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Saturday, June 23

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Baseball Thu Jun 23 2011

Sox Hold Off Cubs For Another One-Run Win

This was one of those games Cubs fans will point to when they bemoan their team's lack of clutchness, clutchosity and clutchitude.

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThumbnail image for white sox.gifIn the sixth, the Cubs scored twice to get within one run of the White Sox but left the bases loaded.

In the eighth, they got pinch runner Tony Campana into scoring position with no outs, but Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton held the dike, inducing a ground out and two strikeouts.

That set the stage again for Sergio Santos, who dazzled the North Side visitors for the second night in a row. He threw 11 pitches, nine of them strikes, to retire the side in order for a 4-3 win and his 14th save, befuddling Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.

If you missed it:

dont stop sign.jpg-- Jake Peavy got the win in his return from the disabled list, pitching 5 1/3 decent innings before stumbling in the sixth as the Cubs scored their second and third runs. He didn't have much -- will he ever again? -- but he's a pro.

-- Another home run for Pena, his fifth in seven games, and this one showed a bit of opposite-field power, going out to left-center. A very good sign for the Cubs.

-- Another successful squeeze bunt by the Sox, this time with Brent Lillibridge scoring A.J. Pierzynski, who had tripled(!) in a pair of runs, to push the lead to 3-0 after four.

-- Let it not be said the Cubs are incapable of getting a hit when they need it: In the top of the fifth, Castro followed Kosuke Fukudome's two-out double with an RBI single to center field.

-- Briefly, on that subject: The Cubs have less of a problem getting Big Hits in Clutch Situations than they do simply getting hits in any situation. Most great lineups aren't magically "clutch" but generally just create so many scoring chances that enough of them pay off.

-- Keep your crosstown insults and rivalry jabs close at hand: We'll settle this in a week's time at Wrigley with another three-game series.

Here's how our partisan critics saw it:

Brian Livingston on the Cubs:

Starter Doug Davis was decent. Not as good as he was last Friday against the Yankees, but he did his job to keep them in the game. The offense, however, couldn't come through, as usual. Nice to see Pena find his power stroke. Too bad there wasn't anyone on base in front of him when he homered for the third straight game. Also, kudos to the Cubs bullpen. They did their job keeping the Sox at bay and giving the offense a chance. Another thing that sticks out is the Cubs didn't just lay down after being down in all three games. Unfortunately, they couldn't seal the deal in the last two.

Jenny Zelle on the Sox:

Another win for which the Sox can and should earnestly and repeatedly thank the bullpen. It was eerily reminiscent of Monday night, when Gavin Floyd was left in long enough for the Cubs to light him up, making White Sox fans wonder anew at Ozzie's bullpen management. But Chris Sale, Crain, Thornton and Santos got the job done.

And happily, the mood at the ballpark felt much different than Monday's madness. Yes, it's the crosstown rivalry -- people were still drinking heavily, shouting, ribbing each other, etc. -- but the ugly mood that hung over U.S. Cellular Field on Monday was in no way present this evening. While I did see a number of people tossed by security, including one guy that required about 6 security guards to "assist" him out of the park, for the most part, the crowd was good-natured and competitive in a friendly way. This is how the series should be: a rivalry to be sure, but still, a celebration of baseball in Chicago.

 
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