On a sweltering day at Comiskey Park, Bret Saberhagen wanted to throw as few pitches as possible. Thanks to the quick-swinging Chicago White Sox, he got his wish.
Saberhagen allowed five hits over seven-plus innings for his third straight win and Troy O'Leary hit his 17th homer as the Boston Red Sox beat the White Sox 5-2 Sunday.
"I was fortunate they were coming up there swinging," said Saberhagen, who threw only 70 pitches in seven-plus innings. "They swing early and they swing often and that's helpful to a guy who can locate the ball. Over time I'm sure they'll adjust and take a few more pitches."
"It was hot out there, but if you don't have the extended innings it doesn't wear you down as much as the long ones," said Saberhagen, who retired 20 of the 25 batters he faced. "You don't want your guys standing around out there. You want to get them back in the dugout."
It was Saberhagen's third victory this season over the White Sox. He has given up only two runs and 17 hits in 20 2-3 innings against Chicago.
"From facing him before, he's around the plate and you don't want a guy like that to get too far ahead of you," said White Sox manager Jerry Manuel. "He's just a guy who when he pitches against us, he just clicks,"
Saberhagen retired nine straight before Brook Fordyce led off the bottom of the eighth with a double. Derek Lowe relieved and got three straight outs, then Tim Wakefield pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Saberhagen hasn't had a complete game since he was with the New York Mets in 1995. But despite his low pitch count, Boston manager Jimy Williams wasn't going to gamble and leave him in.
"He didn't throw that many pitches, but it's not just the pitches. It's how many times you get up and down. He wasn't tired, but I thought he'd done his job," Willams said.
O'Leary homered off Jaime Navarro (6-7) in the third, extending his hitting streak to 12 games and giving Boston a 2-1 lead. It followed a two-out double by Mike Stanley.
Darren Lewis had an RBI grounder in the fourth and the Red Sox scored another run in the fifth on Lou Merloni's two-out infield single, which was bobbled in the hole by Chicago second baseman Ray Durham.
Durham also committed two errors, the second one allowing Lewis to score with Boston's fifth run in the sixth. Lewis drew a walk off Navarro with two outs and stole second before coming home when Durham misplayed Jose Offerman's hard grounder.
Navarro lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs.
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