White Sox swept by Yankees

Even with Paul Konerko back in the lineup, the Chicago White Sox fell flat.

The punchless White Sox struggled against Ivan Nova in Konerko's return as the New York Yankees beat the White Sox 7-2 on Thursday night, completing a four-game sweep and prolonging Chicago's six-game slide.

"We just got killed for four games," Konerko said. "The first game was a good game. Going back to the Boston series, the last two were tough, too."

Konerko had two hits in four at-bats serving as designated hitter. He had missed three straight games after being hit in the leg by a pitch on Sunday against the Red Sox.

"Hitting-wise I felt not bad. I felt maybe 80 or 90 percent. Definitely, for the most part, could do what I wanted to do," the White Sox captain said. "Running killed. I would have thought it would be the other way around. I'm glad it is what it is instead of hurting as much if it was the reverse of that. Running laterally was really painful. Just keep working to get that out, that's all you can do."

Konerko said he still isn't ready to play in the field.

Ivan Nova struck out a career-high 10 to pace the Yankees, who won their seventh straight game.

"He didn't give us much to hit," said Adam Dunn, who homered off reliever Hector Noesi with two outs in the ninth. "He wasn't leaving (his fastball) in the middle of the plate and he had a really good curveball and a really good slider tonight."

With the Detroit Tigers losing, the White Sox remain 6½ games off the pace in the AL Central. The White Sox head to Minnesota to face a team that has beaten them seven out of eight meetings this year.

Phil Humber (8-8) lost his fourth straight start. He went 6 1-3 innings, allowing five hits and four runs.

Entering the game, the players currently on the Yankees' roster came into the game a combined 0 for 18 lifetime against Humber. He retired the first four batters on Thursday before Cano came up in the second.

With one out, Cano lined the first pitch he saw into the bullpen in left for the first run of the game. It was Cano's 18th homer of the season and second in as many games after he had gone 14 games without one.

"That was a good pitch, that guy's out of this world, especially right now," Humber said. "He's so locked in, so balanced, the swings he took this series — pretty impressive.

"That pitch right there was on the corner, maybe an inch or two above the knees and just to flick it out of the park like that is pretty impressive. Their whole lineup right now is hot, it's definitely a tough one to go through."

The Yankees moved into a tie with Boston for the AL East lead. The teams begin a three-game series at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Russell Martin hit a three-run homer in the ninth to break open the game. He drove in four runs.

Nova (10-4) pitched 7 2-3 innings and won his sixth consecutive decision. He held Chicago to one run and six hits and didn't walk a batter.

"That might be as good as we've seen him all year," Yankees manager Joe Giradi said. "He was excellent tonight. His slider, again, made a huge difference for him."

The White Sox have lost six straight games after getting to the .500 mark and drawing within three games of the division lead last Friday.

Chicago absorbed its first four-game sweep at home since losing four straight to Boston from Aug 23-26, 2007. The last time the White Sox were swept at home in a four-game set against New York was June 17-20, 1976.

Notes: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Konerko would be limited to designated hitter duty for a few days. ... RHP Bartolo Colon will start for the Yankees in the series opener against LHP Jon Lester. New York is 454-458 all-time at Fenway. However, the Yankees are 1-8 vs. Boston this season and have lost seven straight at Fenway. Colon lost both his starts against the Red Sox this season. ... LHP Mark Buehrle gets the call for the White Sox in their opener at Minnesota in a key series for two teams scrambling to stay in the AL Central race. The Twins have won 29 of their last 36 against Chicago. ... Buehrle has posted a 2.03 ERA over his last eight starts but is just 2-1 over that stretch. He has allowed three runs or less in 16 straight starts. ... White Sox speedster Juan Pierre was thrown out stealing in the sixth. He's just 16 for 29 on the basepaths this season.