The Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Saturday evening. Much of the attention, though, was focused on activities preceding the game. It was Paul Konerko Day at US Cellular Field. Family, friends, former teammates, and the entire organization was on hand to show appreciation for their captain one day prior to him hanging up his cleats for the last time. Paulie was presented with gifts, lauded by team chairman, Jerry Reinsdorf, immortalized by the unveiling of a bronze statue, and cheered by the thousands of fans in attendance.
So how did Paul begin his address to the crowd, when given the opportunity? He began by congratulating the visiting Kansas City Royals for earning a playoff berth and thanked them for accommodating the team while they paid tribute to him. It was vintage Paulie, displaying the gentlemanliness that has earned him the respect of an entire league over the course of his 18 year career.
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However, the order of the day, as Konerko pointed out at the end of his speech, was baseball. To that end, the home team did not disappoint. The White Sox jumped out in front early with a three-run first inning, thanks in large part to a two-run homer by Jose Abreu. The home-run, Abreu’s 36th on the year, established a new White Sox rookie record for home-runs in a single season.
Josh Phegley would provide added run support for starting pitcher John Danks in the form of two solo home-runs of his own. That proved to be the difference for the team, allowing Danks to earn his 11th win of the year. Danks pitched seven innings, allowing 2 earned runs on five hits and two walks.
The Royals threatened in the eighth inning, scoring a run and putting men on first and second with nobody out. However, Carlos Sanchez helped turn an impressive double play on a ground ball off the bat of Eric Hosmer, bare-handing a flip from Alexei Ramirez and beating Hosmer with a throw to first, while gliding over the second base.