CHICAGO (AP)—Nick Swisher’s first look at Chicago’s heated baseball rivalry came last weekend at Wrigley Field, where he enjoyed the frenetic atmosphere but not the results.
Over on the South Side, the experience was much more satisfying.
Swisher hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run third inning and the White Sox finally beat the Cubs 10-3 on Friday.
“The atmosphere with games like these, although you try to put in your mind that it’s just another game, it’s really not,” Swisher said.
The Cubs swept the White Sox at Wrigley Field last weekend by a combined score of 22-11. They had won six straight and nine of the previous 10 in the series.
“Just like the Cubs do, they play extremely well at home, and we like to think that we do as well,” Swisher said of the White Sox’s 25-11 mark at U.S. Cellular Field. “When we’re at our home, we feel most confident.”
If eight miles can make a difference across town, so can six days.
White Sox starter Jose Contreras, pounded by the Cubs last Saturday during a nine-run fourth inning, was better this time around. He pitched six-plus innings and allowed seven hits, including three homers—back-to-back shots by Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot in the fifth and another solo shot to Jim Edmonds in the seventh. His biggest pitch of the game was the one that got Derrek Lee to hit into a double play after the Cubs loaded the bases in the third.
“After an outing is over, a good one or a bad one, I erase it the next day,” Contreras said through a translator.
Jermaine Dye, who hit the fence while making a leaping catch of Kosuke Fukudome’s long drive for the game’s final out, finished with three hits and three RBIS. Carlos Quentin was 4-for-5 to pace a 14-hit attack.
After being swept by the Cubs last weekend, the White Sox made a quick trip to the West Coast and won two of three from the Dodgers before heading back home.
“You have to take care of business at home. I think guys are more comfortable whether it’s sleeping in their beds, home-cooked meals or just being able to step in that batter’s box and feel good with the surroundings,” Dye said.
For the second straight series, both teams entered in first place, although the White Sox’s lead in the AL Central entering Friday had been chopped to one-half game over the Twins.
“I just want to win because I’m tired of fans calling me names. I don’t know why the Sox fans hate me because we lost to the Cubs. I got some letters that are unbelievable, ridiculous,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before the game.
“If I wrote that letter to anybody, they would throw me right out of this country.”
The third was the biggest offensive inning of the season for the White Sox. In addition to Swisher’s grand slam, it also featured a two-base error on Cubs’ left fielder Eric Patterson, who spent most of the season in Triple-A playing second base. The White Sox made sure they tested his arm Friday.
“No excuse. When you make mistakes, learn from it and hopefully you don’t make them again,” Patterson said.
He won’t have a chance Saturday.
“We’ll get somebody else out there,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “It had nothing to do with his arm. …We’ll make some changes and go from there.”
Orlando Cabrera hit a one-out double to start the third by racing to second to beat Patterson’s throw. A.J. Pierzynski then dumped a single to left and as Patterson raced in to field the ball, he overran it and it got behind him for a two-base error.
Quentin hit an RBI double to right and scored on Dye’s RBI single to left. After Jim Thome walked, Dye stole third on a close play prompting an argument from Piniella. Joe Crede then walked to load the bases before Swisher homered into the seats in left center for an 8-0 lead.
Cabrera singled to start the bottom of the first and when Pierzynski hit a fly to Patterson in left, he tagged up and hustled into second. Cabrera raced home on Quentin’s single to center, using a hard slide into Soto to beat Edmonds’ throw.
Former closer Dempster (9-3), who is 9-0 at home but 0-3 on the road, lasted only 2 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and eight runs in shortest outing since joining the rotation this season.
“You’re one pitch from getting out of it with the bases loaded. I was 1-2 on Nick and I made a mistake,” Dempster. “If I get that pitch where I needed to get it, maybe that’s a different result. Unfortunately they don’t have do-overs and you can’t get mulligans in baseball.”
Derrick Rose, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft by his hometown Chicago Bulls, threw out the first pitch. … White Sox 2B Alexei Ramirez was a late scratch from the lineup to be with his wife, who is pregnant. He was replaced by Juan Uribe. …White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was hobbling Friday. He hurt his hamstring Thursday when he slammed a pitch clicker in the dugout and slipped on the steps after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes at Dodger Stadium.
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