Valentin Lifts Pen with Walk-off HR

(SN Report #542) - The White Sox offense didn't see the same Matt Clement they saw last weekend when they scored seven runs off him in 3 1/3 innings. But they saw just enough to score three runs off him, setting up Jose Valentin for a ninth-inning, game-winning walk-off home run, putting the Sox over the Cubs, 4-3.

The White Sox had a 3-1 lead heading into the ninth, but couldn't hold it as Tom Gordon loaded the bases with no outs and Billy Koch gave up a RBI-sacrifice fly and RBI-single to tie the game.

The bases-loaded situation was the third one for the Cubs in the game. The first two were with one out and both ended in a strikeout and groundout to Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, in order.

The Cubs jumped in front to a 1-0 lead off Danny Wright in the first inning with a home run by Alex Gonzalez. Wright went on to keep the Cubs off the board over his next six innings. Wright walked four and struck out three, while throwing 96 pitches.

Clement held the Sox' bats to just two hits through the first five innings, up until a Frank Thomas' solo homer in the sixth, tying the game at 1-1. Thomas went 1-3 with a walk in the game.

The White Sox took the lead in the seventh with another solo home run, this time by Carlos Lee, and added what turned out to be a vital insurance run in the eighth with a RBI-single by Magglio Ordonez.

Wright was pulled from the game with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh. The jam wasn't all his doing as a botched double play attempt by Valentin and D'Angelo Jimenez put men on first and second. The error happened when Valentin's feed went high to Jimenez, who missed the ball on the barehand attempt. Jimenez was charged with the error.

Wright then threw a wild pitch and intentionally walked Corey Patterson, setting up a Gordon versus Sosa matchup, which ended in a strikeout. Gordon pitched 1 2/3 innings total, giving up two runs. Billy Koch, who picked up the win, threw a scoreless inning.

Despite the error, the White Sox did flash some defense.

First, in the second inning, Paul Bako's broken-bat line-drive was caught by a jumping Jimenez at second. Jimenez made another nice play the next inning, charging in on a softly hit sinking liner by Patterson, catching it on the short-hop to just make the throw in time to first, with two outs and Mark Grudzielanek rounding third

In the fourth inning, Ordonez made a feet first slide on a line-drive off the bat of Sosa, and in the seventh, Willie Harris chased down a deep fly ball by Tom Goodwin.

Valentin went 2-4 in the game, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Valentin is 11-32 in the stretch. Lee also went 2-4.

Game two of the series will be on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CT, with Bartolo Colon going up against Carlos Zambrano. The game will be televised on WGN.

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