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Chicago Belongs to Cubs for a Day

Grudzielanek's three-run home run and three errors by the White Sox lead to a 7-4 victory in series opener.

June 26, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — After nine weeks on the disabled list, veteran Cub infielder Mark Grudzielanek savors the chance to play in any game, especially the spiced-up atmosphere of a Cubs-White Sox game.

Throw in a glaring sun and a tricky wind that turned fly balls into an adventure, and Friday's interleague series opener, won by the Cubs, 7-4, had yet another twist.

"It was a situation, too, where the fans -- there was some electricity going on out there -- you couldn't really hear each other to call each other off," said Grudzielanek, who hit a fifth-inning homer.

"The wind was blowing like crazy and the sun definitely made it more difficult. You saw that on both sides. It was tough to communicate."

Grudzielanek, wearing a boot on a sore Achilles' tendon after the game, picked a good time for his first homer and runs batted in.

A sellout crowd of 39,596 watched his three-run shot give the Cubs the lead and Mark Prior the victory at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox made three errors.

"It was a football atmosphere, really," said the Cubs' Todd Hollandsworth.

"The crowd was into every pitch. You wish you could do it every day."

Trailing, 6-1, the White Sox made a game of it when Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer off Kyle Farnsworth with two out in the eighth.

"For the most part today it was kind of a non-energy game, kind of ho-hum," Konerko said.

"It got a little interesting at the end, just a little bit too late. They just kind of outplayed us in every aspect. They were good, we weren't too good."

Ramon Martinez had a solo shot in the ninth for the Cubs to make it 7-4.

Struggling with his pitch count, Prior (2-1) gave up two hits and a run in five innings, walking three and striking out six.

He left after throwing 99 pitches.

Jon Garland (5-5), a first-round draft choice of the Cubs in 1997, took the loss.

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