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Prior Is Impressive in Return

June 27, 2005|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Mark Prior made it clear he didn't rush his return from the disabled list.

Prior gave up one hit in six innings and retired 18 of his 19 batters Sunday, outpitching Jon Garland to send the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I felt pretty good," Prior said. "Most athletes know if they're ready or not."

Corey Patterson's solo home run in the sixth broke a scoreless tie for the Cubs, who took two of three on the road to split the season series at three games apiece. The White Sox won two of three at Wrigley Field in May.

Making his first start since May 27, when a line drive fractured a bone in his right elbow, Prior (5-1) dominated the White Sox, who have the best record in baseball. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

After giving up a single to Pablo Ozuna in the third, Prior retired his final 10 batters and erased any doubts about whether he was ready to return.

While he was out, Prior threw two simulated games but did not make any minor league rehabilitation starts. "After the first simulated game, I didn't feel ready. After the second one, I did," said Prior, who threw 71 pitches -- 50 for strikes. "I just tried to go out there and throw a good game."

Jerome Williams pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Dempster got three outs for his 11th save in 12 chances, getting Carl Everett on a double play to end the game.

Trying to become the first 13-game winner in the majors, Garland (12-3) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one. Garland retired his first 10 batters before Neifi Perez's single and shut out the Cubs through the first five innings.

With one out in the sixth, Patterson homered to right on an 0-2 pitch. He has 11 home runs -- all solo shots.

"It may have been a curve down and in," said Patterson, who was six for 39 on the Cubs' 10-game trip before the homer. "I was able to keep my head on it and just put a good swing on it. ... To be honest, I thought it was a pretty good pitch."

The Cubs added an unearned run in the seventh.

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