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CLE@CWS: Konerko smashes a solo shot to cut deficit

CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura's press conference following Thursday's 14-3 shellacking administered by the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field lasted exactly 9.8 seconds.

It's hard to call the interaction a press conference, as the agitated White Sox manager made one direct and succinct statement concerning his team's abysmal play in the midst of an opening and sole question from the media.

"Not good. Tonight is just -- all the way around wasn't good," Ventura said. "Not a good game to sit through, watch, anything."

Those who watched the game understood that Ventura was right on the money with his assessment.

Three more errors raised their miscue total to 112 and a Major League-worst 20 for September, not to mention having allowed 71 unearned runs. Alejandro De Aza had another baserunning lapse in the third, when he was moving back toward first base as shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was chasing down an Alexei Ramirez popup in short left field. The ball fell, but Cabrera had time to force De Aza at second.

Then there was the pitching, which has been a strong suit among a long list of areas that need improvement for the White Sox (58-88). John Danks (4-13) started and definitely did not finish, allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits over four innings.

Danks, who struck out one and walked three, has given up 16 earned runs on 27 hits in 14 1/3 innings over his last three starts, including five home runs. For the year, Danks has allowed 28 long balls in 131 1/3 innings.

Danks' postgame comments were about two minutes longer than those from Ventura, but equally as harsh. And Danks put the onus of the criticism on himself.

"Nothing worked. I threw the ball where I wasn't supposed to throw it and got my [butt] kicked," Danks said. "I need to get it turned around and make the most out of my next few starts. There's nothing good to take out of tonight. It was [lousy] from the get go."

"We did a good job tonight of scoring early and staying at it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And we spread it out."

Nick Swisher started the scoring with a solo homer in the first. Three batters later, Danks gave up Ryan Raburn's three-run shot. Raburn later delivered a two-run single against reliever Dylan Axelrod, giving him 17 homers against the White Sox out of the 70 for his career and 66 RBIs out of 267 lifetime.

That four-run opening frame became a mere timeout compared to a seven-run punishment coming from the Indians (78-68) in the fifth. Cleveland sent nine men to the plate against Charlie Leesman and Axelrod before the first out was recorded.

Leesman, who carried a 1.59 ERA over his first 11 1/3 big-league innings into Thursday, couldn't get an out on this night. Cabrera greeted him with a solo homer and Leesman walked Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles and Drew Stubbs around a 17-minute rain delay. Michael Bourn followed with a run-scoring single, and Swisher singled home two more.

When Jason Kipnis drew a walk, Leesman's night was done at seven batters faced, four walks, three hits and seven earned runs allowed.

Paul Konerko went deep against the Indians' Corey Kluber (9-5) for one of the White Sox few highlights. Catcher Miguel Gonzalez's first career hit came in the seventh, as he replaced Josh Phegley as part of wholesale changes on both sides when the game got out of reach.

Axelrod hurled five scoreless innings and 90 pitches in just his fourth outing since Aug. 11.

This game clearly pointed to the different statuses for these two teams. The Indians are in hot pursuit of the American League's second Wild Card, while the White Sox have little more to play for than evaluating young talent and avoiding 100 losses.

Any evaluating Ventura did on this night will be discussed before Friday afternoon's game. A dismal performance such as Thursday's by the White Sox, marking their ninth straight loss to the Indians, 12th in 14 head-to-head games this season and 12th in their last 14, overall, didn't warrant much conversation.

"I'll do my best to forget it," Danks said of the game and his start. "But it was that bad that it will be hard to not lose any sleep tonight. I'm not going to pout, not going to sulk. I'm not going to make any excuses. Be ready to work hard tomorrow and get ready for the next one.

"I don't know what else to tell you all other than I [stunk] and I'm embarrassed how it went. I feel bad for these guys having to go out there and watch me do what I did."

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