The White Sox are out to prove they can beat the Cubs any old day of the week, home or away.
They whipped the Cubs for the third straight time in this four-game set Wednesday night with an 8-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field before a crowd of 21,075, the smallest in City Series history.
Sox manager Robin Ventura says he wants his players to focus intently on all of their opponents, whether or not they have a winning record.
“It’s nice to get wins,” Ventura said before Wednesday’s triumph. “We’re scratching and clawing here just because of physically the way we are (beat up) as a team right now.
“Whether it’s these guys or somebody else, we’re pretty happy about being able to stay in games and have a chance to win. The fact that it’s the Cubs, I’m sure fans enjoy that a little bit more and they seemed to enjoy that (Tuesday) night.”
Cubs fans are not sharing the Sox joy. Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who was ejected in the fifth inning, had been hoping to gain a split of this four-game set before Wednesday’s setback.
“It would be great. …. I mean, every game is about trying to win it,” Renteria said. “I’m not talking about trying to even the series as much as just trying to take care of nine innings.”
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Alexei Ramirez’s RBI single after Jose Abreu’s two-out double.
Gordon Beckham, who collected four hits including the go-ahead homer in Tuesday night’s Sox victory, rapped his second homer in the fourth inning off Cubs starter Travis Wood. The three-run blast to left-center made it 4-1.
Paul Konerko, making his first start of this series, delivered a three-run double in the fifth to make it 7-3.
“You want to be prepared when your number gets called,” Konerko said beforehand.
Konerko’s double chased Wood in favor of Brian Schlitter, who gave up an RBI single to Marcus Semien to make it 8-3. Renteria was ejected by home plate umpire Tom Woodring during his visit to the mound.
Wood gave up eight runs on eight hits in four-plus innings. He walked five and struck out three.
It was Wood’s shortest outing of the season. He had pitched 52/3 innings on two previous occasions. His five walks were his most since Aug. 2, 2013 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Mike Olt, serving as the Cubs designated hitter, homered to lead off the fifth inning.
“I got a lot of experience in spring training DHing, so I am a lot better than I was in the past,” Olt said. “It used to be something I didn’t always like to do. I got used to playing and (DHing) kind of gets you out of the game. But now there are a lot more things I focus on during the game.”
Renteria had a hunch Olt would be the right man for his DH role.
“We have looked at all of our lineups for the past six weeks and he is going to give us an opportunity to see what he can do out there,” Renteria said.