Objects in mirror ...
White Sox take series, pull within one game of RoyalsPosted: Wednesday August 06, 2003 5:26 PM
Updated: Thursday August 07, 2003 4:05 AM
CHICAGO (AP) -- A bad back was the only thing to spoil Bartolo Colon's outing.
Colon scattered three hits over eight shutout innings before back pain forced him out of Chicago's 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
The Royals rallied for three runs in the ninth, but it wasn't enough as the White Sox cut Kansas City's lead in the AL Central to one game.
"[Colon] did his job," said catcher Sandy Alomar, who also had an RBI. "A guy that wins big games, a guy that wants the ball when the game's on the line, that's Bartolo."
And no doubt about it, this was a big game. After sweeping the Royals in Kansas City last week, the White Sox took two of three at home. Chicago is a major league-best 15-5 since the All-Star break, and has made up six games on Kansas City.
The teams won't meet again until September, when they'll play seven of their last 10 games against each other.
"These games are meaningful, don't get me wrong," Royals first baseman Ken Harvey said. "But they're not that much that we're going to bang our heads."
No, but they might when they think of how dominating Colon (10-9) was. He allowed his first two batters to reach base, hitting Aaron Guiel with a pitch and walking Joe Randa. But he settled down after that, retiring 11 straight before Harvey led off the fifth with a single past a diving Joe Crede.
Colon rebounded quickly, getting the next nine outs. When he got Raul Ibanez on a called strikeout to end the seventh, the crowd of 25,348 gave him a standing ovation as he walked back to the dugout.
"He was unbelievable," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "He was untouchable for seven innings. My boys tried to do the best they can."
But they had little luck until Colon's back tightened up. Colon began feeling some twinges in the seventh inning, and started the eighth by giving up back-to-back singles to Harvey and Desi Relaford.
After Angel Berroa grounded into a double play, Sandy Alomar asked Colon if he could finish the inning.
"I felt pretty good after the guy hit into the double play," Colon said. "I said, `I can go for one more.' And that's what I did."
Dee Brown followed with a popup to end the inning. As the ball arched high over Crede's head, Brown slammed his bat into the ground, knowing the Royals had squandered their best chance to get to Colon.
The right-hander struck out seven and walked one. He's 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his last four starts.
"He is turning the corner for us," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "Now you can expect and anticipate good outings -- and sometimes dominant outings -- every time he goes out there."
"It's a special atmosphere when you play the Royals because they're in first place," Sandy Alomar said. "That's the team you've got to beat."
The White Sox took the lead early, hitting back-to-back homers off Kris Wilson (5-2) in the third inning. Wilson, making only his second start since May, gave up five hits and two runs in five innings, striking out three and walking three.
Roberto Alomar, once one of the AL's most feared hitters, hadn't homered since the White Sox acquired him from the New York Mets on July 1. But he ended that drought with the first pitch he saw from Wilson, sending it into the Royals' bullpen.
It was Alomar's third homer of the year, and only his 14th since the Cleveland Indians traded him to the Mets after the 2001 season.
"I had to get into the group," Roberto Alomar said. "Everybody's been hitting home runs and I've only been hitting singles. I had to get in the group. I was lonely."
White Sox fans had barely settled back into their seats when Lee homered, this one to left on a full count. He added an RBI single in the seventh, and Sandy Alomar drove in the insurance run in the eighth.
Notes: The White Sox have homered in 18 straight home games. ... Though its lead is down to one game, Kansas City is in first place after Aug. 1 for the first time since 1985. ... The White Sox drew 108,243 fans for the series against the Royals. Except for the annual matchup against the Cubs, that's the largest turnout for a three-game series since the White Sox hosted the Yankees in June 2000. That series drew 112,213. ... Wilson is 0-1 in 11 appearances -- three starts -- against the White Sox.