Polanco 2 run double ruins Cubs comeback.

PHILADELPHIA—Placido Polanco saved a few runs with his sparkling defense. Then when the Philadelphia Phillies needed a clutch hit, the Gold Glove third baseman delivered. Polanco hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning to lift the Phillies to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs on Monday night.Bryan LaHair hit a tying, two-run homer off Chad Qualls (1-0) in the eighth after Vance Worley threw seven impressive innings for Philadelphia.But the Phillies answered in the bottom half. Scott Maine (0-1) hit pinch-hitter Juan Pierre with a one-out pitch and Jimmy Rollins singled off Rafael Dolis with two outs. Polanco, who had just two RBIs in his first 71 at-bats, drove in two with a hard liner to the wall in left.

“It’s a good feeling, especially when you win,” Polanco said. “The last four, five games, I’ve been feeling pretty good.”

Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his eighth save in as many tries, giving Philadelphia a split of the four-game series.The five-time defending NL East champion Phillies finished April at 11-12, their first losing record in a full month since going 11-15 in June 2009. The bright side for the Phillies: They were only 12-10 in April 2010 and went on to win a major league-best 97 games.

“We’ve had rough Aprils before,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re close. Our pitching is there. We have to improve our defense mentally and our timely hitting.”

Worley allowed one run and five hits, striking out five. He left with a 4-1 lead, but the bullpen blew it. Antonio Bastardo started the eighth and got one out before walking Tony Campana. Qualls came in and allowed an RBI single to Starlin Castro after Campana stole second. LaHair then ripped a two-run shot to right-center for his fifth homer.

“It’s good to get off to a good start,” LaHair said. “I’m just trying to be consistent with every at-bat.”

Worley lowered his ERA to 1.97, third-best among Philadelphia’s starters. Roy Halladay’s is 1.95 and Cliff Lee’s is 1.96.Often overlooked on a staff filled with aces, Worley was 11-3 as a rookie last season and has been even better this year. He’s allowed two runs in 20 innings in his last three starts. Cubs starter Chris Volstad gave up four runs — all in the first — and eight hits in six innings to remain winless since July 10, 2011. He is 0-8 in 16 starts since his last win when he was with the Marlins.Rollins got the Phillies started with a drag bunt single leading off the first. After Shane Victorino reached on a one-out infield single, Hunter Pence hit an RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead. A two-out walk to Laynce Nix loaded the bases and Carlos Ruiz followed with a two-run single to right. Pete Orr’s RBI single made it 4-0. The Phillies helped Worley with nifty defense by shortstop Rollins and Polanco on consecutive plays in the third.Worley pitched out of trouble in the fourth and fifth, leaving runners at second and third in both innings.Another defensive gem by Polanco helped prevent a big inning in the seventh. The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and Geovany Soto hit a hard grounder down the line, but Polanco made a backhanded grab on an in-between hop, stepped on third and threw to first to complete the double play. A run scored to cut the deficit to 4-1.

NOTES—Cliff Lee will not be activated from the disabled list when he’s eligible to come off Friday. He has been sidelined with a strained left oblique. He could return next week….An error by Soto at catcher snapped the Cubs four-game streak without one…..The Cubs haven’t won a series in Philadelphia since 2001 at the old Veterans Stadium….A crowd of 45,397 was the 230th consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason games…..Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 4.13) opposes Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 2.70) when the Cubs open a three-game set at Cincinnati on Tuesday.

Floyd hold BoSox hitless into 7th, then holds on to avoid sweep

After Gavin Floyd retired the first 14 Red Sox batters, he couldn’t help it. He was definitely thinking about the perfect game Phil Humber pitched last weekend.Floyd took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and the White Sox beat Boston 4-1 on Sunday.Floyd (2-3) struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings, yielding one run and three hits. He improved to 7-0 with a 3.21 ERA in nine career appearances against Boston, helping the White Sox stop a five-game losing streak.Floyd started out well just eight days after Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in major league history. Cody Ross walked with two outs in the fifth for Boston’s first base runner, but Floyd struck out Nick Punto to end the inning. Dustin Pedroia singled with one out in the seventh for Boston’s first hit of the game. Cody Ross had an RBI single for the Red Sox, who had won six straight.Dunn helped the White Sox get off to a fast start, belting a two-run shot to right in the first off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett for his first homer at U.S. Cellular Field since Aug. 4 against the Yankees. Dunn’s fifth homer of the season drove in Alex Rios, who put the White Sox in front with an RBI single.Beckett (2-3) settled down after the rough opening inning, shutting down the White Sox until he left with two out in the seventh. He struck out eight and allowed six hits while matching a career high with 126 pitches.Boston finally got on the board in the seventh. Pedroia’s liner got past second baseman Eduardo Escobar’s diving attempt. He moved up on David Ortiz’s two-out double and scored on Ross’ hit.Addison Reed then came in and got Punto to ground out, stranding Ortiz at third. Reed also got the first two outs of the eighth before Matt Thornton finished for his first save of the season. Thornton retired Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz to finish the game in the ninth.White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided to go with Thornton in the ninth as opposed to closer Hector Santiago.

NOTES—Paul Konerko missed the game with a stiff neck. He is day to day….Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis was a late scratch due to tightness in his lower left back….Dunn finished with five homers in April after hitting 11 all of last season…..The only time the Red Sox swept a road trip of seven or more games came in 1977 when they went 9-0 from July 29-Aug. 8, 1977…..Floyd had a near no-hitter against Minnesota on May 6, 2008. Joe Mauer broke up the bid with one out in the ninth…..Beckett last threw 126 pitches for the Marlins against the Houston Astros on May 20, 2004….Dayan Viciedo added an RBI single in the eighth.

Cubs beat Phils behind Garza

PHILADELPHIA—Matt Garza executed his plan to near perfection.Garza pitched one-hit ball for seven shutout innings and struck out 10 Sunday as the Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1. Garza (2-1) gave up a pop-fly single to Jimmy Rollins leading off and retired 20 of the next 21 batters. Juan Pierre’s seventh-inning walk was the only other baserunner.After reliever Rafael Dolis pitched a perfect eighth, Cubs closer Carlos Marmol was shaky in the ninth. Marmol walked a pair and Hunter Pence’s infield single with two outs loaded the bases. Marmol then walked Ty Wigginton to force home a run before getting Shane Victorino on a game-ending groundout. Besides Rollins’ single, the Phillies didn’t have anything even close to a hit off Garza, who was lifted after 103 pitches. Joe Mather homered and Bryan LaHair doubled twice for the Cubs. Jeff Baker and Tony Campana each added two hits. Mather’s homer was the first by a Cubs outfielder this season.Kyle Kendrick (0-2), making his second start in place of injured left-hander Cliff Lee, allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings. He matched his career high with seven strikeouts. Once again, the Phillies’ short-handed offense wasn’t able to provide much run support for its starters. Philadelphia has scored two runs or less in 12 of 22 games this season.The five-time defending NL East champion Phillies are playing without injured All-Stars Ryan Howard (Achilles’) and Chase Utley (knee), and the hitters may be pressing some in their absence. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second on Ian Stewart’s groundout that scored LaHair. The Cubs could have tallied more, with runners on second and third with one out, but Kendrick struck out Welington Castillo and Garza to escape further trouble.The Cubs tacked on a run in the third, thanks to the speed of Campana. After he singled, Campana went to second when Nix failed to catch Kendrick’s throw on a pickoff attempt, then to third on Darwin Barney’s groundout.Campana scored on Starlin Castro’s fly ball to medium right field, just beating the strong throw of Pence. Manuel came out to argue the safe call of plate umpire Bill Miller, but replays appeared to confirm the call was correct. Mather’s line-drive homer to left with two outs in the fourth put the Cubs up 3-0. Campana’s speed showed up again in the eighth when he reached on an infield single, stole second went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Castro’s grounder that didn’t even reach the infield dirt.

NOTES—The crowd of 45,550 was Phillies’ 229th straight sellout, including the postseason…..Wigginton went 0 for 3, ending his 13-game hitting streak…..Garza has pitched eight complete games and three shutouts in 154 career starts, including a no-hitter on July 26, 2010 as a member of Tampa Bay against Detroit.

Peavy great again, but Lester even better as BoSox win another from White Sox, 1-0

Jon Lester outdueled Jake Peavy on Saturday night, lifting the Boston Red Sox to 1-0 win over the White Sox for their sixth straight win.Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI single in the fourth as Lester (1-2) picked up his first win of the season. Lester snapped a career-worst streak of losing five straight decisions and going eight starts without a win dating to Sept. 11 of last season. He gave up five hits and one walk, striking out seven.The Red Sox evened their record at 10-10 just a week after a 15-9 loss the Yankees in which they blew a nine-run lead. That prompted Valentine to declare that his team had “hit bottom.”  Peavy (3-1) failed in his bid to win a fourth straight start for the first time with the White Sox, but threw a complete game for a second consecutive outing for the first time in his career. Peavy hasn’t had more than one complete game in a season since 2006, when he was with San Diego.

“I’m giving you all I got,” Peavy said. “That’s a great team across the way, as you see when Jon Lester puts it all together, he’s mighty tough. I wish I could have done a little more to keep that run off the board and give us a chance.”

Peavy shut out Oakland on Monday in his last start, a 4-0 win over the Athletics in which he faced four batters over the minimum. He lowered his ERA to 1.67, limiting Boston to four hits, and struck out seven while retiring the last 12 batters he faced.

“Jake’s been pitching like that for us all year,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Again, it’s unfair for you to expect that out of him every time he goes out, but he just continues to impress and pitch brilliantly.”

Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla held the White Sox scoreless in the eighth. For Morales, it was his 22nd straight scoreless road outing, most ever by a Boston left-hander.Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.Lester had allowed 12 runs over his previous two starts.Ryan Sweeney hit a bloop double leading off the fourth, the ball falling in after White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham made a diving attempt for it near the right field line. One batter later, Gonzalez lined a single up the middle to score Sweeney.The run ended Peavy’s string of 17 straight scoreless innings.Paul Konerko doubled twice and walked, and now has six multihit games over his last eight outings, but it wasn’t enough as the White Sox lost their season-high fifth straight.By winning the low-scoring contest, the win was a departure from the rest of Boston’s streak. The Red Sox scored 44 runs over the first five games of the spree.

NOTES—In his second rehab start, Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (Tommy John surgery) struck out seven batters in 4 2-3 innings for Double-A Portland. He gave up one run on three hits and walked two….Konerko’s two hits tied him with Eddie Collins for fourth place in White Sox history with 2,007.

Big inning too much for Wells and Cubs to overcome against Phils

PHILADELPHIA—Carlos Ruiz homered and drove in three runs, Joe Blanton threw 7 1/3 sharp innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cubs 5-2 on Saturday night.Jimmy Rollins, back in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, added a two-run double for the Phillies, the five-time defending NL East champions who are off to a 10-11 start.Does that mean Rollins will stay atop the lineup? Pierre has been leading off for the Phillies and has been one of the few bright spots for a slumping offense. Pierre is hitting .333.Whatever the batting order, pitching performances like Blanton’s will help the Phillies win plenty of games.Blanton (2-3) allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out eight. Chad Qualls got the last two outs in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his seventh save in as many tries.Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double and Randy Wells (0-1) couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Wells gave up four runs and three hits in 3 2-3 innings. He was hurt by wildness, walking four batters.

“In the fourth inning, I was trying to be too fine,” Wells said. “Walks will kill you.”

Wells didn’t allow a hit until Hunter Pence led off the fourth with a single. Walks to Jim Thome and Laynce Nix loaded the bases. Ruiz then ripped a one-out, two-run single to left-center to drive in two for a 2-1 lead.With two outs, Wells walked Blanton to reload the bases. Rollins followed with a two-run double just inside the right-field line to snap an 0-for-13 slump and put the Phillies up 4-1.Rollins was in his customary leadoff spot after hitting third in place of the injured Chase Utley the first 20 games. Rollins had just three RBIs coming in.Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, also spent the first month last season in the No. 3 spot while Utley was sidelined. Over the past two Aprils, Rollins has a .254 (45 for 177) average with one homer and eight RBIs as the three-hole hitter.Ruiz connected off Michael Bowden in the sixth to make it 5-1.The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Starlin Castro hit a two-out single, stole second and scored on LaHair’s drive to right.Thome, who started at first base and hit cleanup, left the game with tightness in his lower back. He’s day to day.Meanwhile, the Phillies got some good news before the game. Ryan Howard will be heading to Clearwater on Sunday and Utley could join him within a week as the two injured stars inch closer toward joining the team for the first time this season.

NOTES—Yhe Cubs placed C Steve Clevenger on the 15-day DL (retroactive to April 26) with a right oblique strain, and recalled C Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa….Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins threw out the first pitch, a one-hopper that Rollins picked cleanly. Dawkins retired earlier this week after 16 seasons in the NFL, the first 13 with Philadelphia and last three in Denver. The Eagles announced they will retire his No. 20 in an emotional news conference Saturday morning….Phillies LHP Cliff Lee had a catch before the game. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Lee has to be “pain-free” to throw a bullpen session. Lee is on the DL with a strained left oblique….A crowd of 45,196 was the 228th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.

Bulls win Playoff opener,but Rose tears MCL, done for the season.

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above headPosted ImageRose for mini (Getty Images)

Derrick Rose was playing like an MVP again, and then, he was writhing on the floor, clutching his left knee. Just like that, a big cloud formed over the Bulls. Rose will miss the rest of the Playoffs after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee late in the 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Saturday’s playoff opener, casting big cloud over a team eyeing a championship run.He scored 23 points and was playing more like the league’s reigning MVP after missing 27 games because of injuries during the regular season, but his injury-plagued season came to an end as the Bulls were wrapping up an impressive victory.Rose crumbled to the ground after he drove the lane with about 1:20 left and the Bulls leading by 12. He was going for a layup when he came to a jump-stop and seemed to change his mind as the 76ers’ Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen rotated over, passing off to a teammate before an awkward landing.Team medical personnel immediately rushed out and tended to Rose for several minutes as he was writhing in pain near the baseline before helping him to the locker room. Rose was taken to the hospital, and coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t sure of the extent of the injury.Asked why Rose was still in the game, Thibodeau pointed out that Philadelphia was making a run. Rose checked back in with just under eight minutes left and the lead got as high as 20 shortly after that before the Sixers made another push.

“I don’t work backward like you guys do,” Thibodeau said. “The score was going the other way.”

Veteran guard Richard Hamilton defended the decision, saying, “Philly was making a run. In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence. … When you have a team down, you have to try to keep them down. They made a little run so we needed guys that could put the ball in the basket.”

Sixers coach Doug Collins also had Thibodeau’s back.

“He knows what he’s doing coaching his team,” Collins said. “Thibs is my buddy. I have the ultimate respect for him. From his standpoint he wanted to finish that game for what he did. It’s awful that Derrick got hurt.”

Losing Rose is obviously be a huge blow for a team that made the conference finals last season and captured the top overall seed for the second straight year.He was finally performing more like the reigning MVP after missing 27 games during the regular season with various injuries and mostly struggling the few times he did play late in the regular season.He found his touch after a slow start in this game and also contributed nine rebounds and nine assists. Hamilton added 19 points, Luol Deng scored 17 and Joakim Noah (12 points, 13 rebounds) had a double-double for the Bulls.Elton Brand led Philadelphia with 19 points. Jrue Holiday scored 16, and Thaddeus Young had 13 points. Chicago product Evan Turner scored 12 and was booed mercilessly after acknowledging he thought the Miami Heat would be a tougher first-round matchup.Well, he might be right if Rose can’t make it back.The Bulls simply overwhelmed the Sixers and looked like a team gearing up for another big run after losing to Miami in the conference finals last season. They earned home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight year and sure looked like a championship contender in this one, right until the end.Rose’s injury sent a major chill through the arena. The Bulls were 18-9 without him this season, but they know they need their star if they’re going to make a run at the title.

“Your heart goes out to him,” Kyle Korver said. “It’s been a hard year. With all the work that he puts in and the kind of person he is, to see this happen stinks. It’s a sad win.”

Young felt for Rose, too.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “You don’t want to see him go down like that in the first game of the first round of the playoffs.”

Rose hit just 1 of 7 shots in the first quarter but went on a tear late in the second as the Bulls took a 53-42 lead to the locker room. He then scored eight in the third and hit two 3-pointers to help the Bulls stay in control, even though things did get a little heated.That happened when Noah got fouled by Turner trying to put back Deng’s miss with 4:36 left in the quarter. Hamilton started jawing with Turner. Rose and Brand got involved, too.Fans, meanwhile, started chanting “MVP! MVP!” in a nod to the rivalry between Rose and Turner that dates to their high school days. When the dust cleared, Hamilton, Brand and Rose all got technicals, and Noah hit 1 of 2 foul shots to make it 69-55.Hamilton added two more free throws on the next possession to boost the lead to 16. After the Sixers pulled within eight, Korver nailed a 3 to start a 12-2 run that stretched into the fourth and made it 84-66. But once again, the big question now is Rose’s health.

“He’s had a lot of injuries this year,” Thibodeau said. “It’s been unfortunate. But we do have more than enough to win with. Whatever the circumstances are, we’ll deal with it.”

NOTES—The Sixers’ Lavoy Allen sprained his right thumb but is expected to play Tuesday…..This is the third playoff series between the Bulls and Philadelphia, with the Bulls beating the Sixers in the 1990 and 1991 conference semifinals 4-1…..The Bulls took two of three from Philadelphia in the regular season…..The Sixers have dropped five straight playoff series…..Collins never earned a championship ring when he coached the Bulls. He does have some jewelry, though. “Jerry has given me six championship watches,” he said of owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Collins coached the Bulls before their championship run in the 1990s.

Rush let one slip away by a point in Alamo City

Chicago Sky

SAN ANTONIO—The Rush (5-2) displayed the epitome of a team game Saturday afternoon, but gave up the lead with 1:22 left and lost 56-55 to the San Antonio Talons (4-3) at the Alamodome.On the final offensive drive, quarterback Russ Michna (25-33, 255 yards, 4 TD) drove the team down to the San Antonio 13-yard line with seven seconds left. A decision to run one final offensive play ended up being a costly gamble as Michna was flushed out of the pocket and couldn’t get out of bounds before time expired.

“Our game plan was to run one final offensive play and then have Mike (Salerno) get in there and kick it if we didn’t score,” said Head Coach Bob McMillen, “The (San Antonio) pass rush forced Russ to improvise and he did the best he could given the situation.”

Rush kicker Mike Salerno set up the opportunity for the Talons to gain their first lead of the game by missing an extra point after JLB Kelvin Morris (2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD) returned an interception for a touchdown with 6:03 left in the fourth quarter. San Antonio quarterback Aaron Garcia (23-32, 219 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT) would drive the Talons 39 yards in five plays and hit WR Burl Toler for a 13-yard touchdown pass, allowing kicker Marc Demos to play hero and drive home the winning point.It was a disappointing ending to an effort that saw six different receivers catch passes, five players score touchdowns and fullback J.J. Payne (46 total yards, 1 TD) use his longest rush of the year to put the Rush up right away in the first quarter.Talons quarterback Aaron Garcia was as good as advertised, but two uncharacteristic second quarter possessions provided the Rush with their largest advantage of the afternoon. The first turnover had defensive back Semaj Moody cutting in front of the intended receiver for his first interception on the season. The second Garcia turnover was a fumbled snap recovered by JLB Kelvin Morris at the Talons 1-yard line. Those two mistakes led to Chicago holding 14-point leads on two separate occasions, before a third touchdown reception by Talons WR Derek Lee allowed San Antonio to pull the game to 35-28 at halftime.Twenty-four combined penalties aided the extension of many drives for San Antonio and the Rush. The longer the game stayed within one score, the less tolerant both teams became as unsportsmanlike conduct penalties littered the afternoon. Chicago wide receiver Terrance Turner built on his success from last week, hauling in ten passes for 95 yards, but was denied a touchdown. His batterymate Reggie Gray (4 catches, 27 yards, 2 TD) climbed to within two receiving touchdowns and one all-purpose touchdown of the Rush franchise records. Both touchdown receptions had Gray showing off his grittiness, with the first having him tackled over the wall and the second seeing him gauntlet his way through four Talon defenders.Rush defensive lineman Xavier Brown and Jeffrey Fitzgerald tallied sacks of Aaron Garcia, while backup quarterback Luke Drone recorded two rushing touchdowns.The loss drops the Rush’s Central Division lead to one, making their match up with rival Iowa all the more crucial. The two rivals will square off at Allstate Arena May 6th at 3:00 p.m.

Wolves season ends with 2OT loss to S.Antonio

ROSEMONT—The Wolves rallied to tie the score with 1:08 remaining in the third period, but the San Antonio Rampage posted the series-winning goal in double overtime in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Friday night at the Allstate Arena.San Antonio (3-2) grabbed the game-winner at 5:28 of double overtime. The Rampage won a board battle and the puck squirted to center Jon Matsumoto, who walked in on Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack and fed defenseman Roman Derlyuk back door. Derlyuk snapped home the game-winner into an empty net to lift San Antonio to a 3-games-to-2 series win.

“We dug ourselves into a pretty big hole, tonight and earlier in the series,” said Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish. “We fought back hard to get to overtime. But in overtime, it is usually someone making a play to get a goal and they were able to convert on one of theirs.”

Trailing 2-0 midway through the third period, third-seeded Chicago (2-3) cut its deficit to 2-1 at 10:34. Defenseman Brad Hunt controlled the puck behind the net, walked to the bottom of the far circle and snapped a shot on net that crept through the post and Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom’s pads and dropped over the goal line.The Wolves tied the score at 2-2 with 1:08 remaining in regulation. With Lack on the bench for the extra attacker, right wing Darren Haydar’s shot from the near circle went off the leg of a Rampage defender and up over Markstrom’s shoulder.Markstrom (3-0) posted 37 saves in regulation and overtime.After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, San Antonio opened scoring on the power play 7:23 into the second period. Defenseman Colby Robak’s shot from the top of the far circle was tipped in front by left wing Evan Barlow and through Lack’s legs.The Rampage doubled their lead when center James Wright walked the puck through the far circle and slipped a pass across the crease to Mark Cullen, who fired a shot over Lack’s outstretched glove at 8:00 of the third.Lack (2-2) thwarted 34 of 37 shots in regulation and overtime.

Boston pounds White Sox again, this time 10-3

Darnell McDonald hit a tiebreaking three-run double and homered to help Boston rally to beat the White Sox 10-3 on Friday night.David Ortiz hit a two-run shot for the Red Sox, who are 5-0 since blowing a 9-0 lead against the New York Yankees on Saturday for their fifth straight loss. Ross said he and his teammates agreed with Valentine’s assessment, and getting away from Fenway Park for a seven-game road trip came at a perfect time. After Paul Konerko’s home run in the fifth gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead, the Red Sox responded with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by McDonald’s bases-clearing double.Boston starter Daniel Bard (2-2) took advantage of the run support and threw seven strong innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. He struck out six and walked one. Before Friday, Bard was only backed by two total runs in 12 1-3 innings.
White Sox starter John Danks (2-3) struggled in his fifth start of the season. He allowed seven runs on six hits in 5 2-3 innings. Chicago has lost four straight.

“They hit mistakes. That’s plain and simple. I was trying to make pitches, didn’t, and they hit them. That’s the story of the game,” said Danks.

Danks was unable to hold a lead in the sixth inning.He issued back-to-back walks to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. Ortiz then loaded the bases with a single and Ross followed with an RBI single to tie the game. With two outs and the bases still loaded, McDonald lined a double down the left-field line. Marlon Byrd ended Danks’ night with an RBI single to put the Red Sox ahead 7-3.The game was played in cold and windy conditions. The temperature at first pitch was 39 degrees, but it didn’t slow the Red Sox hitters. They have hit 12 homers and scored 53 runs over the last six games.

“It’s the best [offense] we’ve seen. You look up and down that lineup, the way they work counts in the middle part there. John walks the first two guys and that’s the stuff that happens with good lineups like that,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura.Trailing 1-0 in the second inning, Youkilis drew a leadoff walk then Ortiz followed with a two-run shot to right. It was Ortiz’s fourth homer of the season and 382nd of his career. He is tied with former Red Sox great Jim Rice and Frank Howard for 59th on the career list.

“He is swinging the bat really well. Playing with a great deal of confidence and enjoying what he is doing,” said Valentine. “He is just locked in.”

Alejandro De Aza led off the first inning with a double down the left-field line. Two outs later, A.J. Pierzynski doubled off the left-field wall to score De Aza.In the third inning, Alexei Ramirez reached on Youkilis’ throwing error and advanced to second on Konerko’s bloop single. With two outs, Ramirez came across to score on a passed ball by catcher Kelly Shoppach.Ross and Shoppach had back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh inning to extend the Boston lead to 9-3.McDonald homered in the ninth.

NOTES—Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for Moose Skowron. Skowron, a five-time World Series champion, died Friday of congestive heart failure at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. He was 81. Skowron helped the New York Yankees win four titles in the 1950s and 1960s. Skowron grew up on Chicago’s North Side and he played three seasons (1964-67) with the White Sox….The White Sox placed reliever Jesse Crain on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique and recalled RHP Dylan Axelrod from Triple-A Charlotte….The Red Sox activated LHP Rich Hill from the 15-day disabled list and optioned reliever Justin Thompson to Triple-A Pawtucket. Hill underwent Tommy John surgery last season….    The Red Sox will honor retired knuckleballer Tim Wakefield at Fenway Park with a pregame ceremony on May 15.

Cubs continue to own Halladay, beat Phils 5-1

PHILADELPHIA — Paul Maholm pitched 6 1-3 solid innings, Starlin Castro had two hits and an RBI, and the Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 Friday night.Maholm (2-2) allowed a run on five hits with a strikeout and no walks, dropping his ERA from 8.36 to 6.20. And the speedy Campana had two hits on balls that didn’t leave the infield and scored twice for the Cubs.

“He had really good command of his fastball, but the biggest thing was when he needed the curveball he really had it,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Maholm. “He did a great job.”

A left-hander who doesn’t overpower hitters, Maholm worked out of a first-and-third, no-out jam in the first inning and cruised from there.Ty Wigginton homered for Philadelphia, which has scored two runs or less in 11 of 20 games this season.Halladay (3-2) was unhittable at the start, retiring 10 straight batters with four strikeouts, but surrendered three runs on six hits in a three-inning stretch to fall to 1-5 lifetime against the Cubs. He allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.Rafael Dolis pitched two scoreless innings for his first major-league save.The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Campana led off and got the Cubs’ first hit on a bunt, sliding safely into first and just beating the tag of Wigginton. After stealing second, Campana scored on Castro’s bloop single to center.

“That’s obviously a specialty,” Halladay said of Campana’s speed. “You just hope he hits the ball in the air somewhere and they catch it.”

The Cubs scored two more runs in the sixth on RBIs by Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart. Chicago went ahead 2-0 on Soriano’s single to left that scored Campana, who led off with his second straight infield single. Stewart doubled to right to drive home Bryan LaHair, who had singled, for a 3-0 cushion.The inning ended with a blunder by Soriano, who was caught flat-footed in between third and home on Darwin Barney’s groundout that resulted in a rare 1-3-2 double play.But the three-run lead was more than enough for Maholm.

“I just went in knowing that I had to throw well because obviously [Halladay’s] not going to give up a ton,” Maholm said.

The Phillies’ offense, still missing injured All-Stars Chase Utley (knee) and Ryan Howard (Achilles’), didn’t resemble the unit that tallied 20 runs while winning two of three at the Diamondbacks in their last series.Halladay said that, regardless of the offensive output, he wouldn’t be affected.After Carlos Ruiz’s second-inning double, Maholm retired 15 of the next 16 batters before Wigginton’s homer to left with one out in the seventh. That hit ended the night for Maholm.Philadelphia threatened to score more in the seventh off left-handed reliever James Russell after putting runners on first and second with a pair of infield hits, but Soriano caught Juan Pierre’s drive to left after initially misplaying the ball for the final out.Howard was examined by a doctor on Friday and said after the game that he hopes to begin baseball activities Sunday in Clearwater, Fla. He said there was no timetable on a possible return to the Phillies lineup.

NOTES—SS Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 4 for Philadelphia and has three hits in his last 37 at-bats…..Wigginton extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a fourth-inning single…..Despite many empty seats on a chilly, windy night, the Phillies announced their 211th straight regular-season sellout with a crowd of 45,261…..Campana has five steals in his last four games…..Randy Wells(0-0, 3.60) opposes Philadelphia RHP Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34) Saturday night in the second game of the four-game series.