Konerko returns as White Sox beat Rays 4-3

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Paul Konerko is set to finish his career on the field after an injury threatened to keep him a spectator.

Konerko was hitless in four at-bats in his first game since breaking his left hand Sept. 2 as the Chicago White Sox eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays from playoff contention with a 4-3 victory on Friday night.

"Very minimal discomfort," Konerko said. "Maybe catching the ball, the only time I noticed it. Considering what it felt like a couple weeks ago, I'm lucky to have it where it's at right now."

The first baseman is retiring after this season, his 18th in the big leagues. He will honored at a pregame ceremony Sept. 27.

"A couple weeks ago I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to even take a swing," Konerko said. "I feel lucky just to be back out there."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura had Andy Wilkins replace Konerko defensively in the seventh.

"I took him out almost like a spring training game," Ventura said. "He hadn't been in there in a while. This is the first time he's been on his feet running around doing stuff."

Jose Quintana pitched into the eighth inning and Avisail Garcia had a two-run double for the White Sox. Rookie Jose Abreu also had a run-scoring single during a four-run fifth, giving him 104 RBIs for the season.

"I think he just really settled down and was aggressive," Ventura said of Quintana. "Really it's kind of a calling card of his, he gets stronger as the game goes along. He gave us our chance, and we got the big hit and were able to fight back and get the lead. It's a nice night."

The Rays had a chance to tie the score in the seventh when Ben Zobrist hit a two-out double off the glove of second baseman Marcus Semien, but Semien recovered the ball in time to throw out Kevin Kiermaier at the plate.

Logan Forsythe drove in Tampa Bay's runs with a two-run double in the first and a leadoff home run in the fourth, his sixth of the season.

Quintana (9-10) gave up three runs —one earned — and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA over his last four starts.

Zach Putnam got the last two outs, striking out Kiermaier with two runners on in the ninth to earn his sixth save.

Jeremy Hellickson (1-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, failing to get through the fifth for the third time in his last five starts.

The Rays, who dropped to 35-44 at home, began the day 9 1/2 games behind the second AL wild-card spot.


Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (sore left knee) is no longer listed as an extra player on the clubhouse lineup card and is expected to miss the rest of the season. ... INF Sean Rodriguez left the team due to a death in the family.


Abreu has 12 RBIs in five games against the Rays this season.


White Sox RHP Hector Noesi (8-10) and Rays RHP Chris Archer (9-8) are Saturday night's scheduled starters. Archer has allowed a homer in four consecutive starts. He had never given up a homer in more than two straight games prior to this stretch.

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