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Sunday, June 28, 2009
Crosstown Showdown finale as it happened


1:07: And we're back ... a gorgeous 75 degree day here at the Cell.

1:08: Alfonso Soriano actually leads the game off with a hit to left. Podsednik's bat may be hotter than ever, but he's definitely lost a step in the outfield.

1:13: Uncle Milty takes a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. If he could start doing that more often, he might raise that on-base percentage that was supposed to be so high.

1:17: The scouting report may finally be starting to catch up with Jake Fox. Danks strikes him out swinging to end the inning.

1:20: Zambrano strikes out Podsednik and prances confidently around the mound. He looks focused at the moment, but we all know that can change at any time.

1:23: Quick 1-2-3 inning for Zambrano. He did the same thing last week against the Sox.

1:25: Nancy the organist plays "Africa" by Toto in honor of an at-bat by Geovany Soto. The Cubs' catcher is so inspired that he grounds out to third.

1:28: Ryan Freel actually gets on base with a single. Maybe that heads-up play turned things around for him.

1:31: After several pick-off throws to first, Danks strikes out Kosuke the Helicopter swinging.

1:33: Andres Blanco pops it up down the right-field line but nobody can make the play. Although there is no error, the White Sox probably just gave the Cubs another out.

1:34: Danks throws over to first one too many times and the ball gets past Konerko. I've never understood why pitchers do that so much. Sometimes the throw over just isn't worth that much.

1:35: Danks goes from compulsively checking Freel at first to not looking at him at all at second. Farney's friend steals third without a throw.

1:36: The Sox get out of the mini-jam as Blanco pops up to Ramirez to end the inning. Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" plays during the Connie's Pizza race. I don't think The Boss would be proud of that one.

1:39: Konerko doubles to left-center. Soriano looks three steps slow in the outfield. It's cool, though; he's signed for five more years and about $100 million.

1:42: Soriano actually makes a catch in the outfield without doing that stupid hop.

1:45: Chris Getz has a nice at-bat and draws a walk. "Your Love" by The Outfield is played again as Gordon Beckham steps to the plate. At what point do the Sox have The Outfield come out to the Cell for a postgame concert?

1:47: Beckham flies out to a jump-less Soriano to end the inning, depriving the crowd another chance to hear that 1980s classic one more time.

1:50: Why in the world would anybody spend the money to put "Happy Birthday Whitney" up on the marquee? At least put a last name on there; they could be talking about anybody.

1:52: Very quick 1-2-3 inning by the Cubs. Uncle Milty pops out to second to end the inning. Jim Hendry quietly continues to weep.

1:55: Big Z plunks Scotty Pods in the ribs. You'd have to think there will be some retaliation coming soon from the Sox.

1:58: Alexei "The Cub Killer" Ramirez is back. He sends a drive into the left-field bleachers -- 2-0 Sox. Zambrano has looked flustered ever since Podsednik got on base. Is there a pitcher in baseball who unwinds faster than Big Z?

2:00: Landon Donovan just puts one in for the U.S. on a faraway TV in the press box. The U.S. soccer team is up 2-0? On Brazil?

2:03: Zambrano and Soto have a conference on the mound. Soto is telling Z to try not to have another meltdown this early. The Cubs have already reached their quota this weekend.

2:04: Every ball that Soriano catches in the outfield is an adventure. Every single one.

2:08: Jake Fox grounds into a double play. The loss of Aramis Ramirez only gets worse by the day.

2:10: Once again, Soto is not motivated by the sounds of "Toto" and grounds it back to the pitcher to end the inning.

2:14: Beckham just misses another double down the line. "Your Love" is going to be the most requested karaoke song in the city this week.

2:17: Beckham singles to right and the Sox are in business with just one out. Big Z is laboring.

2:19: Nice call by Ozzie and good execution by the Sox. Guillen called for a hit-and-run, Wise hits it in the right spot and Blanco can't make the play in time -- 3-0 Sox.

2:23: Zambrano actually picks off Beckham at second? What the heck was he doing? Ozzie is going to be upset about that one after the game.

2:24: "Brooks Robinson" Fox makes a nice play at third to end the inning. Who would have thought that guy would actually produce with his glove instead of his bat?

2:29: Fukudome helicopters his way into a double play. It's cool: At least he's still signed for two more years and about $25 million.

2:33: Ramirez plops one into center. I can't tell whether that was bad defense or bad luck -- with the Cubs it was probably both.

2:36: Zambrano gets a big strikeout to sit down Konerko. What is going on with the Sox's first baseman this series? He usually lights up the Cubs.

2:40: Soto goes out for another conference with Big Z. These two do not appear to be on the same page today.

2:41: Pierzynski grounds out to end the inning. Who will score more today, the U.S. soccer team or the Cubs?

2:44: White Sox PR tweak of the day. Cub Quiz: Name the player acquired from Boston with Mike Brumley for Bill Buckner on May 25, 1984. Dennis Eckersley. They sure do know how to get under Cubs fans' skin here.

2:47: The paid attendance today is 39,745. It's a sellout. Who is surprised?

2:48: Uncle Milty thinks he gets walked but the ump calls a strike -- he strikes out on the next pitch. A microcosm of his whole season to date.

2:51: D-Lee takes a walk to bring up "Brooks Robinson" Fox. Will he be able to get a clutch hit like he did on Friday?

2:52: Simultaneous "Let's Go White Sox" and "Let's Go Cubbies" chants fill the air in the left-field seats.

2:52: Fox walks to bring up Soto. The Cubs catcher continues to find himself in some pressure spots during this series.

2:55: Very key, heads-up play made by Alexei Ramirez. Soto hits a ground ball toward him in the hole and instead of trying to go to first, he forces out Lee at third to end the inning. If the Sox win, that Ramirez play could become the turning point of the game.

2:59: Getz ends an 0-for-24 streak by popping a double down the line. Getz hustled all the way to second to make sure he got the extra base.

3:00: The Cubs had the right call on, but Zambrano and Soto misconnect again and the ball goes to the wall. Getz is credited with a steal of home. Gotta admire the hustle he showed all the way around the bases -- 4-0 Sox.

3:01: The Z meltdown is almost complete. He intentionally plunks Wise and Ozzie is furious. A few Sox players make their way out of the dugout but the benches do not empty all the way. The umpires take back some control but the wheels are coming off once again for Zambrano and the Cubs.

3:04: Wise steals second, which only pumps up the crowd even more.

3:05: Lou has seen enough from Zambrano and pulls him for Patton. Big Z is hearing it from the Sox crowd, which proceeds to boo him all the way off the field. The Sox have all the control right now.

3:06: You could see that Zambrano meltdown coming from 10 miles away.

3:09: We've said it several times this weekend already, but it's worth saying again: Alfonso Soriano is the worst defensive outfielder in baseball. He misplays a ball, maybe loses it in the sun, whatever. The ball falls in between him and Theriot and everybody moves up a base.

3:11: Now Theriot can't catch either; he misses a pop fly on the infield, but is bailed by the infield-fly rule. Still, D-Wise is allowed to score -- 5-0 Sox. The Cubs are embarrassing themselves in this inning and Sox fans are loving it.

3:14: Luckily for Piniella and company, the inning is finally over -- but the damage is already done.

3:17: Danks hits Freel to start the seventh. Ozzie is shown laughing in the dugout.

3:21: Soriano strikes out to end the inning. That sounds about right.

3:27: Getz gets himself another hit. The Sox probably don't need to score anymore because the Cubs' offense is inept, but Beckham has a chance to put the final screws in here.

3:29: An apparent brawl is erupting in the center-field seats right now. That is much more exciting than the end of this game.

3:31: D-Wise groundout to end the seventh. Scott Linebrink comes into the game while the vacation cam is being shown on the big screen. Trust me, Lou Piniella wants to get away.

3:37: Uncle Milty strikes out. The only person having a worse week than Bradley is Jim Hendry.

3:39: Just put the Cubs out of their misery. Lee strikes out to end the inning. Linebrink pitches a spotless inning of relief. The South Siders' bullpen is much better than that of their North Side counterparts.

3:40: U.S. soccer highlights are being shown on the big screen. The only problem is that they only showed the U.S.'s two goals, not the three that Brazil scored to win.

3:44: A brawl appears to be erupting now in the right-field bleachers. All the week's pent-up frustration appears to be coming out today.

3:46: Jermaine "The Hitting Machine" Dye puts the final screw into this one by hitting a home run to center -- 6-0 Sox. Cubs fans should be scattering for the exits if they haven't already.

3:49: "Let's Go White Sox" chants are popping up all over the Cell now.

3:50: Konerko just can't buy a couple of hits in this series. He grounds out to end the inning, although in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. This game is OVER.

3:57: Now it's officially over. Freel strikes out to end the game. The Cubs' offense is not good.

3:58: Star of the game has to be John Danks. The Sox's lefty shut down the Cubs for the second time in a week and a half. He went seven innings and gave up just four hits and no runs. Ozzie has to be pleased with that effort.

4:00 Thought to ponder for the week: Which team has the brighter future this year? The Cubs or the Sox?