That's why he decided to concentrate on the outer half of the plate.
Konerko tied the game with a leadoff homer in the ninth inning, and Jermaine Dye singled home the winning run against Scott Proctor in the 11th to lead the Chicago White Sox over the New York Yankees 6-5 Monday night.
"That's a great moment right there, to hit a homer off a Hall of Famer to tie up a game," Konerko said. "We needed that game, a big win for us. Hopefully that sparks us and gets us going."
Konerko's opposite-field homer made it 5-all and gave Rivera just his third blown save in 31 chances this season.
"It got too much of the plate," Rivera said after surrendering just his second homer of the season. "It was going away, and didn't get there. If you leave the ball over the plate, those things are going to happen."
Konerko was realistic about his chances, and that's why he sectioned off the plate in his field of vision.
"One pitch or two he threw in, and I chased it and took bad swings. So I just kind of looked away and said I'm going to look in this one area, and if he throws there I can maybe at least put it in play," Konerko said. "Really if he throws anything else, I'm probably done. ... When you got two strikes, you just say, `Don't strike out, and make him earn it."'
Tadahito Iguchi singled leading off the 11th, a one-hop liner that was knocked down by second baseman Robinson Cano, whose throw to first was wide. Jim Thome walked off Proctor (4-3) and, after Konerko flied out, Dye lined a single to center. Iguchi scored as Johnny Damon's throw didn't even reach the infield grass on the fly.
"I don't even think about it. I just try to stick with my game plan and not worry about who is out on the bases," Dye said. "Just try to hit it hard somewhere and I've been finding holes."
Bobby Jenks (3-3) pitched 2 2/3 innings, striking out four. He fanned Damon with a runner at third in the ninth, struck out Bernie Williams with a man at second in the 10th and got Melky Cabrera to ground out with a man at second in the 11th.
Alex Rodriguez and Craig Wilson homered for the Yankees, who lost for just the third time in 13 games and remained two games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East.
The White Sox, just 9-14 since the All-Star break, lead the AL wild card by one-half game.
"We know we kind of scuffled the last month, but no one is shying away and we're not playing scared," Konerko said. "We've been beaten a lot in the last month and that's frustrating, but we're going about it in the right way."
With the score 4-all in the eighth, Matt Thornton gave up an infield single to Derek Jeter and walked Bobby Abreu, Mike MacDougal relieved, and Rodriguez singled sharply to load the bases. Cotts came in and hit Giambi in the right arm with his third pitch.
Chien-Ming Wang, who entered with a five-game winning streak, gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Freddy Garcia, 0-3 in seven starts since June 28, allowed four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in seven innings.
Damon reached leading off when Chicago center fielder Rob Mackowiak dropped his sinking liner for an error. Damon stole second and scored on Abreu's RBI single. Wilson hit his first AL homer, a two-out shot in the second.
Chicago ended Wang's 19-inning scoreless streak when Konerko and Dye opened the second with back-to-back doubles. After A.J. Pierzynski walked, Joe Crede singled to load the bases. Mackowiak hit into a 1-2-3 double play, but Alex Cintron delivered two-run single on a 3-2 pitch.
Rodriguez, in an 0-for-12 slide, hit his 23rd homer after Abreu's two-out single in the third, putting the Yankees up 4-3. Crede tied it for Chicago with his 24th homer of the season in the fourth, and the White Sox didn't get another hit until Konerko homered.
- Rivera allowed a game-winning homer to Toronto's Vernon Wells on July 20.
- Cano (hamstring) was activated from the DL before the game when Miguel Cairo was put on (also hamstring). Cano showed his value right away, taking a throw from Abreu and making a perfect relay to nail Scott Podsednik at third as he tried stretch his leadoff double.
- Rodriguez's homer was the 452nd, tying him for 31st place with Carl Yastrzemski.
- Crede has 75 RBI, tying his career high, set in 2003.
- Rodriguez reached base five times.