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It's that time of year when half of Chicago hates the other half. Isn't it fun?
Yes, it's the annual dozens-fest some euphemistically call inter-league play.
Make sure you're wearing your batting helmet, even in the field today, because the insults are going to be flying back and forth:
Beanie-baby-collecting spritzer drinkers! Mullet-wearing Camaro drivers! Frappuccinio-lovin' yuppie drunks! Field-charging dirtbags! Cork lovers! World Series throwers! You get the idea.
The baseball will decide who holds the bragging rights, at least until the two teams meet again next weekend.
With the late start, we realize many of you will be ducking out of the office towards the middle innings. But, in the meantime, we're here for you with a blow-by-blow account of all the action on the field.
Mark Prior (1-1) goes against Jon Garland (5-4). Here are today's lineups.
Also, a bit of news: The Sox placed tomorrow's starter, Scott Schoeneweis, on the 15-day DL. Felix Diaz will start in his place. Our Sox fan designer just quipped, "Oh, great. Now we need a fourth and a fifth starter.
Now that Sharon Osbourne's little chat with bachelor Bob is done, it's safe to turn on the TV. We'll have baseball shortly.
Since when does 3:05 mean 3:10? Anyway, here we go. Mark Grudzielanek leads off. I used the time he spent on the DL to learn how to spell his name. Grudzielanek flies out to Aaron Rowand in center. WGN is flashing a crawl about Jack Ryan dropping out of the Senate race. If they pre-empt this game with some news conference, I will personally drive up to Detroit and turn a taxicab over. Garland gets the hot-hitting Derrek Lee swinging for the second out. But Moises Alou comes back and rips a double down the left-field line. Sox fan favorite Sammy Sosa digs in. Gesundheit. He goes down swinging.
Rowand, who made two great catches yesterday, pops out to Aramis Ramirez in foul ground. Juan Uribe follows suit with a pop out to Lee near the Cubs' dugout. Frank Thomas strokes the first pitch in to left for a single. There goes the Prior no-hitter. We're out of here. Have a good weekend. Carlos Lee coaxes a walk. Jose Valentin checks his swing; Prior appeals to third to no avail. A walk to Valentin loads the bases for Paul Konerko. Konerko battles but flies out to Sosa. Sox load them but can't score. Prior threw a whole lot of pitches in that inning.
Ramirez starts the Cubs' second with a lazy fly ball to Lee in left. MLB.com has Prior with 23 pitches in the first, Sox fan designer reports. That's like a fourth of his pitch count. DH Todd Hollandsworth and his hair pop out to Konerko. Michael Barrett grounds out to short and Garland cruises through the second.
Ross Gload--great name--lines out to Sosa. Joe Crede then pops to Lee. I see a Sox fan talking on a cell phone on TV. What's next, a Cubs fans actually watching the game? Miguel Olivio doesn't look good at all swinging at strike three, a slider away. Prior has an easier time with the back of the Sox's lineup.
No news here: Corey Patterson quickly down 0-2 before fouling one off. He swings at a ball and lofts it to Lee in left. Ramon Martinez steps in. It's safe to say we've seen the last of Rey Ordonez at short for the Cubs. When Ricky Gutierrez looks like an upgrade, it doesn't say much for your game. Martinez grounds one to Crede, who bobbles it but has time to throw out Martinez. Grudzielanek rips one in the hole, but Crede, diving to his right, makes a great play, gets up and throws on the money.
OK, I saw this the other night and they just did it again. Hawk and DJ just gave Crede the "Comcast play of the game." It's the third inning, people. Here's Rowand, who cues one to first. Lee picks it nicely and flips to Prior covering. Uribe swings right through a fast ball for strike three. Prior throws one up and in to Thomas. Thomas doesn't like it at all and then looks at a breaking ball for strike three. He doesn't like that either and lets home-plate ump Chuck Merriweather know about it. Prior seems to have settled down.
Derrek Lee grounds one up the middle off Garland's glove. The ball bounces right to Valentin, who throws out Lee. Alou lofts one to right, Gload makes a big run at it and then pulls an Adam Dunn. The ball pops right out of his glove and Alou slides into second. E-9. Sosa hits one right at Gload, who squeezes this one. Though, with one hand. Two hands out there, Ross. Ramirez pops one to shallow right and here comes Gload again. He squeezed this one with two hands. Garland continues to cruise. Take that, Ed Lynch.
Lee battles and eventually draws a walk to lead off the Sox's fourth. Valentin takes two straight balls before popping it up to Ramirez. Lee takes off for second and Barrett lets the pitch get by him. So it's 2-2 to Konerko. Konerko hits it to Ramon Martinez's left and he has to eat it. The infield hit puts runners on first and second for Gload. Barrett pulls a Paul Bako and lets a Prior fastball bounce off his glove and go to the backstop, allowing Lee to score and Konerko to take second. The count goes to 3-0 to Gload but Prior comes back and strikes him out looking. Crede works the count full but then grounds out to short. Prior is over 80 pitches.
Sox 1, Cubs 0
Garland is really busting Hollandsworth. And Hollandsworth is staying alive with an array of foul balls before slicing one the other way for a lead-off single. The Sox, sensing the Cubs want to stay out of the double play with a couple of battleships involved, pitch out and Olivio's snap throw nearly goes into right if not for a diving stop by Konerko. Garland throws over to first and it's a bad one. It bounces by Konerko and with no one backing up, Hollandsworth hustles all the way to third. Barrett chops one to short. The Sox concede the run and we've got a tie game by virtue of some shoddy defense on both teams. Patterson lofts a pop up to shallow right. Gload looks like he wants no part of it and lets Uribe take it. Uribe pulls a Gload and lets the ball fall. Patterson takes second. Seriously brutal play by Gload. That's his ball. DJ said it himself on the telecast. Martinez walks and pitching coach Don Cooper jogs out to chat with Garland, no doubt to cool him down. His defense has let him down. Cooper returns to the dugout and Grudzielanek rips Garland's first pitch deep to left. Lee didn't even turn around to watch. Three-run homer. Garland settles a bit. He gets Lee looking and then gets Alou to fly out to left but the Cubs come back.
Cubs 4, Sox 1
Olivio has another not-so-good at-bat, striking out looking. It's quickly 0-2 to Rowand. Rowand fights a few off and then swings through a high fastball. Uribe hits one sharply to third, but Ramirez makes a nice pick and throw to get him. Does Prior keep going? He's humming but his pitch count is up there.
Sosa opens the sixth with a liner to the right-center-field gap. Rowand hustles over, cuts it off and holds Sosa to a single. Ramirez flies out to Rowand in center. Kinda like Rowand. Neal Cotts and Cliff Politte are up in the Sox's pen. They better get warm quickly. Hollandsworth hits one between Gload and Rowand and Sosa scores all the way from first. Hollandswoth takes third on the play. Barrett smokes one past a drawn-in Valentin at short, scoring Hollandsworth. That gets Ozzie up and here comes the lefty Cotts to face the left-handed hitting Patterson.
Cubs 6, Sox 1
Patterson hits with a guy on first and one out. To answer your question I-spy, who's a reader on the message board, this is my job. Patterson, who strangely hits left-handers better than righties, lines a single to left. Barrett has to stop at second. Martinez steps in and after a little of this and a little of that from Cotts takes a questionable ball four to load the bases for Grudzielanek. Here's Don Cooper. He leaves Cotts in there. Good call. Grudzielanek hits into a 5-4-3 double play.
Prior is out of there, making way for lefty Jon Leicester, who will face Frank Thomas. Thomas flies out to Patterson in center and as with any Sox fly ball, Hawk Harrelson proclaims, "He just missed it." Lee flies out to Sosa. Valentin walks on four pitches. Konerko then flies out to Patterson.
This whole Miller-Budweiser spat is a little silly. It's kind of like arguing who's a better band, Warrant or Poison. Cotts stays in and Lee leads off the seventh. Lee grounds out to Valentin at short. Alou pops one behind second and Valentin and Uribe have a little communication breakdown. Valentin catches it only because he's taller. The shadow has creeped across home plate. Sosa grounds back to Cotts, who has a nice one-two-three seventh. We go to the eighth.
OK, now that I have the innings straight, we're getting somewhere. Gload pops one to shallow left and Alou loses it and lets it drop. Fine display of defense by our Chicago baseballs teams today. Crede lines out to Sosa for the first out. Highlights of this game will be included in the next Tom Emanski defensive drills video. Olivio singles. One out and two on as Kyle Farnsworth starts throwing in the Cubs' pen. The Sox have something going, perhaps. Negative. Rowand hits the first pitch into a 6-4-3 double play.
Ramirez grounds to third to start the eighth. Carlos Lee robs Hollandsworth with a nice diving catch. Lee will do that. He may not cover a whole lot of ground but he'll make some decent grabs, if he can get there. Barrett grounds out to Uribe. And we're rolling. Might get out of here at a decent time.
The teeth of the Sox's order will greet Farnsworth in the eighth. Uribe starts it off and draws a walk. Farnsworth can't find the plate and walks Thomas, as well. Lee steps in. This one is hardly over for the Sox. Lee eventually dribbles one down the first-base line and Lee, Derrek, tags Lee, Carlos. Second and third and one out for Valentin. After Uribe and Thomas made Farnsworth throw a ton of pitches, Valentin goes down on three straight. Farnsworth gets ahead of Konerko before Konerko rips a three-run homer to deep left. Sox are right back in it just like that.
Cubs 6, Sox 4
Mercker comes on to bail out Farnsworth to face Jamie Burke, who hits for the immortal Ross Gload. Burke hits one in the gap and Sosa lets it go right off his glove. Looked like he got spooked when Patterson came charging in. Sox fans love it. Burke ends up on second and the tying run comes up. But first...a pitching change. And we're back. LaTroy Hawkins faces Crede in a game that just turned exciting. Hawkins goes 0-2 to Crede before bouncing one that allows Burke to take third. Hawkins settles down and gets Crede swinging. Quick question? Who's scoring over there at Comiskey, ruling that ball Sosa botched a double?
Burke, the third catcher, stays on to play right and Mike Jackson comes on to pitch. Patterson leads off the inning and grounds out to second. Wow. Ramon Martinez hits one inside the foul pole in left for a solo homer.
Cubs 7, Sox 4
Grudzielanek flies out to Lee, who battles the sun but holds on. Lee hits it back to Jackson to end the inning.
Bottom of the ninth, all. Willie Harris hits for Olivo. Hawkins stays in for the Cubs. Harris flies out to Patterson. Sox fan designer says nice scouting report on Harris; Patterson didn't even have to move. Sox empty the bench. Timo Perez hits for Rowand and Timo Perez strikes out for Rowand. Uribe is the Sox's last chance to keep it alive. Uribe finally flies out and that does it for that. Cubs win. Sox lose. Thanks for joining us. We're out of here. Have a good weekend.
Final: Cubs 7, Sox 4