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Pierzynski lands KO punch as two-out homer floors Cubs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- This time, A.J. Pierzynski landed the big hit.

Pierzynski's three-run homer off closer Ryan Dempster capped a two-out rally in the ninth and lifted the Chicago White Sox over the Chicago Cubs 8-6 Saturday.

The Cubs led 6-5 when Ross Gload singled on a slow roller that deflected off Dempster's calf. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was unable to barehand it, and Jermaine Dye walked. That brought up Pierzynski, who knocked a 1-1 pitch out to right for his fifth homer, and the White Sox won for the 13th time in 15 games.

The game was delayed for about five minutes after Pierzynski's homer when agitated Cubs fans pelted the field with debris. The grounds crew at Wrigley Field cleaned up the cups, plastic bottles and other items before the game resumed.

Pierzynski barreled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on May 20 at U.S. Cellular Field. Barrett responded by grabbing Pierzynski and punching him in the face, setting off a bench-clearing brawl.

This time, Pierzynski showed no mercy on a hanging slider.

"It was nice. At same time it's just one game, just one win," he said. "But for all the stuff I've been through this weekend and everything that has gone on, it was kind of nice."

For Dempster and the Cubs, it was just more agony.

The blown save was the fifth in 17 chances for Dempster (1-5), and the Cubs have lost eight of nine.

"It's really embarrassing to go out there and perform the way I did after a good game like that," Dempster said. "To sit there and make mistakes like that, it's a tough pill to swallow. I'm a big boy, I'll get over it. But I don't want to sit here and give another interview (saying), 'It was tough, I'll get over it, and I'll bounce back.' I'm sick of doing those and I'm embarrassed that I've had to do as many as I've had to do."

Neal Cotts (1-2) got the final out of the eighth for the win, and Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save in 26 opportunities.

Jacque Jones hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning for the Cubs, and Aramis Ramirez drove in five runs.

Jones hit his 14th homer off reliever David Riske with two out in the seventh, after the White Sox's Paul Konerko tied it at 5 with a pinch-hit home run leading off the top half.

Ramirez hit a three-run homer off Javier Vazquez in the fifth to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead. He also had a two-run double off the left-field wall in the first and a triple into the right-field corner in the third.

The last Cub to hit for the cycle was Mark Grace on May 9, 1993, against San Diego.

Jim Thome hit a two-run drive in the fifth for his American League-leading 26th homer and Pierzynski and Joe Crede had three hits each for the White Sox.

Crede hit his 15th homer -- a solo shot off Greg Maddux in the sixth -- to cut the Cubs' lead to 5-4. Maddux allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings but did not figure in the decision after losing his previous three starts.

Nor did the White Sox's Javier Vazquez, who had another rough time after allowing a season-high nine runs in six-plus innings in his previous outing against Houston. Vazquez gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings against the Cubs before he was lifted for the pinch-hitting Konerko.

The slugger connected on a 3-2 pitch from Scott Eyre for his 20th homer of the season. It was the second pinch-hit homer of Konerko's career and his first since July 2, 2003, against Minnesota.

The Cubs regained the lead. Then, Pierzynski connected.

"It was a great at-bat by Gload, also a good at-bat by Dye," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's what the game is all about. When I saw A.J. I thought something special could happen here."

Notes

  • RHP Kerry Wood will play catch and long toss over the next week as the Cubs try once again to get their injury-plagued starter ready to return to the mound. Wood began the season on the disabled list, made four starts and then went back to the DL after the shoulder began troubling him. He had surgery last August. On Monday, Wood went to see the Cincinnati doctor who did the operation and underwent bio-mechanical testing that showed he had a muscle imbalance in the shoulder. "We're definitely going to have to go backward as far as his endurance. There is no question about it," trainer Mark O'Neal said Saturday. "I'd say he's probably got a week's work of playing catch and long toss before we even think about doing anything on the mound."
  • Ramirez's five RBI were one shy of a career high.
  • Guillen said he expects to be criticized when All-Star selections are announced Sunday because, as usual, there will be some deserving players left off the AL roster. "I'm going to take the heat. But I don't pick this team myself," Guillen said. "One thing you have to remember, I have to pick the best guys to win the game." The league that wins the All-Star game will have home field advantage in the World Series and that was a big plus for the White Sox last year when they won the first two games at home against the Astros.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Bobby Jenks gets the Cubs to go down in order to secure his 25th save in 25 opportunities.  (AP)
Bobby Jenks gets the Cubs to go down in order to secure his 25th save in 25 opportunities. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 5
Chicago

A. Pierzynski
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF5011001
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B5010022
Jim Thome, 1B4122011
    David Riske, P0000000
    Ross Gload, 1B1110000
Jermaine Dye, RF3110212
    Bobby Jenks, P0000000
A.J. Pierzynski, C5133002
Joe Crede, 3B5131001
Juan Uribe, SS3000002
Brian Anderson, CF4110003
Javier Vazquez, P1110000
   a- Paul Konerko, PH-1B2111001
    Neal Cotts, P0000000
    Rob Mackowiak, RF0000000
Totals3881582415 
a-homered for Vazquez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Scott Podsednik (, Eyre), Jim Thome (, Maddux), Brian Anderson (, Maddux)
HR - Jim Thome (, Maddux), A.J. Pierzynski (, Dempster), Joe Crede (, Maddux), Paul Konerko (, Eyre)
SH - Javier Vazquez ()
RBI - Scott Podsednik (), Jim Thome 2 (), A.J. Pierzynski 3 (), Joe Crede (), Paul Konerko ()
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome 2 (), A.J. Pierzynski 3 ()
SB - Scott Podsednik (, 3rd base off Eyre/Barrett)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Pierzynski-Uribe
E - Juan Uribe (, Wild throw)
Chicago White Sox
Javier Vazquez 61155171
David Riske 1.2111111
Neal Cotts (W,-) 0.1000000
Bobby Jenks (S,) 1000010
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 108-68, David Riske 25-14, Neal Cotts 1-1, Bobby Jenks 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 5-5, Bobby Jenks 1-1
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 29, David Riske 7, Neal Cotts 1, Bobby Jenks 3
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4120101
Todd Walker, 2B5110003
Derrek Lee, 1B5220030
Aramis Ramirez, 3B5135000
Jacque Jones, RF4121011
Phil Nevin, LF4010012
    Angel Pagan, LF0000000
Michael Barrett, C4000013
Ronny Cedeno, SS4010000
Greg Maddux, P3000031
    Scott Eyre, P0000000
    Bob Howry, P0000000
   a- John Mabry, PH0000100
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000
Totals3861262911 
a-walked for Howry in the 8th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (, Vazquez), Aramis Ramirez (, Vazquez)
3B - Aramis Ramirez (, Vazquez)
HR - Aramis Ramirez (, Vazquez), Jacque Jones (, Riske)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 5 (), Jacque Jones ()
2-OUT RBI - Jacque Jones ()
CS - Juan Pierre (, 2nd base by Vazquez/Pierzynski), Ronny Cedeno (, 2nd base by Vazquez/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Walker-Cedeno-Lee, Cedeno-Lee, Cedeno-Walker-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux 61044032
Scott Eyre (BS,) 0.2211011
Bob Howry 1.1100100
Ryan Dempster (BS,; L,-) 1233101
HBP - Uribe (by Bob Howry)
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 78-52, Scott Eyre 20-11, Bob Howry 23-13, Ryan Dempster 21-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 7-6, Bob Howry 1-2, Ryan Dempster 1-2
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 26, Scott Eyre 4, Bob Howry 6, Ryan Dempster 6
Game Information
Attendance - 41027
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Mike Reilly