CHICAGO -- This year's Cubs vs. White Sox series means more than bragging rights for one side's fan base. The Cubs are trying to regain control of the National League Central, and they began the day tied for first place with the Brewers. But the White Sox spoiled their bid
CHICAGO -- This year's Cubs vs. White Sox series means more than bragging rights for one side's fan base. The Cubs are trying to regain control of the National League Central, and they began the day tied for first place with the Brewers. But the White Sox spoiled their bid to open some ground in the division, posting a 3-1 Interleague win over their crosstown rivals on Monday afternoon.
"Whoever we're playing doesn't matter -- we're just trying to get wins," the Cubs' Jonathan Jay said.
Jose Abreu smacked a game-tying RBI double in the fifth inning, and Adam Engel and Matt Davidson each hit a solo homer to help the White Sox end a nine-game losing streak. The Cubs, who had made up 5 1/2 games in the standings in the past 10 days, lost for just the second time in 10 games since the All-Star break.
• Young trio enjoys 1st taste of rivalry with Cubs
"Yeah, double-whammy," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria, whose team won for the first time in the second half. "Nice to break the streak, and nice to do it against this team."
White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez ended a personal four-game losing streak with the win, giving up one run over 7 1/3 innings.
"I've always liked this guy," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I saw him in the American League. He knows what he's doing out there. He knows how to get guys out and make them chase. He rarely, if ever, gives in to a hitter. He wiggled out of those situations, and it did not surprise me. I've seen it before."
Gonzalez had to wiggle in the seventh. The first two Cubs batters reached, but Gonzalez retired the next two, then walked Kristopher Bryant to load the bases. The right-hander got Anthony Rizzo to fly out to center to end the threat. For the game, the Cubs went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12.
"That ball to center field [by Rizzo] was hit really well -- that was probably our best chance," Maddon said. "The wind blowing in a little bit kept the ball in the ballpark."
Engel connected in the sixth to go ahead, 2-1, while Davidson launched his 19th homer 476 feet, according to Statcast™, and over the left-field bleachers onto Waveland Avenue leading off the eighth.
Kyle Hendricks, making his first start since June 4 after being sidelined with inflammation in his right hand, took the loss and also drove in the Cubs' lone run when he grounded out with the bases loaded in the second inning.
"Today, I don't know, maybe just being out there again for that first time on the mound quickened up on me a little bit," Hendricks said. "But I just wasn't staying over the rubber well on my backside. Hopefully [I'll] just make that adjustment this week, get back to my routine -- you know, I'm a big routine guy. So get back in that feel, and hopefully it'll roll from there."
The White Sox now lead the intracity series, 58-51, and they improved to 14-8 in their past 22 games at Wrigley Field. This was the first of four games between the two teams, with one more game at Wrigley Field on Tuesday before the series shifts eight miles south to Guaranteed Rate Field.
"I'm happy. I'm excited," Gonzalez said. "But then again, we want to keep winning ballgames. I think we're on the right track. We've been struggling here and there, but we can't give in. Keep working hard."
• Swarzak notches long-awaited 1st career save
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Home-field advantage: NL rules apply at Wrigley Field, and they were a factor Tuesday. With one out in the second, the Cubs loaded the bases when Benjamin Zobrist walked, Jay doubled and Javier Baez was intentionally walked. Zobrist then scored on Hendricks' broken-bat groundout. The rules hurt the White Sox in the second and fourth innings. They had two on and two outs in both, but Gonzalez was up both times and grounded out to end both frames. Cubs pitchers now have 13 RBIs in the crosstown series compared to three by White Sox hurlers.
Seventh heaven: The Cubs had a perfect opportunity in the seventh. Jay and Baez both singled to open the inning, prompting Renteria to have a long chat with Gonzalez on the mound. Gonzalez stayed in the game and struck out pinch-hitter Ian Happ, then got Jason Heyward to fly out to center. Gonzalez fell behind, 3-0, to Bryant, and he eventually walked him to load the bases. But Gonzalez got Rizzo to fly out to center to end the inning.
"[Renteria] said he was going to bring the lefty in, and I told him, 'I'm good. I'm fine. Let me go,'" Gonzalez said. "That's when he said, 'OK, let's do this.' He gave me the opportunity, and I was able to get out of that jam in that seventh inning."
The Cubs also stranded two baserunners in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
"We hit a lot of balls hard," Jay said. "That ball Riz hit to center field [in the seventh], the wind was blowing straight in. We had our chances and put pressure on them. It was just one of those days."
"A lot of emotion before the game. Ricky talked to his hitters and relievers. He wanted it just as much as us. To see the emotion in his face pushed us a little bit." -- White Sox catcher Kevan Smith, on Renteria, who managed the Cubs in 2014 and returned to Wrigley Field for the first time as the manager of the White Sox
"It's not optimal, but we knew what was on the schedule. They came from Kansas City, and they weren't crying about that. You prefer the night game, but under the circumstances, we knew the situation going into it. That's not the reason we lost." -- Maddon, on having to play a day game on Monday after a night game
White Sox:Carlos Rodon makes his fifth start of the season since coming back from biceps bursitis when the White Sox and Cubs meet for the series finale at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Rodon allowed four home runs over 3 2/3 innings in his last start against the Dodgers, marking the most homers allowed in his career in a single start. First pitch will be 1:20 p.m. CT.
Cubs:John Lackey will start the second game of this home-and-home Interleague series on Tuesday. In his first start after the All-Star break, Lackey gave up one run over five innings against the Braves and picked up the win. He's given up 2.17 homers per nine innings this year, highest in the NL.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.