Streak ends, but Sox trending upward

CHICAGO -- A blowout loss would have probably been easier on the Chicago White Sox than their 10-8 12-inning defeat to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The White Sox understood their win streak was eventually going to come to an end. They all do.

But when the White Sox’s nine-game streak was snapped Saturday, there was a real sense of disappointment in the clubhouse afterward; they understood just how attainable a 10th consecutive win was and they had let the game slip from their grasps.

Despite Saturday’s defeat, the White Sox have had a memorable few weeks and have apparently turned the corner on their season.

Here’s a quick glance back at the White Sox’s past few weeks:

• They celebrated and remembered the life of former White Sox pitcher and pre-game instructor Kevin Hickey, who passed away on May 16. His jersey hangs in the White Sox’s dugout during every game.

• The White Sox had won nine consecutive games until Saturday’s lose and have won 13 of their last 15 games.

• They went from being four games under .500 on May 16 to seven games over it.

• They went from third place and 4 ½ games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central to being in first place. Even if the Indians were to win Saturday, the White Sox would stay a 1/2 game ahead in the division.

• They hit 22 home runs and scored 80 runs in their last 10 games.

• They improved to 13-14 at home and 17-9 on the road. They were 7-13 at home on May 22.

Gordon Beckham came alive. He extended his hitting streak to nine games with three hits on Saturday. He has had 15 hits, three home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs in those nine games. His average has jumped from .197 on May 17 to .238 on Saturday.

Paul Konerko has cooled off a bit the past few games, but his average flew all the way up to .399 on May 27. His current .366 average is still ranks atop the American League. He also was hit in the eye by a pitch on May 18 and missed two games.

Adam Dunn homered five more times between May 19 and Saturday. He now has 17 home runs on the season.

Dayan Viciedo is 17-for-38 with five home runs, 14 RBIs and 11 runs over his last nine games. He was hitting .235 on May 23 and is now up to .282.

• They swept the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first time since 1999. They also swept the Indians and Tampa Bay Rays.

• Rookie Jose Quintana was solid in both of his starts replacing injured John Danks. He picked up his first major league win on May 25.

Addison Reed has secured the closer role. He had four saves between May 18 and Saturday.

A.J. Pierzynski has had 21 hits in his last 59 at-bats with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, 14 RBIs and 15 runs in his last 15 games. His average went from .257 to .291.

Alex Rios is 15-for-44 with three doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs and 12 runs in his last 10 games. He was batting .285 after Saturday’s game.

Alexei Ramirez had 10 hits and seven RBIs over his last seven games with four multi-hit efforts.

• There was of course a little off-the-field entertainment with White Sox television play-by-play commentator Ken “Hawk” Harrelson going off on umpire Mark Wegner after ejecting Quintana from Wednesday’s game.

All in all, White Sox manager Robin Ventura felt good about his team’s recent play.

“It’s been nice,” Ventura said after Saturday’s loss. “We’ve done a lot of good things, and you know we plan on continuing that. You can’t win every game. We’re in every game. That’s the good news. We plan on being in games from here on out, too.”