White Sox escape heat with split

White Sox escape heat with split

CHICAGO -- Manager Ozzie Guillen tries to give Tadahito Iguchi a day off every now and then, since the former Japanese star isn't used to playing a 162-game schedule.

Sunday was one of those days where Guillen thought about sitting Iguchi, with really hot weather expected in Chicago and a day game after a long night one.

Boy is he glad he changed his mind.

Iguchi went 3-for-4 in Sunday's game with a home run and three RBIs, helping spark the White Sox to a 6-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

"I was going to give him a day off because it was going to be so hot," Guillen said. "Thank God somebody told me to give him a chance."

Hot it was for Iguchi and his teammates as temperatures soared to the 100-degree mark when the first pitch was thrown. It was the hottest game at U.S. Cellular Field since 1994.

Iguchi may have had to suffer through the heat to play, but he was a key part of the offensive resurgence for the White Sox. The Sox struggled on Saturday night to get runs in but Sunday was a different story. Chicago went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and scored four of its runs with two outs.

"We got some big hits in some key situations, got some baserunners on, and matched them in hits," Scott Podsednik said. "It was nice to get the offense going after struggling last night."

Podsednik, along with Iguchi, was one of the key performers in the game. Podsednik tallied three hits on the day including two doubles. He scored two runs in the game, thanks to hits by Iguchi, but helped set the pace by getting on base with two outs in both situations.

Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the first off a two-run double by Paul Konerko.

Boston (54-44) tied up the score in the second on a sacrifice fly by Alex Cora, but Iguchi added two more runs in the bottom of the inning with his 351-foot homer to right, his eighth of the year. Ross Gload recorded his first double of the season in the third to score a run for the White Sox, and Iguchi finished off the scoring for the White Sox with an RBI single in the seventh.

Though it was the top of the order that helped the White Sox build an early lead, Jose Contreras did his part as well to keep his team in the game. Contreras (6-6) worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, while striking out six. In one of his more controlled outings of the season against a tough Red Sox lineup, Contreras limited his walks to only two.

"He was one pitch away from doing what I wanted," Guillen said of Contreras' performance. "I was happy with what I saw. He was facing a pretty good lineup and I thought he threw the ball real well today."

After Contreras left the game in the sixth, the White Sox bullpen did its part in shutting down Boston. Neal Cotts added to his streak of scoreless outings, tallying his eighth straight with his 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. Cotts was replaced by Cliff Politte, who gave up only one hit and struck out one in an inning of work.

"Those two kids are the most underrated players on my roster," Guillen said of Cotts and Politte. "They did a tremendous job, especially Cotts. He went out there and learned a lot and now he's a big league pitcher. They do a tremendous job for us and one of the biggest reasons we are where we are is because of their tremendous pitching."

The win wasn't quite so easy though, as Boston made a run at tying up the game in the ninth. Guillen brought Damaso Marte in to start the ninth but pulled him after he walked the first two batters and faced the tying run at the plate. Dustin Hermanson then came in and gave up a hit that scored one run for Boston. He got the next two batters to fly out and ground out to pick up his 23rd save of the season.

The victory gave the South Siders a split of the four-game series with the Red Sox and brought their lead over the Minnesota Twins back to 11 1/2 games.

The players were happy after the game to pick up victory No. 64 of the season, but seemed even happier to have survived the heat wave.

"It was very hot out there. It was nice there was a little breeze, but it was a warm breeze," Cotts said laughing.

And though Iguchi had to play through the heat with Guillen's decision to start him, he didn't seem to mind too much. The Sox second baseman didn't know of Guillen's consideration about keeping him out of the game, but when he heard of it after the game, Iguchi chuckled.

"Maybe I'll get a day off tomorrow now," Iguchi said through his interpreter.

Kelly Thesier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.