After receiving plenty of nasty e-mails a week ago, manager Ozzie Guillen had a pretty good feeling about the state of White Sox fans Sunday night.
"It will be a different Monday in Chicago," Guillen said after the Sox exacted revenge with a 5-1 victory to complete their first three-game sweep of the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field, payback for the Cubs' sweep at Wrigley Field a week earlier.
"I bet you White Sox fans can't wait to get up and go to work," Guillen said. "I know it was tough for them last weekend. It's nice to see the fans get a smile on their faces."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella wasn't smiling Sunday night as his team lost its season-high fourth straight game. He was ejected in the bottom of the second inning for leaving the dugout to challenge first-base umpire Chad Fairchild's ruling that Joe Crede checked his swing on an 0-2 pitch.
That merely saved Piniella the frustration of watching Mark Buehrle and two relievers continually frustrate his offense. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who hit four homers in the Cubs' sweep at Wrigley, went 0-for-13 and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
The reversal on Ramirez may have had something to do with Guillen's instruction for his pitchers to pound Ramirez with inside pitches. But the Sox also turned four double plays, capped by Nick Swisher catching Jim Edmonds' line drive and throwing to second to double up Mark DeRosa in the ninth.
The Sox (46-35) maintained their 11/2-game lead in the American League Central thanks to Buehrle's crafty seven-inning effort and home runs by Carlos Quentin, Brian Anderson and Jim Thome.
Chants of "Sweep, Sweep" echoed throughout the ballpark after Thome launched his 522nd home run with two outs in the eighth to move past Willie McCovey and Ted Williams for sole possession of 16th place on the career home run list.
The Cubs (49-33), meanwhile, lost their distinction of owning the major leagues' best record after losing their sixth consecutive road game.
"I can't figure out why that is, but we're going to have to correct it if we want to go far," DeRosa said.
The Sox won their sixth consecutive home game and have won 15 of their last 17 at U.S. Cellular with seven games left on this homestand. They seek to extend their success in AL play after posting a 12-6 mark in interleague play.
"All we do is hit home runs," Buehrle quipped. "That's what it seems like."
Quentin hit his 19th homer of the season in the fourth, and Anderson followed with a two-run shot off Sean Marshall in the fifth. All four of Anderson's homers have been hit off left-handers.
"It's awesome," Anderson said of hitting a homer in the City Series. "It's great to give our fans that sweep, and it makes it that much more fun if we meet up with them later."
But both teams realize there's plenty of work ahead.
"We've lost four in a row and we need to kind of regroup and try to win a ballgame in San Francisco," Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell said. "But these guys are a fine club, no question about it. There's basically a half a season to go. I would think they feel pretty good about their chances, as we do."
Thome tempered his enthusiasm over his milestone homer.
"The excitement, the atmosphere, the energy in the air, the city," Thome said. "Cubs fans and our fans were very electric. It's very humbling and surreal to be among [McCovey and Williams]. Looking back someday, it will be something to be very proud of.
"But we've got work to do. We've got to move on."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun