BOSTON (AP) -- The best team in baseball came to Boston and threw
its two best pitchers at the Red Sox.
So far, all the Chicago White Sox have to show for this
potential playoff preview is a pair of losses.
"This is a team where you cannot mess around," White Sox
manager Ozzie Guillen said. "With that lineup, you have to be
almost perfect to beat them."
David Ortiz went 3-for-4, stringing together seven consecutive
hits over two days, and Tim Wakefield cruised into the seventh
inning on Saturday night to beat Chicago 7-4 and lead the Red Sox
to their sixth straight victory.
Tony Graffanino also had three hits for Boston, which has won 13
consecutive home games and 14 of its last 16 overall. The White Sox
have the best record in baseball but need a win on Sunday to avoid
their second sweep of the season.
That will be the last time the current AL East and Central
leaders play this season -- unless they meet in the postseason.
Asked if the season series, which the Red Sox lead 4-2, is a way
to measure how they compare heading into the playoffs, first
baseman Kevin Millar said, "We know we're big dogs. We don't need
Wakefield (12-9) earned his fourth consecutive win after taking
a shutout into a 40-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth.
When he came out for the top of the seventh, he gave up consecutive
homers to Paul Konerko and Aaron Rowand.
The knuckleballer allowed two runs and seven hits, striking out
five in 6 2-3 innings.
"He was so good, and then he went back out," Boston manager
Terry Francona said. "He had such a good night, I just thought it
was time to get him out of there."
"I didn't have a good breaking ball," Garland said. "I
haven't had one for a while now."
Ortiz went 4-for-5 with six RBI on Friday night, getting a
double, a single and two homers in his last four at-bats. On
Saturday, he singled in his first two at-bats and then doubled for
his seventh hit in a row; there was also an intentional walk in the
middle, when Guillen decided he'd rather face Manny Ramirez in the
"David was hitting everything," Francona said. "I can
understand it. I'm sure they weren't real thrilled about it."
Luis Vizcaino struck out Ortiz in the eighth to end the streak.
Roberto Petagine homered to lead off the second inning -- his
first major league home run since 1998. He played the intervening
six seasons in Japan. Edgar Renteria, Ortiz and Ramirez hit
consecutive singles and all scored in the third to make it 4-0.
Graffanino doubled and scored on Renteria's single to make it
5-0 in the sixth before Konerko hit his 30th homer of the season
and the 200th of his career in the seventh. Rowand followed to make
"It's cool, but there's a lot of guys walking around with 200
homers," Konerko said. "It's not that cool."
Bill Mueller and Graffanino doubled and scored in the seventh to
make it 7-2. Chicago threatened in the eighth, scoring an unearned
run off Mike Remlinger before Curt Schilling came on and struck out
Rowand to end the inning.
Jermaine Dye homered in the ninth to make it 7-4.
The game was delayed for 40 minutes in the sixth inning during a
heavy storm with lightning that forced the evacuation of the Green
Monster seats and right field roof boxes. When it resumed, Ortiz
lofted a high fly toward the Fisk Pole that Pablo Ozuna watched as
it landed in fair territory for a double.
Garland was trying to become the first White Sox pitcher
since Jack McDowell in 1993 to win 17 of his first 23 starts. ...
For the second time in two appearances with the Red Sox, Remlinger
failed to get an out. ... White Sox OF Scott Podsednik sat out with
a left leg injury. He is also expected to miss Sunday's game before
the team decides whether to put him on the disabled list. ... On
Aug. 13, 1988, the Red Sox won their record 24th consecutive home
game. ... Boston CF Johnny Damon was scratched from the lineup with
a sore left hamstring. He left Friday night's game in the ninth