In the top of the seventh inning Wednesday, it was hard to tell whether there were more White Sox fans in Wrigley Field or whether silent bats had put Cubs fans to sleep.
So when the White Sox's Chris Getz came charging from third base and Scott Podsednik laid down a perfect bunt toward first base, it clearly had become a South Side type of day.
Thousands of the 40,444 witnesses to Chicago's intracity interleague battle erupted in unison, with Cubs fans left to mutely mull exactly who hit the offense's snooze button.
Asked if it sounded like U.S. Cellular Field, Podsednik said: "Yeah, it did. I don't know the ratio, but you could tell we had a lot of fans. That's fun."
Nothing was fun for Cubs fans -- or players -- on an overcast afternoon as the White Sox won 4-1 to take a 34-33 all-time lead in this series.
Game 2 is Thursday, but the series won't be concluded until Sept. 3, the likely date of the makeup game from Tuesday's rainout.
"The key of this game was John Danks," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
And the Cubs -- with five losses in their last six games in which they have scored a total of 10 runs, including four in one loss -- could not argue that.
Danks scattered five hits as he pitched into the eighth inning before Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks finished up. Last June 20 at Wrigley, Danks also allowed one run in six innings.
"Pitching here last year really helped, knowing what the atmosphere here was going to be like," the young left-hander said. "I really didn't have the jitters I had last year, so I could focus on throwing strikes."
And he did, as 71 of his 99 pitches were for strikes.
Ryan Dempster didn't throw nearly as many, 51 of 104 pitches, and it cost him when, already down 2-0, he walked the first two batters in the seventh inning and one scored.
"What a grind," Dempster said. "At times I didn't attack the strike zone very well."
Dempster put himself in a hole early with an Alexei Ramirez home run in the first inning. Then, in the second, Brian Anderson singled and scored on Getz's triple.
And then came the seventh inning, with Getz at third, Danks at first and Podsednik batting. Down went the ball, up went the run and wild went the crowd.
"I wasn't even looking at signs," Danks said. "I knew I wasn't going to get the steal sign. I was as surprised as the next guy."
As for the Cubs on offense, they had the first two runners on in the second and fourth innings but couldn't get any of them home. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 67 baserunners in their last eight games.
"Danks pitched a good game, they executed a good squeeze bunt, and we didn't do much offensively," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "That's about it. That's the ballgame in a nutshell."
Guillen, knowing there is still one game left in Wrigley and three more at the Cell coming in 10 days, preached patience -- to Cubs fans.
"If I had to bet, with all respect to St. Louis, Milwaukee and all those teams, the Cubs are going to be in the pennant race. Don't worry about the Cubs."
Regardless, Cubs fans seem disheartened.
"It just seemed like there wasn't as much energy as there has been in the past for this series," Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "But I'm sure with [ Carlos] Zambrano pitching [Thursday] it will be there, and this place will be loud. But it's still fun."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun