Sox: It's in the brag

It was a fitting end to a series that is always about more than just wins and losses.

After striking out Ron Coomer to seal the White Sox's 3-1 victory Saturday, closer Keith Foulke pounded his right hand into his mitt and then pointed toward his bullpen.

Was Foulke saluting his fellow relievers? Guess again.

"There were a few individuals in the stands who were in my ear when I was warming up," Foulke said. "I just wanted to let them know that I was thinking about them."

Foulke & Co. earned the right to crow after Sean Lowe's dominant performance. Lowe, whose early-season struggles led to a minor-league demotion, limited the Cubs to three singles over seven innings.

"He's found something [that works] with our hitters," Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "His ball runs, moves and sinks a little bit. Guys could never put good wood to him, up and down the lineup."

The Cubs' bats showed little life in the series, scoring eight runs in the three games and producing just two hits in 26 chances with runners in scoring position. On Saturday the Cubs' outfielders combined to go 0-for-9 with a sacrifice fly.

"You're always looking for Sammy to pop one," Baylor said, "but we depend on certain guys to get the offense started for us. It's been dormant the last couple of days."

The Cubs continue to hope Devil Rays slugger Fred McGriff will approve a trade to the North Side. Officials are privately targeting Monday as the deadline for his decision.

"I still have a lineup card with his name on it," Baylor said. "I'd like to say that we're close, but I don't know how close. I'm still optimistic that something might happen."

The Sox made something happen in the third inning against Julian Tavarez (6-6).

Chris Singleton drew a leadoff walk and scored on Ray Durham's two-out, seeing-eye single. Carlos Lee put the Sox ahead 2-0 in the fourth with his 16th home run, a mammoth blast onto Waveland Avenue.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone," Lee said.

The Cubs finally responded in the sixth. After reaching on a bloop single, pinch-hitter Delino DeShields hustled to third base on Ricky Gutierrez's single to left. Sosa drove him home with a sacrifice fly, accounting for his team's entire offense.

"If they find some help [for the lineup], it would be good for the whole team and the city of Chicago," Sosa said. "But what we have right now, that's how we got to first place.

"There's no reason for us to panic. Losing a couple of games to the Sox is not an issue for us. We have to continue our mission."

The Sox will keep fighting as well. Saturday's victory not only brought them within two games of .500, it gave them a 4-2 win in the season series against their rivals and a 13-11 advantage since the advent of interleague play in 1997.

"It's two victories for us and that's what we need," Foulke said. "And it gives the Sox fans something to brag about."