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CWS@BOS: Konerko's hot bat paces White Sox

BOSTON -- If the White Sox played more games at Fenway Park, then ... .

Well, three games are all they get this year at the home of the Red Sox, but the White Sox certainly made the best use out of this trio. As rough as their efforts have been in other venues such as Rogers Centre, where Toronto took three of four before the White Sox moved to this next stop, and the Coliseum in Oakland, they have been just as dominant during a seven-game winning streak in Boston dating back to Aug. 27, 2009.

Wednesday's come-from-behind 7-4 victory extended this run, marking the longest stretch of success by a Red Sox opponent since the Yankees won seven straight from May 23 to Aug. 21, 2006. Chicago's three-game sweep evened the White Sox record on this three-city, 10-game road trip at 5-5, as they return to U.S. Cellular Field to start a 10-game homestand Friday against Detroit.

Taking down one of the toughest opponents in the American League, and doing the job on Boston's home field, would seem to be the exact boost of momentum the White Sox (27-31) need to start a run toward the top of the AL Central.

But manager Ozzie Guillen has seen this sort of effort from this 2011 team previously, albeit not as complete as this sweep. So it's a little tough for him to make predictions of grandeur.

"I wish I could say, 'Wow, we are ready to go,'" Guillen said, "but that happened to us before. We were ready to say, 'Wow, that's the team we were looking for and the team we know we have.' All of a sudden, a couple of days later, we go backwards. I hope this is the beginning of the good start. I hope this gets us to where we want to get.

"Hopefully they look at it and say, 'We played against one of the best teams in the American league and we played the way we can play, and we can play that way against anybody.' Hopefully they know that and it creates some confidence and belief we can do this."

While the White Sox offense fought its way back from an early 3-0 deficit, it was Gavin Floyd (6-5) who deserves the bulk of credit for even giving his hitters a chance.

Boston (30-26) touched up Floyd for seven hits in the first 10 batters he faced but could manage only three runs in the first two innings. Floyd helped his own cause by retiring eight straight from the second through the fourth, needing just 20 pitches over that stretch. He finished with four runs allowed on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out one and walking one, with Guillen pointing to the right-hander getting more aggressive within the strike zone as the game progressed.

"Especially when you give up runs early, you know this game can go either way," said Floyd, who had his start moved back one day after throwing in relief Saturday in Toronto. "Just try to keep your focus and have faith and just go out there like it's 0-0, because that's the mentality you have to have."

"He competes, man," said Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia of Floyd. "He's tough. We hit some balls good right at people, but for the most part, he settled in and threw the ball good."

Trailing, 3-1, in the fifth, Ramon Castro walked to open the frame against 44-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Gordon Beckham followed with a popup down the right-field line that Pedroia had a long way to go to reach, and the ball ticked off Pedroia's glove for a single, putting runners on first and second.

Juan Pierre grounded into a fielder's choice at second for the first out, and then looked as if he would be an easy out at second when the Red Sox guessed right with a pitchout as Pierre was breaking on a stolen-base attempt. But in the rundown, Pedroia failed to tag Pierre and allowed him to get to second with a strange stolen base.

Pedroia claimed he tagged Pierre and was disappointed second-base umpire Marty Foster didn't ask for help.

"Those guys have to be held responsible for that, because I tagged Juan right in the back," Pedroia said. "So if he doesn't want to ask for help, that's unfortunate, because they got two runs out of it."

Alexei Ramirez's groundout scored one run after the missed tag, and then Carlos Quentin doubled home the tying tally. Brent Lillibridge and David Ortiz traded home runs, and Paul Konerko's single off Matt Albers (1-3) scored Ramirez with the game-winner in the seventh.

Konerko added a two-run home run off Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, supporting relievers Chris Sale and Sergio Santos (ninth save), who combined for 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief.

This series marked a big step forward for the White Sox, who completed a stretch of three three-city road trips, starting back on April 18, with a 14-16 record. But bouncing back after the Toronto debacle was just as much out of necessity in order to chase down the Indians and Tigers.

"We needed some wins. We've been scuffling," said Konerko, who had three hits and drove in three. "We're still behind the eight-ball. We still have a lot of room to make up.

"It's a good start and we've got to make sure we don't lose this momentum on the off-day. We got to come back against a division team on Friday and we don't have any more room for lapses. We've got to keep moving." Comments