How much hotter can the White Sox get? And also how much more fortunate can they continue to be? The White Sox edged the Atlanta Braves 2-0 to complete their third straight sweep of a three game series(for the first time since 1952)while thye Minnesota Twins have remained ice cold,getting swept by the Brewers at Miller Park. The Sox are now just 2 1/2 games in back of Minnesota after trailing by 9 1/2 games on June 9.Of course Detroit is still between the Sox and Twins in the standings. A great pitchers duel between Gavin Floyd and Derek Lowe was scoreless for the seven innings both were in there and both got “no decisions” The bullpens took over in the 8th. J.J.Putz retired the Braves in order in the top of the 8th and Takashi Saito entered for the bottom of the eighth. Juan Pierre,who four years ago was struggling as a Cub, led off with a single just to the right of Atlanta 1B Eric Hinske. He was bunted to second by Alexi Ramirez and held on when Mark Kotsay flew out to Melky Cabrera down the LF line. Red hit Paul Konerko then sat on a fast ball and drilled it over 400 feet to left center as Grego Blanco never moved and the only runs were produced. Bobby Jenks had another 1-2-3 ninth for his 17 save.
NOTES—Attendance on a perfect day was 31,076…..The struggling Cubs are here over the weekend starting with Friday’s 3:05pm start. Jake Peavy(6-5)faces Carlos Zambrano(3-5)in the opener.
SEATTLE—Marlon Byrd caught himself mid-sentence. He wasn’t about to portray any doubt.”I’m hoping we’re going to put together a run. Actually, I’m not hoping. I know we’re going to put together a run before the All-Star break,” the Cubs center fielder said after driving in the tiebreaking run in the 13th inning of a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.It’s a refrain Cubs’ fans have heard for much of the subpar season. They can only hope Thursday’s victory and a weekend series against the rival White Sox can be the starting point for the run Byrd said he knows is coming.On an afternoon where both teams struggled to come up with a clutch hit, Byrd finally came through with a single off Seattle reliever Sean White to help avoid a sweep. Alfonso Soriano walked to lead off the 13th against Garrett Olson (0-2) and didn’t hesitate at third, scoring ahead of Ichiro Suzuki’s throw.While the Cubs were able to salvage a game against the equally underperforming Mariners, it’s the next 10 games that hold major importance. After facing the White Sox, the Cubs have seven straight at home.John Grabow (1-3) pitched two innings of relief for the win. He gave up just one hit in his first victory since May 24, 2009, for Pittsburgh, and the Cub bullpen tossed seven innings of relief, giving up just one run and six hits.Tom Gorzelanny got the final out of the 13th inning for his first career save.The Cubs victory snapped Seattle’s six-game winning streak and spoiled another stellar performance by young right-hander Felix Hernandez. But Seattle failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities to hand Hernandez his sixth win of the season.The Mariners left 13 runners on base and were 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position.Mike Fontenot drove in the Cubs first run with a sacrifice fly in the third and Chad Tracy gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the seventh with an RBI single.Jack Wilson hit an RBI double in the bottom half off reliever Andrew Cashner to tie it 2-all.It was the continuation of a strong month by Hernandez. Recovering from a 2-4 start to the season, Hernandez has now thrown at least eight innings on five of his last six outings. He tossed a complete game last Saturday against Cincinnati, giving up just one run and five hits.He nearly matched that on Thursday. Hernandez scattered five hits, struck out eight and allowed just the two runs.Closer David Aardsma came on for the 10th inning and immediately walked Tracy on four pitches. Pinch-runner Starlin Castro reached third with two outs, and Aardsma got Theriot to fly out to end the threat. Seattle missed on another great chance in the bottom half. Chone Figgins led off with a four-pitch walk from Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who got Suzuki for the final out of the ninth. Marmol walked Mike Sweeney, but recovered to get Jose Lopez swinging at strike three in the dirt for the first out. Figgins was then at the front end of a double steal and was called safe by third base umpire Mike Reilly on a close play. That brought Lou Piniella out of the Cubs dugout. Piniella barked at Reilly, taking off his hat and seeming on the verge of getting ejected before returning to the dugout.After Franklin Gutierrez was intentionally walked, Marmol struck out Josh Wilson and Eliezer Alfonzo, both on wicked sliders, to end the threat.Cubs starter Ted Lilly threw six strong innings, but his day was cut short by a high pitch count. Lilly surrendered just one run, five hits and struck out six.
NOTES—The Cubs are expected to activate Aramis Ramirez from the DL on Friday. Ramirez has been out with a left thumb injury…..Thursday’s matinee crowd of 41,329 was the third largest of the season for Seattle.
Sure, the White Sox had a six-game winning streak — against Pittsburgh and Washington. How would they do against the NL’s best? As it turned out, just fine.They roughed up one of baseball’s top young pitchers, Tommy Hanson, and rolled to a 9-6 victory Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves, who came in with a five-game winning streak and a 34-14 mark during the previous seven weeks.On June 8, the White Sox were 24-33 and 9½ games behind Minnesota in the AL Central. Now they are 35-34 and 4½ games back.The Sox had 13 of their season-high 16 hits during Hanson’s 3 2/3 innings. The first 10 were singles before Carlos Quentin’s three-run homer put the White Sox up 9-3 in the fourth. It was their first home run in nine games since Alex Rios went deep June 12.The White Sox are 11-2 against NL teams this season and 139-103 since interleague play began in 1997.Danks (7-5) spotted Atlanta a 3-0 lead before retiring 15 of the last 18 batters he faced to post his third consecutive victory.Hanson (7-4), meanwhile, surrendered a career-high nine runs as his four-game winning streak ended. He had been 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA against AL teams and had a string of 23 consecutive scoreless innings in interleague play before A.J. Pierzynski’s two-run single in the second.Hanson’s ERA rose from 3.38 to 4.17 and he didn’t record a strikeout for the first time in his two-year career. Not including Tuesday’s game and an eight-run blowup May 20 against Cincinnati, Hanson has a 2.56 ERA in 13 starts.Sox starters have a 2.16 ERA during the 11-1 surge. Danks seemed ready to break that string, giving up Martin Prado’ leadoff homer and Brooks Conrad’s two-run double in the second, but he retired the next 11 batters.The White Sox sent 10 men to the plate and scored five times in their half of the second on two-run singles by Pierzynski and Omar Vizquel and Rios’ RBI infield hit. Hanson threw 36 pitches in the inning.Alexei Ramirez’s third-inning single made it 6-3 before the White Sox broke it open in the fourth. Rios and Paul Konerko singled before Quentin’s homer — with Rios’ hit coming after Conrad, playing third base, momentarily lost the ball in his shirt.Konerko, Ramirez and Pierzynski had three singles apiece for the White Sox. Konerko is batting .429 over his last 19 games and Pierzynski .438 over his last nine.Brian McCann homered and Conrad had an RBI double in the ninth for the Braves, who had won 42 straight games when scoring five or more runs. Bobby Jenks got the final out for his 15th save.
NOTES—Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg already is a household name — except in Ozzie’s household. In downplaying his team’s recent sweep at Washington, Guillen said: “We only scored one run against the first guy, Starborough, or whatever his name is.”…..Jake Peavy has some shoulder pain but says he’ll make his scheduled start Friday against the Cubs.
SEATTLE—Franklin Gutierrez hit a home run to help send Seattle to its season-high fifth consecutive victory, 2-0 against the Cubs.The Mariners have scored 11 runs during their winning streak, their longest since winning six in a row April 9-15, 2009. Five of those runs came in one game.Who needs offense when you have pitching like this? Seattle has allowed two runs in the past five games, tying a team record set in September 2001 — a season in which the Mariners won an AL-record 116 games.Brandon League and David Aardsma finished the six-hitter. Aardsma, a Cub in 2006, walked Geovany Soto and allowed a single to Alfonso Soriano with two outs in the ninth. But the right-hander struck out Tyler Colvin swinging at a 96 mph fastball for his 16th save in 20 chances. Ryan Dempster (5-6) yielded five hits in his 11th career complete game and first since Sept. 29 for the Cubs.His problem was that he allowed a leadoff single to Jose Lopez in the second, then left over the plate a 91 mph fastball that was supposed to be inside. Gutierrez hammered that for his sixth home run of the season, and first since May 25.The Cubs lost for the third time in four games.The Cubs immediately got League in trouble in the eighth with a walk by Starlin Castro and a single by Ryan Theriot. But the ground-ball specialist got Marlon Byrd, who had two hits off Jason Vargas, to chop into a double play. Byrd punched the air in frustration.Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy then popped out, and the shutout stayed intact.Vargas (6-2) had seven strikeouts, one short of his career high, by using a new cut fastball and a faster pace. He’s learned both recently from Lee, who is just ahead of Vargas in ERA and will try to continue Seattle’s roll on Wednesday.The fastest pitch Vargas threw was 88 mph. But his location was exquisite — Jeff Baker watched that fastball for strike three on the inside corner to end the sixth.Soriano squandered an earlier prime chance. He doubled leading off the fifth. Then he rounded third unaware that left fielder Michael Saunders had drifted into left-center field to easily catch Colvin’s line drive. Saunders, who later said Soriano must have either thought he was positioned somewhere else or that there were two outs, walked halfway to second. He could have gone all the way for the unassisted double play but flipped the ball there instead.The owner of six All-Star appearances and a $136 million contract walked off the field looking bewildered. He remained that way in the dugout while talking to teammates.
NOTES—The many Cubs fans at Safeco Field booed Mariners slugger Milton Bradley each time he came to the plate. They loved it when he struck out twice. He also walked and flied out, dropping his average to .211. The Cubs traded Bradley for Carlos Silva only one failed season into his $30 million, three-year contract with the Cubs. … This was the Cubs’ first game in Seattle since 2002, and Piniella’s first in Seattle since 2005 when he was in his final season managing Tampa Bay.
Carlos Zambrano pitched seven strong innings, Derrek Lee drove in a season-high four runs and Geovany Soto homered Sunday to lead the Cubs to a 12-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.It was quite a turnaround for the Cubs, who had dropped six of nine and were coming off a 12-0 loss that left fans peppering them with well deserved boos.The Cubs matched a season-high with 18 hits after collecting two on Saturday, and they took advantage of some defensive lapses, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings and chasing Joe Saunders (5-8) in a four-run third that made it 8-0.Zambrano (3-5) had one of his better outings this season.He allowed one run and eight hits while striking out seven and walking one in his fourth start since his return from the bullpen. He also delivered two hits, including an RBI single in the third, as the Cubs avoided the weekend sweep.Lee had a sacrifice fly in the second, a two-run, bases-loaded double in the third and added an RBI single in the fifth, sending the Angels to their third road loss in 15 games.Soto hit the first pitch of the third into the left-field bleachers for his eighth homer and Zambrano made it 6-0 when he drove in Starlin Castro with a one-out single.The Cubs added to their lead after another misplay by shortstop Brandon Wood, who mishandled Jeff Baker’s hopper with two out. That loaded the bases for Lee, who capped the burst by lining a double to make it 8-0 and chase Saunders.The left-hander simply got battered, allowing nine hits while throwing 84 pitches in 2 2-3 innings in a rare poor performance away from home.He came in with a 4-1 road record this season, but it was clear from the start that this was not his day. Poor fielding simply compounded the problems.In the first, Alfonso Soriano beat out a slow roller with the bases loaded that second baseman Howie Kendrick barehanded before throwing wildly to first as two runs scored.In the second, Wood pitched in.He dropped the ball after fielding Ryan Theriot’s leadoff single behind second and made a questionable decision on Marlon Byrd’s one-out grounder. Rather than get the easy out at first, Wood double-clutched as he went to third and Theriot beat the throw.Baker then doubled to right, and Lee followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
NOTES—Lou Piniella said he “would think” 3B Aramis Ramirez will be ready to come off the disabled list when he’s eligible on Wednesday. Ramirez, out with an ailing left thumb, is rehabbing with Class A Peoria. … Cubs radio announcer Ron Santo will miss the three-game trip to Seattle that starts Tuesday and plans to cut back his travel schedule to the “Midwest only” next season. A diabetic, Santo fell ill during the previous trip, going to the hospital in Pittsburgh and coming home from Milwaukee after feeling sick again. … Angels manager Mike Scioscia said SS Erick Aybar (hyperextended left knee) had “a good workout” on Saturday, taking ground balls and running in the outfield, and will be reevaluated on Monday.
WASHINGTON—Paul Konerko drove in three runs, Freddy Garcia won his fifth straight start and the White Sox beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 Sunday for their season-high sixth victory in a row.The Nationals lost their season-worst sixth straight game.The White Sox went 8-1 on their road trip and reached .500 for the first time since they were 1-1 in early April. Alex Rios added three hits and two RBIs.Garcia (8-3) gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings. He struck out six, walked one and won for the first eighth time in nine starts.Matt Thornton worked the eighth and J.J. Putz got the final three outs for his first save.Down 3-1, the White Sox opened the fifth inning with six straight hits and chased John Lannan (2-6). Konerko put the Sox ahead with a two-run single.Konerko gave his team a 1-0 lead in the first with a two-out single that drove in Rios, who singled and stole second.Garcia didn’t allow a hit through three innings, fanning five, then ran into trouble in the fourth when the Nationals went ahead 3-1.Cristian Guzman led off with a triple and scored the tying run on Adam Dunn’s grounder. Guzman brushed home plate with his left hand, beating catcher Ramon Castro’s tag after Konerko’s throw.Josh Willingham’s single set up RBI singles by Roger Bernadina and Wil Nieves.The White Sox retook the lead in the fifth. After singles by Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez, Rios doubled to cut Washington’s lead to 3-2. Konerko followed with a two-run single up the middle, the Sox 11th hit.Miguel Batista relieved and Carlos Quentin and Castro singled before Dayan Viciedo hit into a run-scoring double play that made it 5-3.Rios drove in a ninth-inning insurance run.
NOTES—Nationals CF Nyjer Morgan made a nice running grab in right-center to rob Viciedo of an extra-base hit in his first major league at-bat in the second. Viciedo singled to center in the fourth and finished 1 for 4 in his debut. … Bernadina has hit safely in 14 of 17 June games. … Castro was credited with his second career stolen base — his first since 2005 — in the second when SS Ian Desmond couldn’t get C Nieves’ pickoff throw out of his glove, allowing Castro to reach third. The play was originally scored as an error by SS Desmond, but changed before the fifth inning.
It might be one of the most remarkable wins in Chicago Rush history. Playing without its starting quarterback, its top four receivers and one of its starting defensive linemen, the Rush overcame a 21-point second quarter deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Iron, 63-56, at Allstate Arena Saturday night.The victory moves the Rush (8-3) into sole possession of first place in the Midwest Division with five games to play in the regular season.
“There is no doubt tonight was one of the most rewarding victories in my coaching career,” said Rush head coach Mike Hohensee. “I’ve been saying all season that we have a special group of players here this year, and tonight’s performance should show everybody just what I’ve been talking about.”
Despite being shorthanded and starting slowly – ultimately falling behind 28-7 with just 5:46 left in the first half – the Rush kept battling. Over the next 16-plus minutes, the Rush went on a 35-14 run and eventually caught the Iron at 42-42 with 4:28 left in the third quarter. The teams traded touchdowns the rest of the way until Rush linebacker DeJuan Alfonzo made the team’s comeback complete when he intercepted a Chris Greisen pass in the end zone and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown with just 43 seconds remaining in the game. The score gave the Rush its only lead of the night.The defense then held Milwaukee again on the Iron’s final possession of the game, giving the Rush the victory.Rush QB J.J. Raterink, making his first career start for the Rush, was excellent, completing 26 of 37 passes for 296 yards and five touchdowns, without throwing an interception.Raterink spent the night throwing to a patchwork receiving corps, which included Travis LaTendresse, who flew in from Salt Lake City and arrived at Allstate Arena just two hours before kickoff, linebacker DeJuan Alfonzo, who moved to offense for the game, and Seyvelle Newton, who was just signed to the roster this week.Newton, led all Rush receivers with 10 receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while LaTendresse had seven catches for 89 yards and three TDs. Alfonzo added seven catches for 97 yards.In addition to playing every snap on offense, Alfonzo also played the entire second half on defense, making his final interception return even more remarkable.With 1:07 left in the second quarter and the Rush offense struggling, Greisen connected with Tiger Jones to put the Iron up 35-14. The Iron looked well on their way to dismantling the depleted Rush squad.The Rush responded as Raterink connected with Newton on a 21-yard score that sent the two teams into the half with the score 35-21.The Rush received the ball to start the third quarter, and after a wild Chris Martin return gave Chicago excellent field position, Robert Boss rumbled in from two yards out, shrinking the Iron lead to seven, 35-28.But Milwaukee responded quickly, as Greisen connected with Nate Forse for a 34-yard score that put the Iron back up two TDs. After Alfonzo rumbled into the endzone from two yards out to make the score 42-35, it was time for Chicago’s defense to step up.On second and 10 from the Milwaukee 20, defensive back Chris Martin came up with an acrobatic interception that gave the Rush the ball back and a chance to tie the game.The Rush did just that.On first and ten from the Milwaukee 18-yard line, Raterink and LaTendresse hooked up for the third time, tying the game for the first time at 42-42.After the teams traded scores, Greisen connected with former Rush WR Damian Harrell on a 17-yard score that put the Iron on top 56-49.The Rush responded with a score of its own as Raterink connected with Newton for Newton’s second touchdown of the game, tying the game at 56-56 and setting the stage for the game’s final thrilling minutes.
WASHINGTON—Jake Peavy mixed speeds, kept Washington hitters guessing and continued an impressive roll by White Sox starting pitchers.Peavy pitched a three-hitter for his fourth career shutout and the White Sox beat the Nationals 1-0 on Saturday for their season-high fifth straight victory. Peavy’s effort extended a dominant stretch by the White Sox rotation, which is 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA in its last 11 starts.Peavy (6-5), whose scheduled start Thursday was pushed back two days because of an achy right shoulder, walked two and struck out seven as the White Sox moved within a game of .500 (33-34) for the first time since April 14, when they were 4-5.The right-hander, who is 6-1 in his last seven starts against NL clubs, worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the first and retired 20 Nationals in a row after Roger Bernadina’s second-inning single. His previous shutout was Aug. 23, 2005, a 2-0 win for San Diego over Houston.Carlos Quentin’s RBI single in the fourth sent the Nationals to their season-worst sixth consecutive defeat. The Sox have won nine of 10 overall.Nyjer Morgan drew a leadoff walk in the Washington ninth and moved to second on Cristian Guzman’s sacrifice bunt. Peavy then struck out Ryan Zimmerman looking and intentionally walked Adam Dunn before getting Josh Willingham on a popup to second.Ozzie Guillen made a visit to the mound before Peavy faced Dunn in the ninth with the tying run at second, but it lasted only seconds. Dunn was 5 for 28 with two homers against the right-hander.Washington has scored once in 20 innings over two games against the Sox, a trend Zimmerman said has to be reversed.Washington starter J.D. Martin scattered eight hits over six innings but remained winless in seven starts since his last victory on Sept. 18, 2009. Martin (0-3) walked none and struck out a career-best six.The Sox improved to 9-2 in interleague play this season, while the Nationals fell to 3-8.Omar Vizquel led off the fourth with a bloop single to center. He went to second on Mark Kotsay’s groundout and scored when Quentin laced a two-out single to left.After making a pitching change in the eighth, Riggleman was ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook for arguing balls and strikes.
NOTES—Zimmerman struck out a season-high four times on a day when the Nationals distributed 15,000 bobblehead likenesses of him…..Vizquel played his 99th straight errorless game. He hasn’t made an error since Sept. 14, 2008. Vizquel is not scheduled to play on Sunday when Guillen is expected to give Dayan Viciedo, who was recalled Friday from Triple-A Charlotte, his first major league start…..The White Sox are the only team in the majors with a winning record (17-16) on the road, but a losing record at home (15-18)…..The Sox have not homered in seven games, its longest skid since April 17-25, 1993, an eight-game drought.