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Friday, December 8

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« World Cup 2010 Preview: Group E Sox Outlast Cubs Again at Wrigley »

Baseball Sat Jun 12 2010

Sox Batter Cubs in Crosstown Opener

Friday was busy sports day in Chicago, with a certain hockey team celebrating its first Stanley Cup title in 49 years and soccer fans celebrating the start of the world's biggest quadrennial sporting event. But the matinee at Wrigley, the first meeting of the summer between the Cubs and White Sox, deserved a little attention as well.

A few things stood out in a 10-5 Sox win:

-- It felt like a throwback to the good old days as the heart of the Sox lineup beat up Randy Wells and four Cubs relievers. A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez combined to go 12-for-19 with 8 runs and 8 RBIs. Pierzynski and Rios homered, as did Carlos Quentin, who pinch-hit in the eighth.

<< WHITE SOX 10, CUBS 5 >>

-- Jake Peavy, the struggling former Cy Young winner, pitched seven good innings, getting hurt only in the second when he left a ball up and Alfonso Soriano crushed it to left-center for his 300th career home run. That makes it three strong starts in a row for the underachieving Sox rotation -- and not coincidentally, three consecutive wins. It's only the second time this season the team has won more than two in a row.

-- It wouldn't be Chicago baseball without some clubhouse drama, especially when you're dealing with vivacious personalities like Ozzie Guillen and Lou Piniella. While Ozzie's longtime friction with GM Kenny Williams reportedly is on the verge of flames, Sweet Lou was fighting back against the slings and arrows of team broadcaster Steve Stone and other critics.

-- Pierzynski, the 33-year-old Sox catcher, continues to swing a better bat, going from a dreadful April to a mediocre May to a June that's turning out pretty well so far. Batting sixth today, he had two line-drive singles, a double off the ivy in center-field and a solo home run. Pierzynski finished 4-for-5 with a run and 3 RBIs, and heard from Guillen after the game that he can stop stressing about where he'll be playing the rest of the season. It appears unlikely he'll be part of whatever midseason purge the Sox wind up executing.

-- James Russell was the disaster of the night for the flammable Cubs bullpen, allowing four runs in the top of the eighth without recording an out. Quentin homered on his second pitch, Juan Pierre walked, Ramirez doubled down the left-field line and Rios crushed a letter-high fastball out onto Waveland Avenue.

-- The Sox led 10-2 after the unpleasantness with Russell, but the Cubs answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth on singles by Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and pinch-hitter Jeff Baker and a two-run fielding error by fill-in third baseman Jayson Nix. In the ninth, Scott Linebrink, protecting a five-run lead, walked two Cubs before the resurgent Bobby Jenks came on to get the final two outs.

-- Rookie shortstop Starlin Castro started the Cubs' ninth-inning rally with one of the day's best at-bats. He fell behind 1-2 against Linebrink, worked the count full, then fouled off four 3-2 pitches before walking on pitch No. 10.

CWS -- 200 030 140 -- 10 16 2
CHC -- 020 000 030 -- 5 9 0

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