Share this article

print logo


A know-it-all baseball scribe from the East Coast put in a call to the White Sox's general manager, Ken Williams, as the club was getting off to a best-in-the-bigs record of 15-4.

Williams quickly came to realize that the guy thought the Sox's start was a stroke of luck, an aberration, a fluke.

"I'm sorry that you don't like our manager," Williams says he told him.

"I'm sorry that you don't like our 3-4-5 hitters. Or our closer.

"I'm sorry that you don't like our third baseman and our shortstop. Or our left fielder and our right fielder.

"I'm sorry people feel this way about our club. But I also want you to know something about that: We don't care."

The White Sox are white hot. Going into Monday's game at Oakland, the Sox already had as many victories as Cleveland and Detroit combined. Not to mention nearly twice as many as the New York Yankees.

Then they went out and whipped the A's, 6-0, as Jon Garland threw a complete game four-hitter. Garland, the Sox's No. 5 starter, joined Seattle's Jamie Moyer as the only four-game winners in the American League as the Sox extended their winning streak to eight games.

Garland was in command from the outset. He walked only one batter in pitching the third complete game of his career and his first shutout since Aug. 28, 2002. Garland (4-0) lowered his ERA to 1.80. He hasn't yielded a home run in his last 25 innings.

"He deserved it," manager Ozzie Guillen said of his decision to let Garland finish the game. "Besides, we let the bullpen rest."

Garland was locked in a scoreless duel with left-hander Barry Zito until the seventh. That's when the Sox came up with their latest element of surprise.

It came in the form of backup catcher Chris Widger, who pulled a two-run homer over the left-field fence. Widger, who was out of the majors last year, hit his last home run Aug. 9, 2000, as a member of the Seattle Mariners off the Sox's Mike Sirotka.

"A guy in my position, you don't try to hit a homer any time, much less against a guy who throws like that," Widger said.

The White Sox have gotten strong hitting by Willie Harris, Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi, seven homers by Paul Konerko, and a 0.00 earned-run average by relief pitcher Dustin Hermanson.

Birds drain Wells

BOSTON -- It took one pitch for the Baltimore Orioles to prove that Monday night was going to be different.

Brian Roberts lined David Wells' first offering back up the middle. Two batters later, the Orioles had a run and a lead, both so elusive last week against Wells and the Boston Red Sox. Three innings later, Wells was heading to the dugout, with the Orioles' hot bats and a sprained foot to blame.

B.J. Surhoff hit a two-run home run, Roberts had three hits and two RBIs and the resurgent Bruce Chen gave his team another solid outing, beating the Red Sox, 8-4, before 35,003 at Fenway Park.

Wells (2-3), who held Baltimore to three hits over eight shutout innings Wednesday, walked gingerly back to the mound after trying to field Javy Lopez's slow roller. A trainer went out to the mound, but Wells remained in the game for five more batters before leaving.

"David Wells is being evaluated now at Beth Israel," said Boston manager Terry Francona, referring to a hospital. "Right now it's a foot sprain."

Chen (2-1) pitched six innings of three-run ball, leaving in the seventh with runners on first and second and no outs. Reliever Todd Williams, who hasn't given up an earned run this season, got out of the jam and got the ball to closer B.J. Ryan, who pitched a scoreless ninth.

Around the horn

Aaron Heilman held the Braves to two hits over seven innings to earn a 5-4 victory for the Mets. Heilman gave up a run in the first inning then retired 15 straight batters. Mike Piazza doubled home Kaz Matsui with the tying run in the sixth, then Cliff Floyd hit his fifth home run.

Oliver Perez shook off a season-long slump to allow four hits over 7 2/3 innings, leading the Pirates to a 2-0 victory over Roy Oswalt and the Astros.

Taking advantage of seven walks offered by Washington pitchers -- plus two errors -- the Phillies built a four-run lead, then held on to beat the Nationals, 5-4.

Mark Prior (3-0) struck out 10 in six strong innings and Neifi Perez hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs to lead the Cubs over the Reds, 10-6.

Carlos Guillen and Dmitri Young homered, and the Tigers rallied for two runs in the seventh to beat the Twins, 6-4. The Tigers announced that Earl Wilson, a starting pitcher for the team during the 1968 World Series championship season, died of a heart attack Monday at age 70. He finished with 35 homers in 740 career at-bats, two short of Wes Ferrell's major-league record for homers by a pitcher.

The Blue Jays fired hitting coach Mike Barnett and replaced him with first-base coach Mickey Brantley.