera/Martinez, 3rd base off Cabrera/Martinez), Tadahito Iguchi (, 2nd base off Lee/Martinez), Pablo Ozuna (, 2nd base off Mota/Martinez)
CS - Scott Podsednik (, 2nd base by Lee/Martinez)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Rob Mackowiak 1
DP - Crede-Iguchi-Konerko
E - Scott Podsednik (, Misplayed fly ball)
Chicago White Sox
Javier Vazquez (W,-) 6610370
Brandon McCarthy 0.1344101
Boone Logan (H,) 0.2000000
Cliff Politte (H,) 0.2100000
Neal Cotts (H,) 0.1111100
Bobby Jenks (S,) 1100030
HBP - Sizemore (by Neal Cotts)
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 100-63, Brandon McCarthy 22-11, Boone Logan 4-2, Cliff Politte 12-7, Neal Cotts 14-6, Bobby Jenks 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 4-6, Brandon McCarthy 1-0, Boone Logan 1-1, Cliff Politte 1-1, Neal Cotts 1-0
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 26, Brandon McCarthy 5, Boone Logan 2, Cliff Politte 3, Neal Cotts 4, Bobby Jenks 4
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4110022
Casey Blake, RF4120102
Jhonny Peralta, SS3310214
Travis Hafner, DH5124011
Victor Martinez, C4000112
Ben Broussard, 1B5032001
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4020113
Todd Hollandsworth, LF5000037
Aaron Boone, 3B4010011
Totals38612651023 
Batting
2B - Ben Broussard (, Vazquez), Ronnie Belliard (, Politte)
HR - Travis Hafner (, McCarthy)
RBI - Travis Hafner 4 (), Ben Broussard 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Ben Broussard ()
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Guthrie-Martinez-Broussard
PB - Victor Martinez ()
E - Aaron Boone (, Misplayed grunder), Ben Broussard (, Wild throw), Brian Slocum 2 (, Wild throw)
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (L,-) 51053041
Brian Slocum 0.2222210
Jeremy Guthrie 2.1100420
Fernando Cabrera 0.2111020
Scott Sauerbeck0100000
Guillermo Mota 0.1000010
IBB - Mackowiak by Jeremy Guthrie
HBP - Pierzynski (by Cliff Lee)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 94-64, Brian Slocum 31-15, Jeremy Guthrie 44-20, Fernando Cabrera 11-7, Scott Sauerbeck 6-3, Guillermo Mota 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 4-8, Jeremy Guthrie 2-2
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 27, Brian Slocum 6, Jeremy Guthrie 11, Fernando Cabrera 3, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Guillermo Mota 1
Game Information
Attendance - 17845
Game Time - 3:44
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Mike Reilly