Series: Game 3 of 3

Chicago won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, June 10
New York 3Final
Chicago 1
Game 2: Tuesday, June 11
New York 8Final
Chicago 10
Game 3: Wednesday, June 12
New York 1Final
Chicago 2

Mets 1

(32-33, 18-20 away)

White Sox 2

(33-33, 22-16 home)

    7:05 PM ET, June 12, 2002

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 000000100 1 - -
    CWS 10000001 - 2 - -

    W: R. Biddle (1-0)

    L: A. Leiter (6-6)

    S: A. Osuna (2)

    White Sox win first-ever series with Mets

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Leave it to a Yankees fan to beat the New York Mets.

    Tony Graffanino

    Long Island native Tony Graffanino homered and then drove in the go-ahead run Wednesday night as the Chicago White Sox beat the Mets 2-1. In two starts against the Mets, Graffanino went 3-for-8 with four RBI.

    "I can't say I hated the Mets,'' he said, laughing. "But I definitely liked the Yankees.''

    And the White Sox definitely like Graffanino. Chicago has been struggling offensively the past few weeks, but good things seem to happen whenever Graffanino is in the lineup.

    The victory Wednesday -- only the third one-run win of the year -- got the White Sox back to .500 and pulled them within four games of Minnesota in the AL Central. It also gives them added confidence for the weekend series against the crosstown rival Cubs.

    "We haven't been able to get the big hit and get ahead,'' said Royce Clayton, whose walk in the eighth set up Graffanino's RBI single. "In order to be successful and get to the championship level we want, we're going to have to win games like this.''

    The game was a pitcher's duel for most of the night, with Al Leiter and Dan Wright stifling hitters and rarely letting balls out of the infield. But Leiter (6-6) finally faltered in the eighth and the White Sox took advantage.

    Clayton drew a walk with one out, and Aaron Rowand followed with a double off the left-field wall. Leiter was relieved by Scott Strickland.

    But with the infield playing in, Graffanino poked a single past a diving Mo Vaughn to score Clayton and give the White Sox the lead.

    "I like to get him to the plate as much as possible,'' White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said of Graffanino, who has played second, third and short this season. "He will continue to get at-bats in some way, shape or form.''

    Leiter allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

    "It's frustrating, because Al pitched a great game. Both guys threw well,'' said Mike Piazza, whose leadoff homer in the seventh gave the Mets their only offense. "It's a frustrating game for us because we had a couple of opportunities that we just didn't capitalize on.''

    Rocky Biddle (1-0) worked a third of an inning for the victory. Antonio Osuna pitched the ninth for his second save in as many nights.

    Before Tuesday night, Osuna had not picked up a save since 1998 when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    "Osuna looks like he's very, very confident in closing out games,'' Manuel said. "When we get Keith Foulke squared away, we could have a real good combination there.''

    Graffanino got to Leiter early, homering to left on a 2-1 pitch in the first inning. It was his fourth homer of the year.

    And the White Sox needed that run. They squandered a chance in the second when Carlos Lee was thrown out at the plate, and then didn't get another hit until the seventh inning.

    But Wright was equally masterful, allowing only one hit through the first six innings, a double by Piazza in the second. He allowed only two other baserunners -- both on walks -- but the Mets couldn't do anything until Piazza tied the game in the seventh. As the ball sailed toward the left-field stands, a few fans cheered, but were quickly drowned out by boos.

    Wright struck out Jeromy Burnitz and Jay Payton, then got Mo Vaughn to ground out to end the inning. But when Roger Cedeno led off the eighth with a single, that was it for Wright.

    He scattered three hits over seven innings, lowering his earned-run average to 5.51, but it wasn't enough to get the win. Wright, who lost his last three starts, hasn't won since May 21.

    "We won, that's the main goal,'' Wright said. "I was proud of (the outing). It was a good one. I don't know about the best, but we won the game.''

    Game notes

    White Sox CF Kenny Lofton left the game in the second inning after aggravating a sprained right hamstring. Manuel expects him to play Friday. ... Strickland came into the game having stranded 14 straight inherited runners. ... The loss was Leiter's first at Comiskey Park in five appearances.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press