Long ball not always winning ball for Sox

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The home run has been the best offensive weapon for the White Sox for years, and with 202 already, they are on base for their eighth best homer season ever.

Only the New York Yankees have more homers–but four teams have scored more total runs than the Sox, and that is the problem.

All three of the Sox runs on Tuesday came from solo homers, but the team went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

In the last 19 games, the Sox are only 27-155 (.174) with runners in scoring position. That could haunt them if it continues in the final week of the regular season.

“I don’t know why,” second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “I don’t have a good answer. We’ve just struggled stringing hits together.”

Beckham’s last at bat Tuesday against Cleveland closer Chris Perez (37th save) came with pinch runner Jordan Danks at second base. But the Sox left Alexandro De Aza at third and Adam Dunn at second in the first inning with one out when Paul Konerko–who homered in the ninth–grounded out and Alex Rios flied out.

There may be no reason other than a slump coming at a time when it is most noticeable.

“That’s been one of the things of late,” manager Robin Ventura said of the long ball and lack of “small ball.” “The guys were having good at bats. That’s the way it goes.

“The end of a season is always like that,” he added of close games. “Crazy things happen.”

The Sox have hit .272 (328/1,204) with runners in scoring position for the season–sixth best in the majors, with Rios and Alexei Ramirez ranking seventh and eighth respectively among individual American League hitters.

They have homered in 30 of their last 34 home games–but the long ball advantage of U.S. Cellular Field in the summer shows in comparing their 118 homers at home to 84 on the road.

The Sox are averaging only 2.4 runs per game in their last eight, going 2-6 in those games.

“It’s just going to take stringing some hits together that don’t go over the fence,” Beckham said.

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