White Sox-Cubs Preview

The Associated Press

Despite both teams owning losing records, there was plenty of intrigue to open the series between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.

After the White Sox won the opener despite losing their best hitter, they'll try to continue their recent success against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Saturday night.

While these teams are off to slow starts, there was no shortage of storylines following the White Sox's 3-2 win Friday.

Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Gordon Beckham hit a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth to lead the White Sox to their sixth win in nine games at Wrigley Field.

Beforehand, it was learned Kerry Wood intended to announce his retirement, ending a career that began with much promise but never helped bring that elusive World Series title to the Cubs.

Wood was 0-2 with two blown saves and an 8.64 ERA before striking out Dayan Viciedo in the eighth in his final appearance.

"It was time," Wood, who left to a standing ovation, said. "We saw how things were going this year. I wasn't able to bounce back and do my job."

Wood wasn't the only big story after Konerko was sent sprawling in the third inning when he was hit by a pitch by Jeff Samardzija. Konerko suffered a laceration above his left eye and some swelling, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

"The ball got away and unfortunately it hit him up high," Samardzija said after the Cubs (15-24) lost their fourth straight. "If I could take it back I would. He's a tough guy. I hope he'll be alright."

White Sox starter Phil Humber denied retaliation after he threw behind Bryan LaHair in the fourth. Both benches were issued warnings.

Konerko came into the game batting .362, third-best in the AL. His homer was his 55th in interleague play, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. for second place all-time.

Possibly without Konerko, the White Sox (19-21) will go for a third straight victory Saturday, but they could have trouble against Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.74 ERA).

Dempster had a 1.02 ERA over his first five starts, which the Cubs were winless in. He pitched in a winning effort against St. Louis on Monday after allowing a season-high four runs in six innings of a 6-4 victory.

Dempster is 2-3 with a 5.09 ERA in six starts against the White Sox but has a 1.71 ERA in three starts against them at Wrigley Field.

Alexei Ramirez is 6 for 14 with a home run against Dempster while Adam Dunn has two homers in 17 at-bats.

The White Sox will counter with John Danks (2-4, 6.46), who struggled again Monday at Detroit, failing to record an out in the fourth inning of a 7-5 win.

Danks allowed five runs and nine hits, and it was the third time in four starts he gave up five or more runs.

The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts against the Cubs, although the last time he faced them he allowed six runs in five innings of an 8-6 loss in 2010.

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