Making his seventh career start, the 22-year-old White Sox right-hander limited the potent Red Sox lineup to three hits over seven scoreless innings, leading Chicago to a 5-3 win at Fenway Park in the makeup of an Aug. 14 rainout in Boston.
Monday's impressive outing on a picture-perfect day ran McCarthy's scoreless string to 14 2/3 innings and came on the heels of his shutout effort over 7 2/3 innings Aug. 30 in Texas. McCarthy hasn't allowed a run since his final inning against Tampa Bay on July 4.
The key to the day for McCarthy (2-1) was his changeup, a pitch that kept Red Sox batters off-balance all day.
"It certainly helped today, because [my] fastball command wasn't there," McCarthy said. "I was up with [the fastball] all day and wasn't really able to get ahead. I just think that was something that kept them off of it a little bit. If that changeup isn't there, I think it's probably a rough day."
Guillen lifted McCarthy after throwing 121 pitches in seven innings.
"He's been trying to come back out with the same attitude and the same performance," Guillen said. "He has come out and pitched two big games for us."
"Throw strikes and keep the ball off the middle of the plate and keep the ball in the yard," said the lanky right-hander. "There were a couple of pitches here and there that I didn't think were good pitches. Those pitches right there on a different day could be the difference between seven innings scoreless and seven innings, four runs. I just tried to throw quality strikes more than anything else."
The victory was Chicago's fifth straight and gave them a five-game lead in the loss column over the Red Sox for the best record in the American League.
Paul Konerko homered, doubled and scored twice while Juan Uribe added a solo homer and three hits to pace the White Sox offense against Curt Schilling (5-7). The White Sox touched the Red Sox right-hander for nine hits and four runs over 6 1/3 innings.
"[The] bottom line is no one really wanted to play the game," Konerko said. "It's the not the best thing to do in the middle of homestand to hop on a plane to Boston, but the fact is we had to play it and everyone showed up. And more than anybody today, our starting pitcher was phenomenal, and that's the story. He just set the tone, put up zeros and kicked everyone in gear."
Schilling did make history in the fourth inning when he struck out Carl Everett swinging. It was 2,804th strikeout of Schilling's career, moving him past Cy Young and into 17th place on the all-time list. Schilling finished with four strikeouts on the day.
The White Sox won despite being picked off the bases twice, including once at second base during a first and second, none out rally in the seventh.
"That really doesn't bother me, because that's how we play," Guillen said. "We steal bases and that's going to happen. I don't want my players not playing aggressively."
The White Sox built their lead to 5-0 on Uribe's line drive homer off the light tower in left leading off the ninth.
Hopes for a second consecutive combined shutout in a McCarthy start went out the window with two outs in the ninth when Tony Graffanino smashed an 84 mph slider from Bobby Jenks over the Green Monster in left, cutting the lead to 5-3. But Konerko made a diving stop of a Gabe Kapler grounder and won a footrace to the first base bag to end the game.
Following its first one-game series on the road since Sept. 25, 2000, at Cleveland, the White Sox return to Chicago, opening a three-game series against the Royals on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I told my players, 'Don't just play this one game to [fill] out the schedule. This is a big game for us,'" Guillen said. "That's their job. They get paid a lot of money to do that. The last three weeks of the season are very important. It's something you have to prepare for mentally and be tough. You have to toughen up."