Pierre's triple gives White Sox third straight win
The good thing about watching two teams with a penchant for self-immolation?
When they face each other, the winner gets to start believing it's catching fire.
The White Sox extended their winning streak to three games with a 6-4 victory over the Cubs on Friday afternoon before a paid crowd of 41,486 at Wrigley Field.
Juan Pierre's 2-run triple in the seventh made the difference.
"Hopefully we do (make a run)," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We've been waiting for that. With the ballclub we have, you always come to the ballpark having a good feeling about winning. That's why it's upsetting and sad every time you lose a game and you wonder why."
The Cubs (34-49) had no problem figuring out why they lost Friday.
Manager Mike Quade took the blame for the pitching moves he didn't make (or made too late) during the White Sox's 4-run seventh.
Seemingly everyone in the park -- except Quade -- recognized the Cubs needed to warm up a left-handed reliever in the seventh. But with none of the Cubs' three lefties getting loose, Guillen felt comfortable sending Adam Dunn to pinch hit against starter Randy Wells in a 4-4 game. Dunn, who entered the box hitting .019 (1 for 53) against lefties, drew a five-pitch walk.
With righty Jeff Samardzija the only ready bullpen alternative, the left-handed Pierre followed with a 2-run triple into the right-field corner to drive in the winning runs.
Only then did Quade remove Wells, who entered the seventh having allowed 2 runs and thrown just 69 pitches.
One moment he was great, the next moment he was gassed and the flammable Cubs weren't prepared to stop, drop and roll with the change.
Wells, who gave up two hard-hit balls in the first 6 innings, opened the seventh by allowing a line-drive single to A.J. Pierzynski and a game-tying 2-run homer by Alexei Ramirez.
"(Wells) was economical," Quade said. "I've got illusions of 8-ish (innings), which would have been fantastic. I'm not backing off this. If (Wells) has got 100-some pitches, he doesn't go out there.
"Samardzija goes out there and we go 7, 8, 9 and hope for the best. The 2-run home run to tie it probably got me overthinking."
Quade wanted to keep lefty Sean Marshall for a save situation. Marshall pitched a scoreless ninth -- striking out Pierre to strand Alex Rios on third -- but the effort came two innings too late.
"I was concerned," Quade said. "I should have said, 'To (heck) with it,' and made that move and used those two guys (Marshall and Samardzija) ... and (Chris) Carpenter could pitch extra innings if that's what it took for us."
Guillen patted himself on the back for the bullpen moves he didn't make in the seventh.
With lefty Will Ohman ready in the pen, Guillen let journeyman reliever Brian Bruney face lefties Blake DeWitt and Kosuke Fukudome with a runner on first. Bruney struck out both with 95 m.p.h. fastballs. Guillen said he stuck with Bruney because he didn't want to burn three relievers then and come up short late.
"That's (bleeping) good managing," Guillen said with a straight face.
His non-moves allowed Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos to close out the game with ease in their normal roles. Santos, who earned his third save in 42 hours, whiffed Alfonso Soriano and Reed Johnson with wicked sliders in the ninth.
So much for the Cubs getting to celebrate something other than Aramis Ramirez's 300th homer.
The veteran third baseman, the 131st big-leaguer to reach that mark, homered a few minutes before the Sox rally that left the Cubs with the same old refrain.
"It seems we just have a bad inning here and there and we just can't recover from it," Ramirez said.