White Sox survive scare as Durham collapses at Metrodome


NEW YORK, AP

Ray Durham threw his final warmup toss over first baseman Paul Konerko’s head, took a few wobbly steps and fell face first onto the artificial turf.

“He had this funny look on his face and then just kind of tumbled to the ground. For a second, I thought he was joking about something with the umpire,” Konerko said.

He wasn’t.

In a frightening scene, Durham collapsed in the third inning at the Metrodome. Taken to the hospital for tests, the All-Star second baseman returned to the clubhouse after the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 5-4.

“For a moment there I was kind of out of it,” he said. “I was talking and they kept talking to me and asking me questions. Good thing I answered the questions right.”

In the top of the third, Durham slid head-first into a home-plate collision and bruised his ribs. In the bottom half, he fell as he tried to make it to the first-base dugout before the Twins batted.

“I was running off the field and I just felt like I had heavy legs,” he said.

Durham survived the scare and the White Sox, coupled with Cleveland’s 3-2 loss to Kansas City, cut their magic number to two for winning the American League Central.

The instant Durham went down, his teammates, trainer Herm Schneider, manager Jerry Manuel and a Twins team doctor rushed to his side. After several minutes, Durham sat up and was carted off the field.

“It was scary, but he’s OK. I saw a big hole in his shirt. The blow at the plate really dazed him. Ray’s tough as nails and he got up and went back to the dugout, but he was out of it,” Thomas said.

The leadoff man had X-rays and a CT scan, which were negative.

Athletics 8, Mariners 3 Oakland took over the wild card lead and tightened the AL West race, scoring five times in the first inning.

Eric Chavez and Jeremy Giambi hit two-run singles as the Athletics rushed to a 5-0 edge.

The A’s closed within one game of the Mariners for the division lead, and moved one game ahead of Cleveland for the wild card spot.

Tigers 9, Yankees 6 New York stumbled to its sixth straight loss, and the AL East leaders looked bad and got booed in doing it at Yankee Stadium.

Relievers Jeff Nelson and Ted Lilly both failed to cover first base in the ninth inning, plus the Yankees made two errors and threw two wild pitches.

The Yankees have been outscored 69-25 in losing six in a row for the first time since 1997, and have not led for 54 innings. New York’s magic number for clinching the division was cut to six by Toronto’s loss.

Royals 3, Indians 2 Gregg Zaun’s solo home run with two outs in the eighth inning sent Kansas City over Cleveland on a rainy night at Kauffman Stadium.

Zaun connected off Steve Karsay for his seventh homer of the season, the ball barely clearing the glove of center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Devil Rays 3, Blue Jays 2 Tampa Bay ended its AL-high 10-game losing streak, holding off Toronto in the ninth inning at SkyDome.

Devil Rays rookie Toby Hall singled for his first major league hit and later homered. Greg Vaughn’s RBI single broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 1

Sidney Ponson pitched a four-hitter and Baltimore beat Boston at Fenway Park.

Angels 2, Rangers 1 Rookie Bengie Molina drove in one run and scored the other for Anaheim in its win at Texas.

Molina is batting .500 (16-for-32) in his last eight games.