The White Sox-Cubs rivalry is only five years old, but there already have been plenty of classic games.
First came the "Ivy Affair" in 1998 when the Sox were denied a run when the Wrigley Field vines swallowed a ball. Then came the "Caruso Game" in '99 when slap-hitting shortstop Mike Caruso hit a game-winning homer to cap a stunning Sox sweep. Last year produced "The Pick," in which reliever Sean Lowe saved the Sox by picking Cub icon Mark Grace off first.
Now entering the Sox-Cubs lexicon: "The Bunt."
Sox third baseman Tony Graffanino committed a mental lapse on Gary Matthews Jr.'s sacrifice attempt in the 10th inning Saturday, leading to the Cubs' 4-3 victory in front of 45,849 dazed and somewhat confused fans at Comiskey Park. The Cubs tied the series at a game apiece.
"They don't give up, we don't give up," Cubs manager Don Baylor said.
"There were a lot of good things, a lot of Friday-the-13th things, a lot of full-moon things. It had it all."
Matt Stairs' sacrifice fly off Keith Foulke brought home the game-winning run in the 10th, shortly after Graffanino's gaffe. After Eric Young doubled to lead off the inning, Matthews bunted towards Foulke, who threw to Graffanino at third. Instead of attempting to tag Young, Graffanino thought it was a force play and simply stepped on the bag.
"Once I got back to the bag, I looked up and Foulke was throwing it," Graffanino said. "I caught it and it surprised me that [Young] was still standing there. I just screwed up. I really wasn't thinking about tagging him."
Foulke induced Sammy Sosa to pop out, but Stairs came through to lead the Cubs to their 16th win in 18 games. The Sox lost for only the third time in 15 games, and everyone wearing a Sox uniform shared Graffanino's pain.
"I wanted to cry out there for him," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "It's one of those things that happens.
"Everyone has made a mistake like that at one level or another. I've got a few under my belt. It was just one of those games where it's not really a game. It's more like a saga."
Said Sox manager Jerry Manuel: "That was a situation where [Graffanino] just kind of lost focus. As heady as he is, I'm sure the [previous] at-bat was probably still going through his mind. He thought the game should've been over."
Manuel was referring to Graffanino's failure to execute a suicide squeeze with runners on first and third and one out in the bottom of the ninth. After that stragegy didn't work, he wound up lining back to pitcher Todd Van Poppel, who easily caught Sandy Alomar Jr. napping off first base for a game-turning double play.
The Sox not only lost the game but watched starter Rocky Biddle go down after three strong innings with soreness in his right shoulder, the latest in a recurring theme of injured Sox pitchers.
James Baldwin, bombed on Wednesday in Kansas City, came on in relief and was handed a one-run lead in the sixth on Ray Durham's RBI single off Julian Tavarez. Baldwin pitched three innings and gave up just one hit. But Rondell White homered off Baldwin in the seventh to tie it again.
Another botched play on a Matthews' bunt, this time by pitcher Bob Howry, loaded the bases in the eighth, leading to a two-run single by Sosa that gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Tavarez was cruising along with two outs in the eighth when Chris Singleton singled and Durham walked, forcing Baylor to go to closer Tom Gordon. But Gordon fell asleep as the runners pulled off a successful double steal, and Magglio Ordonez tied it on a 3-2 pitch with a two-run single to left.
Little did anyone realize the weirdness was only just beginning.
The saga continues Sunday, with Jon Lieber facing Kip Wells in the rubber game. So far, the crosstown series has exceeding the hype.
"It's awesome," Stairs said. "It's fun to be at the ballpark with that type of atmosphere."