After a uneasy first inning where Randy Wells allowed the White Sox to jump ahead 2-0, the Cubs starter settled down to cruise through the sixth inning, a frame that he finished off on just three pitches. Through six he had only given up the two runs and four hits.
This bought his buddies on offense time to wrestle back the lead from the Sox. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the third thanks to a RBI double by Darwin Barney and a sac fly by Aramis Ramirez, his eighth RBI in the last ten games. The on fire third baseman extended the lead in the sixth inning with a solo shot to make it 4-2, Ramirez’s 11th homer of the season, with six of those coming in the last ten games.
But Wells hit a wall in the seventh, and it was the Sox’s (Alexei) Ramirez who decided to answer the Cubs’ Ramirez. The Sox short stop took advantage of a hanging breaking ball from Wells and deposited the ball in the left field bleachers to tie the game. Having spent his bullpen in the extra inning win on Thursday, manager Mike Quade decided to try to grind out the seventh inning with Wells. The move back fired on Quade as Juan Pierre hit a two RBI triple to give the Sox a 6-4 lead and knock Wells out of the game.
Credit the bullpen for holding the Sox the rest of the way to give the Cubs offense a chance. Jeff Samardzija mopped up for the final two outs of the seventh, and Kerry Wood made a strong first appearance since returning from the disabled list with a perfect frame that included a strike out. Sean Marshall capped the pen effort off with a scoreless top of the ninth.
But the Cubs offense could not rally against the Sox pen, which included wasting a lead off single by Reed Johnson in the bottom of the seventh. Kosuke Fukudome had a nice 2 for 4 day with a run, but his average is now at .279, lining up with his career MLB numbers once the season enters late June and into July.
The Cubs will need to take the final two games of the series at Wrigley if they hope to save their fans from some trash talking by the White Sox fans.