- The Washington Times - Friday, May 14, 2004

CHICAGO — Paul Konerko was convinced his swing was OK despite a horrendous start in May. Now he has a slump-shaking performance to prove his point.

Konerko hit a go-ahead three-run homer and had five RBI last night to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles and a split of their doubleheader.

“When you are going bad and things are going bad or results are bad, all you can hope is that when you do bust out it helps the team. And that was good tonight because it did,” said Konerko, who was in a 2-for-31 skid.

“We needed that from him, and I think he needed that for himself,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Sometimes he just worries too much.”

In the opener, Daniel Cabrera made an impressive major league debut, allowing two hits in six strong innings to spark Baltimore’s 1-0 victory.

The second game was delayed 1 hour, 42 minutes by rain in the bottom of the sixth.

Just as the thunderstorm was sending hard rain into U.S. Cellular Field, Konerko hit his three-run homer to erase the Orioles’ 5-3 lead.

“The way it’s been going we just figure rain is coming all the time, every day,” Konerko said. “We’ve had a lot of rain delays. And it’s tough to keep your focus.”

White Sox rookie Felix Diaz made his major league debut in the second game and wasn’t nearly as good as Cabrera. He gave up four homers to the Orioles in 41/3 innings, including three in the fifth.

Rafael Palmeiro hit a solo shot in the second, the 533rd of his career and one shy of tying Jimmie Foxx for 12th place on the all-time list. Luis Matos led off the fifth with a homer, and after a single by Larry Bigbie, Jerry Hairston hit a two run-shot and Melvin Mora followed with a homer down the right-field line to make it 5-3.

In the sixth, Baltimore lefty Erik Bedard (0-1) gave up a single to Magglio Ordonez and walked Frank Thomas. Joe Crede’s bunt forced Ordonez at third before Konerko hit his sixth homer of the season and first in 11 games.

After Jose Valentin popped out, the game was stopped by rain.

“Baseball is pretty much ups and down and that’s pretty much the downs,” Bedard said. “There is always one guy who gets you, and Konerko was pretty much the guy.”

In the opener, when Cabrera and two relievers hurled a three-hit shutout.

“I know that not all of my games are going to be like this. They are all going to be harder,” Cabrera said through a translator.

The 6-foot-7 Cabrera, called up from Class AA Bowie two days ago, gave up two hits to Ross Gload, a first-inning infield single and a line drive single in the sixth. In the 22-year-old Cabrera’s first pro win above the Class A level, he retired 11 straight at one juncture. He walked three and struck out three in his 91-pitch outing.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched two innings of one-hit relief, striking out Willie Harris with runners at first and third in the seventh and retiring three straight batters in the eighth. Jorge Julio completed the three-hitter with a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

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