White Sox deal Royals' division title hopes a blow
Abreu, Phegley (twice) homer following Konerko's retirement ceremony
CHICAGO -- Records were eclipsed and farewells were fostered in the White Sox 5-4 win over the postseason-bound Royals on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
A crowd of 38,160, third largest of the season, was on hand to enjoy a 41-minute pregame ceremony honoring retiring White Sox captain Paul Konerko.
Konerko started at first and went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, and left in the top of the seventh to a roaring ovation.
"It was a good night, touching night for him to come in, regardless of not getting a hit or anything," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's beside the point. His career stands on its own. He's a guy that never took for granted one day in the big leagues. I can attest to that."
Jose Abreu smacked his way into the record books with his 36th home run, the most by a White Sox rookie in the team's 114-year history. Abreu's 406-foot, two-run shot on a 2-2 fastball gave the South Siders a 3-0 lead in the first, following an RBI single by Alexei Ramirez. Ron Kittle set the previous rookie mark with 35 in 1983.
"That stands forever," Ventura said. "I think he was proud of that. Everybody was happy for him."
Said Abreu through an interpreter: "I'm very happy and grateful for the opportunity here and also extremely happy about everything that's happened for Paulie today. It's a special day for him and I want the attention on that. That's what I feel is the most important thing of today."
September callup catcher Josh Phegley had his first career multi-homer game with a pair of solo shots to left in the second and seventh innings, his second and third of the season.
Left-hander John Danks capped his season with two earned runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over seven innings. It was the fourth straight quality start for Danks, who finished his final seven starts of the first half 5-1 with a 3.12 ERA, but then struggled mightily until mid-September.
"We want to win them all," Danks said. "We are not just going through the motions, but certainly you don't want to lose on Paul Konerko Day. But certainly we wanted Paul to have a great night and a memorable night and I think we did that."
The Royals' Nori Aoki brought home Mike Moustakas on a fielder's choice in the second, and Salvador Perez lined a solo homer in the seventh. White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario gave up a run in the eighth as the Royals -- still chasing the Tigers for the American League Central title -- cut the deficit to 5-3. In the ninth, Javy Guerra took over for an injured Jake Petricka and gave up a run-scoring single. Petricka left with lower back stiffness after giving up a leadoff walk to Alex Gordon.
Royals lefty Danny Duffy didn't make it out of the third inning -- relieved after Abreu lined a single to right. Duffy, who tossed six scoreless innings against the Indians on Monday after missing three starts with a shoulder injury, finished with four earned runs on five hits and no strikeouts over two-plus innings.
"He just never really got it going," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He came out and struggled in the first inning and never got his tempo down. He just never really got comfortable on the mound tonight for some reason.
"He was struggling to command the baseball, he was struggling to get ahead, he was leaving pitches up and it was just one of those nights."
The White Sox honored Konerko between innings with video tributes from the likes of former teammates Aaron Rowand and Jon Garland and opponents Torii Hunter and CC Sabathia.
"I mean James Hetfield from Metallica said my name," Konerko said. "It's crazy. Just because you can hit a ball with a bat. It's pretty cool. I don't know what else to say. I'm blown away by it."