The streak finally ended Sunday.
"Streak? I didn't know we had a record," said Jose Contreras, the losing pitcher in the White Sox's 6-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Contreras can be forgiven. A streak to him is a winning streak, like the 152 straight games his Cuban national team won in tournament competition over a 10-year period.
Now that was a streak. Not that the Sox's feat of having the lead in 37 straight games is exactly cigar ashes. After all, it is tied for the third-longest in major-league history, 11 short of the all-time mark held by the 1998 New York Yankees.
The Sox will have to settle for the record of most games holding a lead at the start of a season.
More disturbing than the end of the streak was a second straight loss for the Sox and their fourth in the last seven games.
The White Sox were in trouble after catcher Sal Fasanocalled up to replace injured Sammy Sosa on the Baltimore rosterled off the third inning with a home run.
It was Fasano's first major-league homer since September 2001. And when David Newhan hit his first home run of the season in the sixth inning, Contreras had dug too deep a hole for his struggling offense.
The end of their streak was a footnote to the Sox, who are more worried about keeping their lead over the Twins in the AL Central, which was reduced to five games Sunday.
"The only streaks I care about are winning streaks and losing streaks," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's nice to be in the book and be a part of that. It was a nice run. Hopefully we'll start another one. But the most important thing is winning and losing. That was a part of history and our history is not done yet."
Jermaine Dye and Carl Everett hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning for the Sox's only offensive highlights. By then it was too late.
"It was a heck of a streak but not something the players worry about," Dye said. "We're just trying to win the game."
Contreras (1-1) left in the seventh after giving up his final three runs, two of them scoring after he left.
"That's the best I've seen him throw," Guillen said. "He threw strikes, was attacking people and worked quicker. Every time he pitches we don't score many runs."
"The home run pitches stayed a little high," Contreras said through an interpreter, "but other than that, the pitches were where I wanted them to be."
The Orioles' three-run seventh looked more like a patented White Sox pitch-and-putt rally than one by the heavy-hitting Orioles.
With one out, Jay Gibbons doubled and pinch-runner Keith Reed scored on Fasano's single. After Jeff Fiorentino walked, Neal Cotts relieved. Cotts hit Brian Roberts with a pitch and gave up Newhan's sacrifice fly. Luis Vizcaino was summoned and should have been out of the inning, but third baseman Joe Crede fumbled a grounder and the bases were loaded.
Miguel Tejada then singled past Vizcaino into shallow center, scoring Fiorentino withthe third run. Roberts was was thrown out trying to score.
The White Sox offense was missing in action again, but Guillen credited Baltimore starter Erik Bedard with that.
"He kept our offense out of balance," Guillen said. "Sometimes you have to tip your hat to guys who pitch good."
An example of the struggling offense is Dye, who is hitting .200.
"I've never struggled like this early," he said. "It's weird, but everybody goes through it."