Baseball / Sports

Cubs' offense awakens to deny White Sox a sweep

CHICAGO -- The White Sox had hoped to experience the complete satisfaction of a four-game sweep, while the Cubs merely sought a shred of dignity in Thursday night's City Series finale at U.S. Cellular Field.

In the end it was the Cubs who wound up with the lovely parting gift, routing the Sox 12-5 as Mike Olt belted a grand slam in the five-run eighth inning. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo also added home runs earlier as the Cubs bats finally came alive to collect 15 hits on a rare balmy night in May before a crowd of 26,332.

The Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak while the Sox saw their season-long four-game winning streak come to an end.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who has been espousing patience and encouraging words for his developing team, wants his players to respond with a greater sense of urgency when it comes to winning and losing.

"Absolutely, and I think that they do," said Renteria, whose team improved to 12-21. "Every player comes out and wants to perform well, and wants to win. These last four days ... they are not taking it lightly. Every single one of them has a different way of dealing with it. Some might get a little more intense than others. I think if they simply were satisfied with whatever the result is -- then we'd talk about it. That is not the case with the players I have on this team."

Sox starter Scott Carroll (1-2) was rocked early and often, allowing six runs on 11 hits in four-plus innings. He walked two, fanned two and threw two wild pitches.

Sox manager Robin Ventura had hoped for a first-ever season sweep of the Cubs.

"A sweep's good," Ventura said. "You're always looking for it. This (series this season) is a little different because you play two there (at Wrigley Field) and two over here. But any time you're playing the Cubs it's a big deal. It's a big deal in the stands.

"It always has been that way, even in the days of the ... what did they call it? ... the Windy City Classic exhibition game. Even that one was a big deal. Everybody played in it. It wasn't like they just brought up every minor leaguer.

"Paulie (Konerko) said: 'It's not a playoff game, but it's not a regular-season game, either,'" Ventura said of playing for the Crosstown Cup. "It's fun ... it's fun for the fans. They make a big deal about it because we hear about it during spring training."

The Sox have settled in with a .500 record (18-18) before hosting the Diamondbacks this weekend. Meanwhile, the Cubs head to Atlanta to face the Braves.

"It is (satisfying), considering where we're at. ... we are banged up and trying to make it happen," Ventura said. "How you do it doesn't really matter at this point, as long as the guys are stepping up and doing things to help us win. That's part of it. ... It's nice to see because we have a lot of guys contributing."

Renteria now has experienced his first taste of the Cubs-Sox rivalry.

"Even though it's two different sides of town ... the fan base in Chicago is strong," he said. "I'm glad we're a part of it."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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