quot;There are some positives out there, but at the end of the day it?s still a loss.quot;
Although the Sox did lose the game 4-3 at U.S. Cellular Field, there was one big positive ? starting pitcher Jose Contreras.
quot;To give up 3 runs in 7 innings against that lineup; they are pretty stacked right now, it probably gives him the idea that if he can do it against them, he can do it against anybody,quot; Konerko said.
Contreras? future was looking bleak in the first inning as the Blue Jays came out with 2 runs on 3 hits. After that, the 37-year-old righty finally put it together and yielded just 1 run on 5 hits before turning the game over to reliever Scott Linebrink in the eighth.
quot;The key was going 7 innings and giving my team a chance to win,quot; Contreras said through interpreter Ozzie Guillen Jr. quot;I wasn?t happy that we didn?t win, but I wanted to give them a chance to compete.quot;
Contreras wasn?t able to do that in his first 3 starts. The veteran lost all three and was tagged for a collective 14 earned runs in 15? innings.
Maybe he was just rusty after his 2008 season ended on Aug. 9 with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Or, maybe Contreras was just finished as a pitcher.
Something definitely turned after the shaky first inning against the Jays, and Contreras said it was his command.
quot;First-pitch strikes,quot; he said. quot;My breaking ball, split, two-seamer, four-seamer, they were all in the zone. That was the big difference.quot;
Maybe now manager Ozzie Guillen won?t have to field so many questions about who is going to replace Contreras in the rotation.
quot;Awesome job,quot; Guillen said after Contreras pitched 7 innings for the first time since June 5 of last season. quot;He had more confidence. If Jose continues to throw like that, he?ll win some games for us. Hopefully, this game makes him feel good about himself.quot;
The Sox had to be feeling good after rallying to take a 3-2 lead against Halladay and Toronto in the third inning on Konerko?s 2-run double. But the Blue Jays tied the game in the fourth and won it in the eighth inning on Scott Rolen?s run-scoring single off Linebrink.
quot;(Halladay) is one of the best pitchers in the game,quot; Guillen said. quot;We?ve handled him pretty well in the past and scored some runs off him early today, but he kept his team in the game.quot;