After barely fouling off an 0-2 pitch with a feeble swing, Carlos Quentin whacked a high-and-outside fastball from Carlos Marmol over the right-field fence in the seventh inning to give the Sox a zany 6-5 victory before 39,143 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
That heightened the anticipation for Sunday night's finale, as the Sox try to sweep the Cubs at home for the first time in City Series history.
"It was a good ballgame, but a tough loss for us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after getting plenty of mileage out of Sean Gallagher with six innings and 121 pitches.
The Cubs, who have lost four of five, couldn't hold off a Sox team that won its fifth consecutive home game.
Quentin battled the shadows to poke Marmol's pitch sufficiently beyond the reach of Kosuke Fukudome.
"I wasn't sure," Quentin said after hitting his 18th homer. "I hit it off the barrel. You look at the outfielder when it happens. Fukudome was running back, and I said, 'Great. We might have a chance to do something good here.' "
This was the latest in a turnaround season for Quentin, who was recovering from shoulder surgery last October before Arizona traded him to the Sox.
"I've dealt with adversity in my short career, as a lot of baseball players have," Quentin said. "I've been thankful to the Sox for giving me an opportunity. When I was traded over here, [I knew] I would have to earn it. And I welcome it because that's how it should be."
The Cubs also marveled at the way Quentin coped with the elements.
"It was going to take one swing of the bat, and that's what ended up happening," Mark DeRosa said. "Carlos Quentin ends up getting a heater up from Marmol and getting a good piece of the bat on it and driving it out. [ Matt] Thornton was throwing 97 m.p.h. with shadows. You're not going to hit that."
Yet the Cubs nearly tied the game as Lee highlighted his five-hit game with a double leading off the ninth.
Daryle Ward's grounder to first moved Lee to third, and manager Ozzie Guillen ordered Jenks to pitch to Ramirez with first base open because he didn't want to put the go-ahead run on base.
With the infield in, Ramirez hit a grounder to short, where Orlando Cabrera made the play and held Lee before throwing to first for the second out.
Jenks then induced Edmonds to ground out to second to end a wild game.
The Sox, meanwhile, erased a two-run deficit in the first as Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to nine games despite a stomach ailment that kept him awake until 4 a.m. Saturday. Dye has eight homers and 23 RBIs in interleague play.
Third baseman Joe Crede made a great diving catch of a shot by Geovany Soto with the bases loaded in the third, preserving the Sox's 4-2 lead.
Second baseman Alexei Ramirez celebrated the birth of his third child, Alexei Jr., by hitting a game-tying homer in the fourth.