CHICAGO (AP) - The way this one was going, Aramis Ramirez figured the Chicago Cubs would finally hit that, uh, milestone and end their frustration.
No such luck. That three-game win streak is as elusive as ever.
Juan Pierre delivered his second go-ahead hit in as many games, Alexei Ramirez knocked a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox rallied to beat the crosstown Cubs 6-4 Friday in the opener of their weekend series.
Alexei Ramirez connected in the seventh and Pierre added a two-run triple in the inning, turning a two-run deficit into a two-run lead and sending the White Sox to their third straight win.
As for the Cubs, well, they have to win three straight at some point, right? They're the only team in the majors that hasn't, and after dramatic victories over San Francisco the previous two days, things appeared to be looking good for them as this game wound toward the finish.
They were leading 4-2 after Aramis Ramirez hit his 300th homer, a solo shot, in the sixth off Edwin Jackson (5-6). Then, in a flash, it all unraveled for Randy Wells (1-3) and the Cubs in a four-run seventh.
``It seems like we just have a bad inning here and there,' Aramis Ramirez said. ``We gave up four runs, but still, it's a two-run game with three innings to go and we couldn't put anything together.'
A.J. Pierzynski led off the seventh with a single, and Alexei Ramirez tied it with his eighth homer. The White Sox weren't finished.
Alex Rios singled and Adam Dunn, batting for Jackson, walked with one out. Pierre, who has struggled this season, made it 6-4 when he drove in both runners with a triple to the right-field corner, chasing Wells.
That gave Pierre five RBIs in two games. He also had the tiebreaking two-run single in the 10th inning of the White Sox's win over Colorado on Thursday and is 10 for 23 over his last five games, raising his average from .248 to .262. Whether that will quiet calls for the White Sox to part ways with Pierre and call up Dayan Viciedo is unclear, but the recent surge has probably strengthened his manager's resolve to keep him.
``I wish I had 25 Juan Pierres,' said Ozzie Guillen, who has repeatedly defended Pierre.
Pierre appreciates that, but added, ``I hate that he has to answer questions about me.'
The big rally gave Jackson his first win in five weeks. The right-hander wasn't exactly dominant, allowing four runs and five hits in six innings, but he'll take it after going 0-1 in his previous five starts.
Brian Bruney pitched a scoreless seventh. Jesse Crain worked the eighth, and Sergio Santos closed it out in the ninth for his 18th save in 20 opportunities.
Wells, winless since April 4, allowed six runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.
He gave up two runs in the first, but the Cubs got one back in the second and two more in the third on an RBI double by Darwin Barney and sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez, making it 3-2.
Ramirez added to it with one out in the sixth when he drove his 11th homer and second in two days out to left, but things quickly unraveled for Wells and the Cubs.
``I'm not going to hang my head too low,' Wells said. ``I threw the ball well.'
Notes: The Cubs placed starter Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness in his lower back and activated reliever Kerry Wood. ... Cubs SS Starlin Castro made a highlight reel play in the third when he dove to his right to snag Brent Morel's hard smash and, from the outfield grass, fired to first. ... Cubs GM Jim Hendry said OF Marlon Byrd might rejoin the team this weekend. He's been out since May 21 with facial fractures sustained when he was beaned by Boston's Alfredo Aceves. ... RHP Andrew Cashner, on the 60-day DL with a strained right rotator cuff, said he's about 90 percent healed and expects to start throwing in 10 days. He has not set a target date for his return, but said there is ``no doubt in my mind' he will pitch again this season. ... Cubs manager Mike Quade said Marcos Mateo will probably need at least two and ideally three days of rest after tossing five scoreless innings in relief against San Francisco on Thursday. ... Guillen said Dunn could start at first base or right field this weekend. ... The White Sox have won 18 of 19 interleague series, including nine straight on the road.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved