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Hermanson's seventh save closes out Orioles, 3-2

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jon Garland trusts his catchers, his defense and
-- most importantly -- himself. That's why he's the AL's first
seven-game winner this season.

Garland allowed eight hits in eight innings and struck out
Miguel Tejada on a 3-2 changeup with two on to stop a late Orioles'
rally Thursday night as the Chicago White Sox beat Baltimore 3-2.

"It was one of the best pitches I threw all night. There are
some RBI out there for him and he wants to swing the bat and hit.
He swung over the top of it." Garland said of the eighth-inning
strikeout.

"I knew if he got on, I was done. If he was going to beat me,
he was going to hit something good. ... He's one of the best in the
AL. He fouled off a couple of good pitches and things went my way
this time."

Garland (7-0) won his seventh straight start. He's five wins
away from matching his career-high for victories, set in each of
the last three seasons when he's been 36-36.

"Garland's ball seemed like it was moving all over the place
tonight," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "Tejada fouled off a
couple of tough ones, laid off a couple tough ones and he got him
on a good pitch."

Garland, a former first-round draft pick of the Cubs, has
finally combined his physical talent with a stronger mental
approach.

"He's more mature and has more confidence in his pitches,"
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We've given him the
opportunity to be who he is, he thought about it and he's
performed."

Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as
many opportunities. Hermanson has yet to allow a run this season,
spanning 15 appearances.

A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe homered for the White Sox as
Chicago took a 3-0 lead after three innings. Rafael Palmeiro hit a
solo homer for the Orioles in the fifth.

Pitting the teams with the best records in the majors, the
opener of the four-game set drew 29,031 on a 53-degree night at
U.S. Cellular Field.

Many of the crowd had hoped to see Sammy Sosa's return to
Chicago, but the former Cubs star didn't make the trip after going
on the disabled list earlier in the week with a foot abscess and
infection.

Baltimore entered the game leading the American League in
batting average, slugging percentage and homers with 48, but was
short-handed without Sosa and center fielder Luis Matos, who was on
the DL with a broken finger.

Garland faced the minimum number of batters through four
innings, thanks to double plays following a walk to B.J. Surhoff in
the third and a single to Brian Roberts in the fourth.

But Palmeiro hit his third homer and the 554th of his career to
cut the White Sox lead to 3-1 and end Garland's bid for a third
shutout this season. Scott Podsednik then made a nice running catch
before hitting the left field wall to rob Surhoff of extra bases.

Rookie Jeff Fiorentino and Roberts -- who had three singles -- hit
consecutive one-out singles in the eighth, and after David Newhan
hit back to Garland, he almost picked the ball up and threw to
second.

But when he heard Pierzynski call for the ball, he threw home to
get Fiorentino, who was tagged out after falling down in the base
path short of the plate.

It was a big play because Melvin Mora followed with an RBI
single to make it 3-2 and put runners at first and third. But
Garland struck out Tejada swinging to end the threat.

"I was trying to get in a rundown because if they turn a double
play right there, we score no runs," said Fiorentino, just called
up from Class A.

"It wasn't a crucial mistake," Mazzilli added. "It's a tough
read right there for a young kid like that."

Pierzynski's third homer, with one out in the second, put
Chicago ahead 1-0, giving the White Sox a lead in all 35 games this
season to extend their own major league record.

Uribe homered in the third, his fourth of the season, and
Chicago made it 3-0 moments later when Aaron Rowand hit an RBI
double to score Tadahito Iguchi, who had singled off Bruce Chen
(4-2).

Chen lasted five innings, giving up five hits and three runs.

Game notes
Garland has won nine straight starts dating to last season.
The last White Sox pitcher to do that was LaMarr Hoyt, who won 11
straight during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. ... The Orioles'
injury-depleted outfield got more tough news. Larry Bigbie started
in CF with Matos out but left the game in the fourth inning with
tightness in his left hamstring. He's day-to-day. He was replaced
by Fiorentino, whose contract was purchased Wednesday from Class A
Frederick. Fiorentino singled in his first major league at-bat and
went 2-for-2 ... White Sox DH Carl Everett sat out a second
straight game with a leg cramp.