Cubs 11, White Sox 6

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CHICAGO (AP)—Derrek Lee, sidelined for five games because of a sore neck, spent most of Saturday hitting balls into a net, playing a simulated game in the training room as if he were really at-bat and in the field.

Then, in the midst of a Cubs’ rally Saturday, he convinced manager Lou Piniella he was ready to go for real.

“He said, `No.’ Then he thought about it, talked to the coaches a little bit and I got in there,” Lee said.

Piniella’s glad he gave the OK.

Lee delivered a pinch-hit grand slam to cap a six-run eighth inning, lifting the Cubs to an 11-6 victory and sending the White Sox to another staggering loss.

“Exciting game, I’m glad I got into it,” Lee said.

On Friday, the Cubs rallied for a 6-3 victory, using a passed ball to score the go-ahead run in a two-out, three-run seventh-inning rally. This time the Cubs relied on two triples and Lee’s grand slam to overtake their crosstown rivals.

“When I woke up this morning I felt like I could play. But we wanted to go through a series of tests today and see how I responded. Before the game I told Lou I could pinch-hit today. I told the trainer I could pinch-hit today,” Lee said.

After Paul Konerko homered leading off the top of the eighth Saturday against Bob Howry (1-3) to put the White Sox up 6-5, the Cubs quickly responded.

David Aardsma (2-1), traded from the Cubs to the White Sox in the offseason, gave up a leadoff triple to Ryan Theriot in the bottom of the inning.

Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI single to tie and raced home with the go-ahead run as Aramis Ramirez hit another triple in nearly the same spot as Theriot’s— in the right field corner. Aardsma intentionally walked Daryle Ward before Michael Barrett lined a ball off Aardsma for a single to load the bases.

When the left-handed Boone Logan relieved, Lee was sent up as a pinch-hitter, drawing a raucous standing ovation as he went to the on-deck circle.

After a feeble swing and a miss, he worked the count to 3-1 and then drove a pitch over the wall in right center to send the Cubs fans among a crowd of 41,101 at Wrigley Field into a tizzy. Before the game, Piniella said Lee would probably not play until next week because the Cubs didn’t want to risk having their star miss more time if he re-injured himself.

“The last guy I thought that was going to come off the bench was him,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Lee.

But Piniella checked with trainer Mark O’Neal in the eighth and got the go-ahead, sending Lee to hit for left-handed swinging Jacque Jones.

“I asked when Ozzie put in the left-hander. The trainer assured me (Lee) was OK if we wanted to use him,” Piniella said. “When you got a treasure chest sitting there, you might as well use him.”

Logan said he wasn’t surprised when Lee came out.

“That got me going,” Logan said. “That’s disappointing what happened. I threw him a good pitch. It wasn’t like it was a cookie or anything.”

White Sox starter Javier Vazquez allowed five hits and five runs in seven innings. The bullpen meltdown cost him a chance for his first win since April 13.

Joe Crede, another struggling member of a White Sox offense that entered the game last in the AL in batting and runs scored, hit a two-run homer off Jason Marquis to tie the game at 5-5 in the sixth. Crede also had a single after missing Friday’s game when a batting practice grounder hopped up and hit him in the mouth.

Marquis, who’d been roughed up by the White Sox last season while pitching for St. Louis, allowed seven hits and five runs in six innings. He also hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning off Vazquez that gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Earlier in the inning Barrett’s second homer in as many games tied the game at 3-3.

Marquis didn’t yield a hit Saturday until A.J. Pierzynski opened the fourth with a single. Jermaine Dye followed with a double and after Marquis got Konerko on a bouncer to third, he gave up consecutive RBI singles to Rob Mackowiak, Iguchi and Crede to make it 3-2.

The Cubs got two off Vazquez in the second as Ramirez singled and scored on Ward’s double to the wall in right center. An infield out moved Ward to third and Jacque Jones hit a sacrifice fly.


Guillen said rookie reliever Nick Masset will start Sunday’s series finale instead of veteran Jose Contreras on three days rest. … Game-time temperature was 77 degrees—18 degrees warmer than Friday—with a 14 mph wind blowing out. … While pitching for the Cardinals against the White Sox last June, Marquis gave up 13 runs and 14 hits, including four homers, in just five innings.

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