For the better part of three hours, it was a perfect Friday night to be a White Sox fan.
What more could any true South Sider ask for than an 89-degree evening, home runs by Frank Thomas and Jose Valentin, four strikeouts by Sammy Sosa and the sight of Keith Foulke on the mound in the ninth inning?
But with two outs, as the majority of the 44,140 on hand were beginning to tune up for another chorus of "Na, Na ... Hey, Hey," Sosa slammed a two-run home run off Foulke into the left-field bleachers, tying the game and waking up thousands of invading Cubs fans.
From paradise to nightmare with one stroke of Sosa's bat.
But two hours later, Ray Durham sent the Cubs fans back north singing the blues.
Durham ended a 4-hour-42-minute marathon with a game-winning single off Daniel Garibay in the 14th inning, giving the Sox a 6-5 victory in the opener of the cross-town series.
Durham said Sosa's homer didn't take the air out of the Sox.
"It wasn't a letdown," he said. "Once everyone got into the dugout, it was like, 'We're not going to lose this game.'"
The Sox won their fifth straight and maintained their two-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, snapping the Cubs' winning streak at three. Relievers Bill Simas and Jesus Pena held the Cubs hitless in five innings after Sosa's homer.
"It seems guys were trying to win it with a home run instead of base hits," Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "That was our downfall tonight."
Todd Van Poppel (0-2) took the loss, giving up a single to Herbert Perry with one out in the 14th and walking Jeff Abbott after Perry stole second.
The Sox entered the ninth with a 5-3 lead, and the Cubs had two outs and Eric Young on first when Sosa stepped up. It was a matchup that had Sox fans eager. Foulke had converted 13 straight save opportunities, and Sosa already had struck out four straight times against Kip Wells, Sean Lowe and Bob Howry.
In addition, Sosa had but one RBI in his previous 28 at-bats against the Sox since the start of the 1999 series. But after taking Foulke deep for his 19th home run, Sosa hopped high into the air and instantly went into airplane mode, running to first with his arms extended outward like a little kid in his back yard.
"It was kind of a test of wills?who would endure the struggle of trying to score a run," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "Our bullpen did the job, and Foulke showed he's human."
The third-largest regular-season crowd in the 10th season of new Comiskey was ready to rumble. Booing Sosa was the first order of business for the pro-Sox crowd.
"They were booing?" Sosa said afterward, feigning ignorance.
The Sox took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on RBIs by Magglio Ordonez, Chris Singleton and Carlos Lee, and led 4-1 in the fifth after Thomas' 14th home run, a solo shot off Jon Lieber.
Lowe relieved the control-plagued Wells in the fifth, and served up a two-run blast to Glenallen Hill in the sixth. Valentin's homer made it 5-3 in the seventh, which is where it stood before Sosa's last-gasp blast.
Sosa wound up with five strikeouts, trying to hit the ball to Wisconsin with every swing.
"His swing appeared to be long and kind of tight," Baylor said. "Yeah, it appeared he wanted to show he could hit a home run in some of those at-bats."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times