The Best Team in Baseball, the Chicago White Sox, dropped a rare one last night to Kansas City, which they had royally flushed the previous 10 games. Today is the rubber match from uncharacteristically cool Kansas City, where it's a lovely 70-something degrees with no rain on the radar.

Jon Garland guns for a major-league leading 16th victory, while pear-shaped right-hander Runelvys Hernandez looks to win his fourth straight start. That could be a tall order, considering he's 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts this season against the South Siders.

We'll have baseball soon, Sox fans. Sit tight and, as Hawk says, strap it down. Not sure what he's referring to, but if you got something loose you might want to fasten it to something moored to your desk. You also might want to pretend you're busy, so your boss doesn't bug you.

The ESPN telecast of this game is blacked out, so we're going with Hawk and DJ all day. I love DJ's intro of Hawk that leads all the way up to the first pitch. It's reminiscent of James Brown's--when his band comes on for a few numbers and then the sax player lists the Godfather of Soul's hits and accomplishments before he hits the stage right on the first note of "Ain't It Funky Now." Or not.

Today's lineups.

First inning

Scott Podsednik, as he usually does, leads it off for the Sox and he grounds out to second. Tadahito Iguchi lofts one to right where a running Emil Brown makes the catch going backwards. Aaron Rowand swings at the first pitch and grounds out to short.

Couple of questions from the message board: Neil, Shingo was designated 10 days ago today, or last Monday, so I'm sure there will be an announcement soon of what the Sox will do with the frisbee-throwing reliever. Kevin, this season Garland is 4-2 with a 3.98 ERA in the day compared to 11-2, 2.84 at night.

Garland starts with David DeJesus and he pops out to Crede, who had to fight the sun just a bit. Terrence Long bounces one to Iguchi, who plays it off his body but has plenty of time to get the runner. Mike Sweeney dribbles one to the right side that Iguchi handles and that's it for a quiet first.

Was anyone else watching ESPN before this game? Huge PBA skills challenge, yet another event I didn't know existed. One guy bowled four balls at once, another nailed a strike through the legs of three plastic lawn chairs set up in the lane. I imagine a lot of Miller High Lifes, which stunningly was the sponsor of the event, were downed coming up with those tricks. And like the NBA slam dunk contest, you shouldn't be able to use lawn chairs. Standing ashtrays maybe, but when's the last time you saw a lawn chair in a bowling alley?

Second inning

Hernandez drops in a back-door curve on Carl Everett for a called third strike. Everett didn't like it and neither did Ozzie Guillen, who's out having a conversation with home-plate ump Tim Timmons. Everett comes back out and yells at Timmons before Joey Cora has to drag him back to the dugout. Everett thought it was outside and was tossed as he walked back to the dugout the first time. He was run apparently for waving his hand a bit, meaning he thought it was outside. He didn't like the second strike either. Ticky-tack call there. Jermaine Dye strikes out swinging. I'm not sure I've seen a guy get tossed for anything like that. Ross Gload draws a two-out walk. Crede pops out to short.

About Everett, yes, he was waving his hand about a previous strike in the at-bat. Matt Stairs, who you get the feeling if there weren't such a thing as the Kansas City Royals, would be out of baseball, hits one up the middle where Juan Uribe makes a nice sliding stop and has all day to get the Battleship Stairs. Emil Brown slaps a single the other way through the hole for the game's first hit. I didn't realize we had so many bowlers reading today. Anyway, they haven't announced who the new DH is. If they did, I missed it and apologize. But we'll know soon enough. Moneyballer Mark Teahen flies out to Podsednik in left. Angel Berroa lines out to Iguchi to end the inning.

Third inning

Chris Widger leads off the Sox's third. Widger flies out to Brown in right. Uribe strikes out swinging. Podsednik ends a quick top of the inning with a chopper to third.

DeJesus flies out to Rowand in center. Garland jams Long who lifts one of the weakest pop flies in the history of baseball right back to Garland. The rest of the infielders didn't even move. Sweeney hits a sinking liner to right and Dye makes a nice diving catch to end the inning. This game's rolling along and Mark Buehrle isn't even pitching.

This game is scoreless, in case you're just joining us or not paying attention. Or both.

Fourth inning

Iguchi, Iggy, the Goocher, the Gooch, the guy needs a nickname, flies out to right. Rowand hits one deep to left, Hawk implores it to "Stretch!", but that ball hits off the top of the wall or something out there and it's a double. Just missed a homer. Comcast has no good replay. OK, hard-hitting Timo Perez is the new DH. Perez lines one to right and Brown robs him with a diving catch similar to Dye's that ended the third. Dye pops to short and Rowand is stranded at second. Maybe the Coast Guard will come by and pick him up.

This Go-Kart race they're having at U.S. Cellular next week needs to be around the warning track, not in the parking lot. OK, this lineup I provided everyone and the one I am using is wrong. No, I'm just wrong. The bottom of the third was the bottom of the Royals' lineup, not the top as I had. It should've been Ruben Gotay, John Buck and then leadoff hitter David DeJesus going down in order. This inning Garland got Long and Sweeney for the first two outs. Sorry about that. This shouldn't be that hard but I managed to mangle it. Matt Stairs digs in and goes down swinging. Garland is cruising and I'm flailing with the play-by-play.

Still scoreless

Fifth inning

I'll try not to mess up again. That was inexcusable and brutal, though, I'm not sure anyone noticed. Gload pops up the pitch for the first out. And here's Vance Law ... I mean Joe Crede. Crede walks. Crede takes off and Widger pokes it through the hole shortstop Angel Berroa vacated and Crede takes third. Hit and run to perfection. Uribe lifts the first pitch to center and it's deep enough to score the run, a solid manufactured run at that. Podsednik lays one down but Hernandez pounces quickly for a big guy and gets the third out at first.

Sox 1, Royals 0

Brown, owner of the lone K.C. hit, starts the bottom of the fifth and hits one to left by a diving Podsednik. Rowand backs up and Brown trots into second with a leadoff double. Teahen chases a high fastball for strike three. Berroa hits a soft groundball to Uribe for the second out; Brown takes third on the play. Gotay pops out to Iguchi and Garland escapes a mini-jam after giving up a leadoff double. No sweat.

Sixth inning

Hernandez plunks Iguchi on the right hand and the Gooch is hurting. Herm Schneider trots out as fast as Herm can trot and twists and pokes the hand and then returns to the dugout. The Gooch is tough. Rowand flies out to Long in shallow left. Perez slices one the other way down the third-base line and Iguchi hustles into third. Perez, however, can manage only first because Long motored over to get to that ball. Dye rips one deep and onto the lush green grass beyond the left-center field wall for a three-run homer. Hit the top of the wall actually and bounced over. Gload grounds out to short. Crede pulls one around the left-field foul pole for the second homer in about 65 seconds. Much high-fiving in the Sox's dugout. If I were Hernandez, I would blame that Thomas Jefferson ponytail he's got going. Definitley no ponytails in baseabll. Widger grounds one in the hole at short and Berroa back-hands and makes an off-balance throw to get the not-so-swift Widger.

Sox 5, Royals 0

John Buck, Buck John or whatever this guy's name is pops out. DeJesus bloops one that Uribe gloves in short center. Long reaches on an Iguchi error. Well, they give him a hit. It wasn't the easiest play in the world, moving to his right. Sweeney rips a two-run homer to left-center and Stairs quickly follows with a double. Don Cooper trots out to chat with Garland. Meanwhile, Stairs' legs were really moving on that double. Ron Cey-esque. A couple bad pitches by Garland there, Hawk says. Brown grounds out to end the inning after a small hiccup by Garland.

Sox 5, Royals 2

Seventh inning

Um, PR Girl, the score is about an inch above this sentence. Kevin, that question requires too much research that I'm capable of at this point. Sorry about that. Uribe goes down swinging to start the seventh. Podsednik hits a single through the hole the other way. Iguchi bounces into an inning-ending double play. The Gooch possibly reading his clipping before this game. He's booted a few balls and hasn't done anything at the plate a day after Guillen said he was the Sox's MVP.

Teahen lines out to Podsednik in left. I guess it would be something if he lined out to Podsednik in right, but anyway. One gets away from Garland and it hits Berroa on his back arm or some place weird like that. Neal Cotts is up in the pen. Gotay lofts one to Podsednik. Hawk is taking a break and DJ has been having a 10-minute conversation about hit batsmen with himself. Buck pops out to Iguchi. The inning ends and the car commercials commence.

Eighth inning

I've got to say Kauffman Stadium is a lovely place. Former Cubs farmhand Andy Sisco, a 6-10 lefty, is the Royals' new pitcher. Kind of a mistake letting this guy go in the Rule-5 draft, you think? Rowand flies out to right. Perez grounds out to second. Brian, on the message board, about switching jobs. That really depends on what you do. I mean, if you work in a chicken processing plant, I'll have to pass. Dye walks. On the other hand, if you make a lot of money for not doing much of anything, yeah, we can switch--possibly for good. Cliff Politte now up in the pen. Of course, if we switch jobs, you'll have to sit next to Rahula. Consider yourself warned. Gload flies out and that's that for the top of the eighth.

Garland remains in the game and he'll face DeJesus, who pokes a single to center. Here comes Ozzie. Talk about your short leashes. Garland leaves and lefty Neal Cotts comes in. But first...more car commercials. Hmmm, accountz payable, Brian? I don't really have a head for figures. Garland's day: 88 pitches, six hits, two runs, none earned, two strikeouts, numerous high-fives and a cup of Gatorade. Long and Cotts battle with many foul balls. Long hits one to first that eats up Gload. DeJesus takes third. That possibly could've been a double play but instead it went right through Gload's legs. Ozzie comes out, gets Cotts, who did his job, and calls on Politte to face the dangerous Sweeney with runners on the corners and no outs. Politte gets two strikes on Sweeney before Sweeney hits a three-run homer to left to tie the game at 5-5. Politte walks Stairs and Cooper comes out to talk to his pitcher and maybe kill a little time. Tough no decision for Garland, whom they just showed sitting in the dugout. With Brown up Politte throws a wild pitch and Stairs takes second. Make that Joe McEwing, who came on to pinch run. Brown hits it deep to left and Podsednik and Rowand nearly collide but Podsednik makes the catch. McEwing tags. That's it for Politte, who just didn't have it today. A rare bad outing for the guy. Damaso Marte comes on. And now here's Teahen. Widger makes a serious pick of an outside pitch. That saved a run. Marte walks Teahen and he wasn't close on many of those pitches. Berroa lines one the other way, Gload makes a leaping catch but can't double up the runner on first. But a big second out. Ozzie comes out to talke to Marte. Donnie Murphy will hit for Gotay and Marte fans him to end a tough inning for the Sox.

Sox 5, Royals 5

Ninth inning

I agree that Ozzie's going to get second-guessed for not leaving in Garland. The guy gave up a ground ball single up the middle to start the eighth and gets yanked with just 88 pitches thrown. But Gload needs to field that ball by Long. That was the inning right there. If they turn that double play, none of that nonsense that followed would've happened. Ambriorix Burgos is the new Kansas City pitcher. Man, I thought Runelvys was kind of an unusual name. Kind of wish I had a few X's in my name. Burgos gets Crede to chase a ball in dirt for strike three. Widger pops out and so does Uribe. And we go to the bottom of the ninth.

Marte remains and he'll face John Buck, who's popped up three times. Buck strikes out and then slams his bat against the ground, breaking it in two. Hey, I doubt it's the bat. Marte walks DeJesus. Cooper comes out again for a chat. He mus be lonley in the dugout. Righty Chip Ambres hits for Long and takes a pitch for strike one. Takes a pitch for strike two. Sweeney looms on deck. Ambres swings at strike three. Here's Sweeney, who's responsible for all of the Royals' runs. Dustin Hermanson will come on to pitch. Sweeney hits the first pitch to Uribe for an easy out. Nice work by Hermanson: one pitch. And we go to extras.

10th inning

Mike MacDougal is what, the 30th pitcher of the game? Podsednik htis it deep to right-center but DeJesus catches up to it and makes a nice running catch. Iguchi strikes out. Rowand grounds out to end it--the top of the inning, that is.

Hermanson stays in there after that taxing bottom of the ninth. McEwing grounds out. Brown strikes out. Teahen walks after working the count full. The Moneyballers will do that to you. Berroa singles up the middle. Teahen takes third because Rowand had Berroa shaded way to right field and had a long run to get to the ball. Here's Donnie Murphy, who hits the first pitch on the ground to Crede. Not so good hitting there by O' Donnie Boy.

11th inning

Do the Royals carry 15 pitchers or what? Jeremy Affeldt is the latest greatest to try his hand on the Kauffman Stadium mound. Pablo Ozuna hits for Perez and lines a double to the gap. So the leadoff guy on in the 11th. Oh, my. How many times do you think Jermaine Dye has bunted in his career? I would say not many. He tried but pushed the first pitch foul. I think he bunted that foul on purpose just so he could start swining away. Alas, he grounds out to the left side and can't get Ozuna over. He definitely tried to move him along. Ozzie dusts off Paul Konerko and Buddy Bell dusts off the ol' intentional walk. I don't think Joe Crede likes it when people walk the hitter before him to get to him. So Crede bats with guys on first and second with one out. Crede chases a ball in the dirt for strike three. I hate to say it, but this inning's up to Widger now. Widger pops up to short and Affeldt pitches out of a jam of his own doing.

Konerko stays in to play first and the fleshy Bobby Jenks takes the mound for the Sox. Buck hits it deep but Rowand catches it in front of the track. DeJesus lifts one to Podsednik for the second out. Jenks throws some literal chin music to Ambres. The pitch nicked off his hands and got him in the chin a bit. A glancing blow, but one thrown 97 mph. So Ambres takes his base and thanks a higher power that wasn't closer to his head. Anyhoo, here's Sweeney with a guy on base. And Jenks gets him with a nasty breaking ball.

Still tied at 5-5

12th inning

I'll have to check the books but this may be the longest From the Cubicle ever. Leo Nunez on to pitch for the Royals and Uribe greets him with a bloop single. Podsednik will try to move him over. Uribe takes off, Podsednik swings and misses and Uribe is gunned at second. Podednik then hits one off the glove of O' Donnie Boy at second and reaches on the error. It's up to Iguchi with a runner on. Well, there was a runner on. After repeated throws to first Nunez finally gets Podsednik leaning. Two outs. Iguchi strikes out on the next pitch.

Jenks remains. McEwing bats and singles to right. Brown flies out to Dye in right. Dye really had to fight the late-afternoon sun there. Jenks' pitch to Teahen is in the dirt and McEwing takes second. Teahen looks at a big, fat curve for strike three. They'll walk Berroa to get to O' Donnie Boy Murphy, whom I'm convinced the Royals pulled out of the crowd as a late-inning substitute. Murphy walks and the bases are full of Royals. Buck swings at a few breaking balls before grounding to Uribe, whose throw to first is high, but Konerko lands on the bag in time to get the runner. We. Go. To. The. Thirteenth.

13th inning

Shawn Camp is the latest greatest Kansas City arm in this marathon and he'll face Rowand. It's about time they let some position players pitch. As if we need it, there's some kind of delay here. Ozzie's out talking to the umps and has his lineup card in his hand. Maybe Shawn Camp isn't on the Royals' roster. Hawk reports the Sox are now playing this game under protest, which is fitting because I've been typing this game under protest since the top of the 10th. No reason given, though. Rowand flies out to left. Ozuna tries his hand and strikes out. Dye grounds out. To the bottom of the 13th, post haste.

To answer your question, Dick Allen, I start drinking after the seventh inning. Luis Vizcaino, got to be the last guy available, will pitch to Buddy Bell, who's inserted himself in the lineup. Actually, it's DeJesus, whom, to quote John Turturro, you do not, um, mess with. DeJesus singles to left. See? Ambres singles through the hole on the left side. DeJesus stops at second. Sweeney Todd's up there for the seventh time today. Sweeney bloops a single to center. Rowand's nice deke out there might have prevented the winning run from scoring. Anyway, bases loaded and no out. Dye comes in the infield and stands behind second. Rowand and Podsednik come in a bit. And McEwing will try to avoid hitting into a triple play. McEwing strikes out. It has to be said, there's a reason the Royals are 600 games out. Brown singles to left and this one is finally over.

Final: Royals 6, Sox 5

The Royals take the rubber match but the Sox surely make them earn it. As for the South Siders, they've got a plane idling on a runway waiting to take them to Baltimore. At any rate, thanks for reading and writing in and posting on the message boards. Sorry we couldn't bring you a winner. I'm going to the Fire-A.C. Milan match now. Good night.

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