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Pierzynski lands knockout

Catcher's homer in ninth caps White Sox' comeback

This time, A.J. Pierzynski landed the big hit.

Pierzynski's three-run homer off closer Ryan Dempster capped a two-out rally in the ninth inning and lifted the Chicago White Sox over the Chicago Cubs, 8-6, yesterday at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs led, 6-5, with two outs when Ross Gload singled on a slow roller that deflected off Dempster's calf. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was unable to barehand it, and Jermaine Dye walked. That brought up Pierzynski, who knocked a 1-and-1 pitch out to right for his fifth homer as the White Sox won for the 13th time in 15 games.

The game was delayed for about five minutes after Pierzynski's homer when agitated Cubs fans pelted the field with debris. It was Pierzynski who touched off a melee with the Cubs May 20, when he was punched in the face by Michael Barrett.

For Dempster and the Cubs, it was just more agony. The blown save was the fifth in 17 chances for Dempster (1-5), and the Cubs have lost eight of nine.

Astros 7, Rangers 0 -- Rookie righthander Taylor Buchholz (5-6) allowed only two singles over seven shutout innings and Mike Lamb homered -- and was robbed of another drive -- as Houston won in Arlington, Texas, ending a four-game losing streak.

Lamb appeared to have a three-run homer in the eighth, but center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. sprinted, leaped, and stuck his glove over the 8-foot wall to make a tremendous inning-ending catch. Lamb applauded after standing in the infield and watching the replay on the scoreboard.

Diamondbacks 7, Athletics 2 -- Miguel Batista carried a perfect game through 6 2/3 innings, leading Arizona to a victory in Oakland, Calif.

Batista (8-5) retired the first 20 A's batters before he walked Bobby Crosby on four pitches with two outs in the seventh. Frank Thomas followed with a two-run shot to left field to break up the no-hit bid.

Padres, 7-4; Giants, 4-1 -- Pedro Feliz tripled in Steve Finley with the go-ahead run with one out in the 10th inning as visiting San Francisco beat San Diego in the nightcap of their doubleheader. In the first game, the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez and Rob Bowen each hit two-run singles in the seventh to pace the hosts.

Pirates 9, Tigers 2 -- Pittsburgh posted a seven-run seventh inning, started by Sean Casey's run-scoring single, and the host Pirates won for only the second time in 2 1/2 weeks. The Tigers committed four errors in two innings and three in a span of as many batters in the seventh.

Indians 12, Reds 7 -- Travis Hafner smacked a pinch-hit, fifth-inning grand slam that tied a Cleveland record and lifted the visiting Indians to victory. Hafner matched Al Rosen's 1951 club mark with his fourth grand slam of the season.

Nationals 4, Devil Rays 3 -- Nick Johnson ended a month long homerless streak with his first game-ending drive to lift host Washington. With two outs in the 10th inning, Johnson hit a fastball from Brian Meadows (2-2) over the wall in right-center.

Twins 10, Brewers 7 -- Derrick Turnbow's bases-loaded walk to Shannon Stewart in the eighth forced home the go-ahead run and helped host Minnesota extend its winning streak to nine games.

Mets 8, Yankees 3 -- Steve Trachsel (7-4) won his fifth straight start and the Mets roughed up Randy Johnson again, snapping their four-game losing streak with a victory at Yankee Stadium.

Angels 9, Dodgers 2 -- Kelvim Escobar (6-9) pitched seven shutout innings to snap a personal seven-game losing streak and Mike Napoli hit two solo homers as the Angels won in Anaheim, Calif.

Orioles 7, Braves 4 -- Brian Roberts had three hits and two RBIs and visiting Baltimore battered Atlanta's Tim Hudson (6-8), who lasted only 2 2/3 innings.

Blue Jays 5, Phillies 2 -- Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske homered in the sixth inning to help host Toronto notch its season-high fifth straight victory.

Royals 8, Cardinals 7 -- Mark Teahen hit a solo homer and matched a career high with four RBIs to help visiting Kansas City beat St. Louis in 11 innings.

Mariners 8, Rockies 7 -- Ichiro Suzuki lined a two-out, two-run homer to right field in the sixth inning as host Seattle beat Colorado.

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