It was one of the more emotional days in recent memory at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday afternoon. Not only was it the start of the annual inter-league series as the White Sox were on the north side of town, but it was also the final major league appearance of right-hander Kerry Wood.
Both Chicago teams entered play on Friday under .500 on the season, and needing to start the weekend with a win to gain ground in their respective Central division. Paul Konerko got the game started with a bang, with a two-run shot off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija in the top of the first inning. Gordon Beckham scored on the home run, giving the White Sox an early 2-0 lead.
The Cubs would get a run back in the bottom of the first. With David DeJesus on third and Tony Campana stealing second, Starlin Castro drilled a sacrifice fly to center fielder Alejandro De Aza that scored DeJesus. Campana advanced to third on the play.
A scary moment came in the third inning, when Paul Konerko took a pitch to what appeared to be the helmet. Replays showed that Konerko took more of the shot directly to the side of the face, knocking his helmet off. Dayan Viciedo came in to replace Konerko, but the Southsiders would be unable to add to their lead. Konerko is undergoing tests to check on the possibility of a concussion, and his status for the remainder of the weekend series is currently unknown.
More controversy ensued in the fifth inning. David Dejesus sends a line drive into left field, and then was called out trying to advance to second. The issue was that he was initally called safe, but a collision with second basemen Gordan Beckham knocked him off the base and caused the second base umpire to reverse his call. Cubs manager Dale Sveum came out to question the call, and was promptly ejected from the game. DeJesus was called out, ending any hope of a Cubs offensive strike in the inning.
The Cubs would get within in run in the seventh inning, with Samardzija still in the game. He grabbed a bat in the bottom of the inning and hit a bloop single into left field, scoring Ian Stewart. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, that would be as close as they’d get.
The White Sox slammed the door in the top of the eight, as Gordon Beckham slammed a solo home run to left field. It put the Sox up 3-2, but the story of the afternoon was Kerry Wood. It was announced prior to the game that Kerry Wood was going to announce his retirement, but he wanted one more outing on the mound before he made it official.
In the top of the eighth, the call was made with two outs to give Wood one last time on the mound. He came in and promptly struck out Dayan Viciedo on just three pitches. It was the only batter he faced, but it was an amazing moment for the 2003 All-Star pitcher. The entire crowd at Wrigley gave him a well-deserved standing ovation as Wood was greeted off the mound by his son.
Matt Thornton picks up the win for the White Sox, improving to 2-3 on the season. Jeff Samardzija drops to 4-2 on the year, as the Cubs lose their fourth straight game.
These two teams hook up again on Saturday evening at 6:15pm CT. John Danks (2-4, 6.46 ERA) will start for the White Sox, while the Cubs will send Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.74 ERA) to the mound.