CHICAGO (AP) - Ozzie Guillen knew Paul Konerko was in pain just from the look on his best player's face.
When Konerko got plunked in the calf by a pitch from Andrew Miller in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Red Sox, everything seemed to crumble for the White Sox.
They couldn't score after loading the bases, they ended up leaving 12 runners on base, they lost Konerko for the final five innings - and maybe for Monday night's opener of a four-game series against the Yankees - and they lost the game to Boston 5-3.
Konerko actually stayed in the game and took his base, but had to leave after the inning ended with the bases loaded. The White Sox had taken a 3-2 lead in the inning on Alexei Ramirez's RBI single but didn't score again.
"I don't expect him to be in the lineup to be honest with you. When PK took himself out of the game, it's not a concern but I know that guy was hurt," Guillen said.
"When I went to the plate, I've managed him for a little while, I knew this guy can tolerate some pain and tough it out. When I got back to the dugout, I told JP (Juan Pierre) to get loose because I don't think he's going to make it."
Pierre did come in and play left and Brent Lillibridge switched from left to first where he made his first major league appearance at the position.
"We've got two lineups tomorrow just in case he can't play," Guillen said of Konerko, batting .305 with 25 homers and 76 RBIs. The White Sox, who trail Detroit by four games in the AL Central, are facing Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
Earlier in the week, the White Sox dealt away starter Edwin Jackson and backup infielder Mark Teahen but did not make another deal at the deadline. Now they're 52-54 and must somehow get it together with two months left.
"I would never have guessed we would have been in this spot that we're in right now," said starter Mark Buehrle who allowed five hits and two runs in six innings and left with a 3-2 lead.
"I can't see the future. I thought going into spring training we had a good team and a good chance, but obviously we're not in a good spot right now."
After getting 10 hits and three runs off Miller in his 5 2-3 innings, the White Sox were shut out by Boston's bullpen that used three relievers, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.
"When you don't score runs in the American League, it's going to be hard to win games," Guillen said. "The pitchers can take you so far."
Ramirez's RBI single, Chicago's third hit of the inning, gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Miller then hit Konerko in the left calf with a pitch to load the bases. Konerko stayed down for a couple of seconds and then was able to walk it off and stay in the game. And the White Sox couldn't keep their rally going.
"You get to the point when you might snap. We've got two months, a month and half, hopefully our offense will pick it up from now on and make it easier for the pitching staff," Guillen said. "And for me."
Jason Varitek hit a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning to give Miller a quick lead.
But Chicago got one back in the second on Brent Morel's two-out RBI double over center fielder Ellsbury's head and another in the third when Carlos Quentin, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios hit two-out consecutive singles.
Notes: The White Sox honored former slugger Frank Thomas by unveiling a statue of the two-time MVP on the outfield concourse. ... Bard has not allowed a run in his past 26 1-3 innings. ... The White Sox inserted DH Dunn into the lineup at first in the ninth.
The Associated Press News Service
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