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White Sox have ‘it’ factor with sweep of Cubs

Tyler Flowers bumps fists with Jake Peavy after hitting mammoth home run fifth inning. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Tyler Flowers bumps fists with Jake Peavy after hitting a mammoth home run in the fifth inning. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 1, 2012 12:47PM



The buildup to this Cubs-White Sox series read like hand-made signs tacked to telephone poles as soon as the Bulls were bounced by the 76ers.

Rummage sale. Flea market. ­Garage sale.

Whatever you want to call it, Wrigley Field patrons got an eyeful this weekend at whatever faded trinkets and eye-of-the-beholder value was left in Chicago sports to consume this summer.

Most of it looked like the eyeful Sox slugger Paul Konerko got Friday.

But if Konerko looked like he had gone 10 rounds with Floyd Mayweather, you should have seen the other guys after the Sox swept a three-game series on the North Side for the first time since Konerko’s first year with the team in 1999.

If this series was about what’s still worth watching in Chicago sports before the Bears open training camp in late July, then the Sox are it.

For whatever that’s worth.

“I hope our fans get behind us and understand that we have a chance here to compete in our division,” said Jake Peavy, who throttled the Cubs’ beleaguered lineup in the Sox’ 6-0 victory on a 91-degree hitter’s day with the wind blowing out.

“We haven’t played our best baseball, but we’re still hanging in there, beating some good teams. I hope our fans see that, come out and want to get involved.”

Thanks in part to the Detroit Tigers underachieving and the Cleveland Indians’ shaky prospects of keeping their slim grip on first place, the Sox look almost formidable after their fourth consecutive victory put them at .500 for the first time since May 2.

Certainly compared to their depleted and rebuilding crosstown rivals.

“It’s very disappointing,” Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano said. “They have a very good team. But we have a very good team, too. The way that we played against them is not acceptable.”

The Cubs didn’t score in 19 innings this weekend when the Sox starting pitcher was in the game. The Sox out-homered the Cubs 8-2 in the series.

By the time the emotions of Kerry Wood’s retirement and raging passions of Konerko’s beaning Friday had subsided, so had the Cubs’ bats. They were outscored by the Sox 13-0 after Friday, not counting a pair of ninth-inning home runs Saturday against the 12th man on the Sox’ staff in a 7-0 game.

The Cubs take their second six-game losing streak of the season to Houston with the promise of a shakeup at the top of the order looming — and more than four months of growing pains left.

The Sox have a chance to get relatively fat against the reeling Minnesota Twins, the worst team in the majors, who lost 16-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

A winning record by the end of May? Still in it by the end of June? Buyers by the end of July?

“It’s nice to be winning series against your in-town rivals, but there is no sense of us running around with our chests out,” said second baseman Gordon Beckham, who had one of the Sox’ three solo homers Sunday. “This game will humble you so quickly nobody should ever feel that winning a series or doing well for a week means you’ve done something.”



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