Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Chi White Sox won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, September 12
Chi White Sox4Final
Boston7
Game 2: Saturday, September 13
Chi White Sox3Final
Boston1
Game 3: Sunday, September 14
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Boston2

White Sox 7

(80-69, 32-42 away)

Red Sox 2

(86-62, 47-26 home)

    2:05 PM ET, September 14, 2003

    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

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    W: M. Buehrle (13-13)

    L: J. Burkett (10-8)

    S: D. Marte (11)

    Buehrle not at his best but strong enough

    BOSTON (AP) -- Mark Buehrle kept the Chicago White Sox in first place and the Boston Red Sox in a slump.

    Buehrle pitched seven strong innings as the White Sox won 7-2 Sunday. Chicago took two of three at Fenway Park, limiting the top offense in the major leagues to 19 hits in the series.

    "We're in a good situation," Chicago catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. said. "The last two games here, our pitchers backed us up and our offense came around."

    Chicago and Minnesota, which beat Cleveland 5-3, are 3½ games ahead of third-place Kansas City in the AL Central. The co-leaders begin a three-game series Tuesday at Minnesota.

    Buehrle (13-13) didn't have his best stuff, relying more on a strong sinker than a mediocre cutter and slider. But he started pitching with a 2-0 lead after Roberto Alomar's double off John Burkett (10-8) and Carlos Lee's 30th homer.

    Buehrle was solid when he needed to be as Boston got leadoff hits in five of his seven innings. And he didn't have to face Nomar Garciaparra, who missed the game with the flu.

    "I got myself in a lot of jams, fell behind the count a lot. And I couldn't throw strike one to save my life," Buehrle said.

    But with Chicago ahead 5-2 with no outs in the sixth and two on, Buehrle got David Ortiz to ground into a double play.

    "We were getting ready to unload on him right there," Boston manager Grady Little said. "That was the pivotal point in the game."

    Buehrle allowed two runs and seven hits, and Damaso Marte worked two innings for his 11th save in 18 chances.

    The Red Sox, who lost their second straight, remained 5½ games behind the AL-East leading Yankees. Boston remained a half-game ahead of Seattle in the wild-card race.

    "We feel like we're putting up runs better than anybody in the league," Johnny Damon said, "and we're going to have to do it to make the playoffs."

    It was the seventh time in eight starts that Buehrle allowed two runs or fewer, and he improved to 11-3 in his last 18 starts. A day earlier, Bartolo Colon pitched a five-hit complete game for Chicago in a 3-1 win.

    Boston won the opener 7-4 with 12 walks and only five hits Friday night.

    "We needed to start to play some good baseball," Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. "I figure we've got another good streak left in us."

    Minnesota and Chicago share the AL's best record since the All-Star break at 35-20.

    "It was definitely big for us to come out of here with two out of three for the simple reason it's the Red Sox," Manuel said. "It's one of those teams that's way above .500."

    Buehrle retired the side in order in the first before Manny Ramirez led off the second with his 33rd homer. The Red Sox tied the game in the third on singles by Gabe Kapler and Damian Jackson and a sacrifice fly by Bill Mueller.

    Starting with the last out of the first, Burkett retired 12 of 13 batters, allowing only a walk. Then Chicago made it 5-2 in the fifth on Sandy Alomar Jr.'s fifth homer, a walk to Roberto Alomar and RBI doubles by Lee and Magglio Ordonez.

    Frank Thomas drove in the final two runs with a single in the ninth off Bronson Arroyo.

    Boston wasted leadoff hits in three straight innings, leaving runners on third base in the fifth and sixth.

    Kapler doubled in the fifth and took third on a groundout before Damon grounded out and Mueller struck out. Todd Walker and Ramirez singled in the sixth, but Ortiz grounded into a double play and Kevin Millar grounded out.

    Jason Varitek singled in the seventh before Kapler and Jackson both grounded into forceouts -- barely beating throws to first and avoiding double plays. Damon then grounded out.

    Game notes


    Lee left the game in the seventh after twisting his right foot but said he will play Tuesday . ... Thomas, who struck out in three of his four at-bats Saturday, fanned twice Sunday. ... Mueller's sacrifice fly set a Boston record with 60. Mueller also drove in his 80th run, giving the Red Sox a team-record seven players with 80 or more. They had seven in 1938. ... Ordonez and Ramirez each had three hits. ... Five of the six hits off Burkett went for extra bases. ... Garciaparra was 3-for-30 in his previous seven games, dropping his batting average to .309, its lowest level since May 31.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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