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Baseball Wed Jun 22 2011

Sox Push Past Cubs to Win a Wet One

A rain delay of 1 hour, 44 minutes washed out a good portion of the crowd last night at U.S. Cellular Field, but those who stayed late on a school night saw the White Sox push past the Cubs for a 3-2 win.

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThumbnail image for white sox.gifIf you missed it:

-- Paul Konerko and Carlos Pena traded home runs again, continuing Pena's power surge (four homers in his past six games) and Konerko's even hotter streak. The Sox captain has 11 homers in his past 18 games, along with a .446 batting average, .512 on-base percentage and .986 slugging percentage.

-- The Sox bullpen was called into action in the sixth inning after the rain delay knocked out Mark Buehrle, and it delivered, protecting first a 2-2 tie and then a 3-2 lead after Brent Morel's seventh-inning sacrifice fly. Jesse Crain was very good, Matt Thornton got two outs and Sergio Santos was at his filthy best, earning his 13th save.

Santos retired all four hitters he faced. He struck out three of them, including Aramis Ramirez with two on and two out in the eighth. He threw 15 pitches. Fourteen were strikes. Thirteen were sliders. He's developing into a pretty great closer.

-- Starlin Castro showed why Cubs observers are so high on his defensive potential, making two great plays on slow rollers that required a barehanded scoop and sidearm throw in one motion.

-- Juan Pierre did something useful for once, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead in the third with an RBI squeeze bunt with no outs. Alex Rios scored easily from third and Morel moved over to second.

Here's how our partisan critics saw it:

Brian Livingston on the Cubs:

The rain delay helped the Cubs by getting rid of Buehrle, but it also might have broken the momentum they were building during that sixth inning threat. Also, don't pitch to Konerko anymore. He's torched them twice now. It appears they didn't learn anything from pitching to Albert Pujols and getting burned.

Jenny Zelle on the Sox:

Offense + lights out bullpen performance = What we should have been seeing from the White Sox all year. Buehrle did his job, as always, but Crain and Santos were just plain nasty with all-star-worthy performances. The Sox offense still under-performed, based on what they could and should be doing, but they were lively enough to get the W. Hopefully, this one serves as a confidence-builder going into Wednesday's finale.
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