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Diaz throws six strong innings

CHICAGO (AP) -- Power and poise helped the White Sox get even
with the Cubs.

Paul Konerko, Joe Crede and Jose Valentin homered, rookie
starter Felix Diaz got his first major league win and new closer
Shingo Takatsu lived up to his nickname "Mr. Zero."

It added up to a 6-3 victory Saturday that knotted the spirited
crosstown interleague series at one game apiece.

"I think we were a little more calm today as a team," Konerko
said after his second three-run homer in as many games. "We were
kind of geeked up yesterday. I think we had a better approach
today.

"I love these games. They're fun."

If you win, they are. And after capturing the series opener 7-4
Friday, the Cubs couldn't overcome the wildness of starter Carlos
Zambrano, who surrendered a season-high five walks and eight hits
in six innings.

Konerko and Crede both homered in a five-run third off Zambrano,
who had won four straight decisions and not lost since May 25.

"One bad outing, it's already in the past," said Zambrano,
looking forward to another chance next weekend against the Sox at
Wrigley Field.

"My next start is against them at home and hopefully it will be
better."

Diaz (1-1) earned his first big league win by keeping his
composure in a frenetic setting at U.S. Cellular Field. He'd just
been called up Friday to start the game after Scott Schoeneweis was
put on the disabled list with a sore elbow.

Roughed up in his first two major league starts earlier this
season when he gave up 11 earned runs in 8 2-3 innings, Diaz came
through with a much stronger effort when the White Sox needed it.

"He tried to pitch the same way he did in the minors," White
Sox catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. said, translating for Diaz. Then, Diaz
surprised Alomar and everyone else during a news conference by
speaking for himself in English.

"You need to keep the ball down at all times," he said.

Diaz allowed six hits, including Corey Patterson's solo homer in
the fifth, and three runs. Cliff Politte pitched 1 1-3 scoreless
innings, Damaso Marte got one out in the eighth before Takatsu
retired Sammy Sosa on a grounder to end the inning.

Takatsu, the Japanese saves leaders known as "Mr. Zero,"
pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in as many chances,
extending his scoreless streak to 25 1-3 innings over 23 outings.

Throwing some pitches that didn't even register 70 mph, Takatsu
has taken over as the closer with a side-arming array that throws
off the timing of opposing hitters.

"He was the saves leader in Japan and they play good baseball
in Japan," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "You don't see that
kind of speed differential very often. You throw 90 and then you go
down to 65 or 60 whatever that slow pitch he has. ... It's really
hard to pick up."

Konerko's homer followed walks to Frank Thomas and Carlos Lee in
the third and gave him 19 for the season, one more than he had last
year.

"I like hitting home runs -- everybody does -- but I'm trying to
become a tougher out," said Konerko who struggled last season with
a career-low .234 average.

After Timo Perez followed with a single and then drew several
throws from Zambrano as he danced off first, Crede connected to
left center for a 5-0 lead, sending the mostly White Sox crowd into
a tizzy.

The Cubs pecked away. Patterson doubled and later scored on a
sacrifice fly by Sosa, who was a DH for the first time since 1989
when he was a rookie with Texas. When Aramis Ramirez, Todd
Hollandsworth and Derrek Lee hit consecutive two-out singles, the
Cubs had cut the lead to 5-2.

Patterson's ninth homer made it a two-run game in the fifth.

Valentin lofted a homer to right leading off the seventh off
Francis Beltran.

Game notes
A crowd of 39,553, announced as a sellout, was on hand. ...
Sosa, who missed a month with a sprained ligament in his back, said
it feels fine. "They ice it every day," he said. ... Sox
outfielder Magglio Ordonez, on the DL after surgery on his left
knee, took batting practice and worked in the cage Saturday. ...
Thomas reached base four times with two walks and a single and was
also hit by a pitch. ... The White Sox have homered in 21 straight
home games.