BOSTON (AP) — Fenway is a friendly park to the Sox — the White Sox.
Chicago won its seventh consecutive game at the 99-year-old home of the Boston Red Sox as Paul Konerko hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning and a two-run homer in the ninth in a 7-4 victory that completed a three-game series sweep on Wednesday.
“Playing three games here is not the same as playing in a lot of stadiums,” Konerko said after another sellout crowd, the 660th straight at Fenway, watched the Red Sox waste a 3-0 lead after two innings. “There’s an energy you get that you don’t get other places. So that is a help if you use it right.”
The White Sox did.
Gavin Floyd (6-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, but only one run and two hits in his last 4 2-3.
“When you give up runs early, the game can go either way,” he said. “You just try to keep your focus and have faith and just go out there like it’s 0-0.”
After Konerko’s 12th homer of the year made it 7-4 against Jonathan Papelbon, Sergio Santos pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
“The biggest (hit) to me was (Konerko’s),” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “You really don’t want to be up by (only) one in this ballpark against that ballclub because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Actually, it’s been fairly consistent when the White Sox play there: They win.
Their seven-game winning streak at Fenway is their longest there since they also won seven in 1958-59. They are 13-2 in their last 15 games against Boston and 9-1 beginning with the start of last season, at home and away.
“They’ve been playing good,” David Ortiz said. “They weren’t playing that good before they got here.”
In their previous series, the White Sox were swept in three games at Toronto. And even after the sweep in Boston, they were 27-31 and trailed Cleveland by eight games in the AL Central.
“It’s nice to get three wins before the off day, but we’re still behind the eight ball,” Konerko said. “We don’t have any room, probably, for anymore lapses”
Boston lost its fourth straight for the first time since a six-game, season-opening slide.
“We’re fine. We’re fine,” Dustin Pedroia said. “We had that day-nighter in Detroit (on Sunday) and got home around 5 in the morning and everybody has been kind of dragging. But the White Sox are playing good.”
Matt Albers (1-3) replaced Tim Wakefield to start the seventh with the score tied at 4 and retired just one of the four batters he faced, allowing singles to the other three.
Konerko’s homer was the 377th of his career, tying Norm Cash and Jeff Kent for 64th place all-time. He has two in his last two games.
White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez wrapped up an outstanding series by going 3 for 5 with three runs and an RBI. He was 9 for 14 in the three games.
The Red Sox battered Floyd through the first two innings with three runs and seven hits.
In the first, singles by Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez put runners at first and third with no outs, but Kevin Youkilis grounded into a double play.
Boston took a 3-0 lead in the second when five of the first six batters got hits. Ortiz led off with a double and took third on a single by Carl Crawford. Jed Lowrie’s ground-rule double drove in one run and, after Josh Reddick struck out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in two more.
Terry Francona On Offense, Wakefield
Floyd didn’t allow another hit until the sixth, when Ortiz led off with his 13th homer.
The White Sox managed just one hit off Wakefield in the first three innings and then scored four in the next three.
“Wake was pretty good,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “His ball was dancing. He left a couple up and that hurt him.”
The White Sox got a run in the fourth on a walk to Ramirez, a passed ball and an RBI double by Brent Lillibridge, and they tied the game at 3 with two runs in the fifth.
Ramon Castro walked, took second on a single by Gordon Beckham and third when Juan Pierre grounded into a forceout at second. Castro then scored on a groundout by Ramirez, and Pierre, who had stolen second, came in on a double by Carlos Quentin.
Lillibridge put Chicago ahead 4-3 in the sixth with his sixth homer before Ortiz tied it with his second homer in as many days.
Notes: Ortiz hit his 144th homer at Fenway Park, one behind Bobby Doerr for fifth in Red Sox history. In Tuesday night’s 10-7 loss, he passed Manny Ramirez (142) for sixth place. Ortiz hit 10 homers in May. … Red Sox lefty reliever Rich Hill left the game in the seventh with a left forearm injury after facing just one batter. He walked Adam Dunn on seven pitches. … Rene Rancourt, who sings the national anthem at Boston Bruins home games, sang it before Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park while wearing a shirt with the Bruins’ “spoked B” emblem on it. Boston and Vancouver were scheduled to start the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver later Wednesday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)