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Cubs finish off White Sox
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07/04/2004 10:34 PM ET 
Cubs finish off White Sox
Walker's bases-loaded walk in ninth seals sweep

Glendon Rusch held the White Sox scoreless for eight innings. (Brian Kersey/AP)
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs didn't need a home run to set off fireworks at Wrigley Field on the Fourth of July.

Pinch-hitter Todd Walker drew a bases-loaded walk with one out in the ninth to lead the Cubs to a 2-1 victory Sunday night and a clean sweep of the Chicago White Sox in the intracity Interleague series.

"Playing these games gets you prepared for the playoffs," Walker said.

With the game tied at 1 in the Cubs ninth, Moises Alou singled off Shingo Takatsu (4-1). Alou advanced on Derrek Lee's sacrifice -- yes, sacrifice -- and Takatsu intentionally walked Michael Barrett. Ramon Martinez drew a walk to load the bases and chase the White Sox closer.

Derrek Lee was 3-for-3 with a solo home run in the game, so being asked to bunt was a little bit of a shock.

"I was a little surprised," he said, "because I've never bunted much in my career, but it's a big situation in the game, a tough pitcher on the mound, and you've got to get that guy over into scoring position."

   Derrek Lee  /   1B
Born: 09/06/75
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 245 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Lee did step out to check the sign from third base coach Wendell Kim.

"I wanted to make sure I got it right," Lee said. "It was a crucial situation. I didn't want to blow it."

With fireworks exploding in the background, Walker fell behind 0-2 to Damaso Marte and then worked the count to 3-2 before drawing a walk to force in the winning run.

"The first thing is you don't want to hit into a double play," Walker said. "The first pitch was a good pitch to hit. When you're down 0-2, it's a battle. He's one of the nastiest lefties a left-hander has to face."

Especially after sitting on the bench the entire game. What was he thinking after falling behind in the count?

"That I was in trouble," Walker said. "It's not the way you draw it up. Those are the kind of at-bats that give people heart attacks.

"When it got to 3-2, I tried to take a little extra time, like a time out before a field goal," he said of his stepping out of the box before the last pitch. Marte threw it in the dirt.

Derrek Lee had given the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second, and Carlos Lee tied the game with his eighth home run off a 2-2 pitch from LaTroy Hawkins with one out in the White Sox ninth.

   Todd Walker  /   2B
Born: 05/25/73
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R

That silenced the Cubs' supporters in the rowdy sellout crowd of 38,596 at Wrigley Field -- at least temporarily.

Derrek Lee had three hits, including a solo home run, for the Cubs who were vying for their second sweep over the White Sox since Interleague Play began in 1997.

In June 1998, the Cubs took three from the White Sox at Wrigley as well. That was the only season the Cubs had a winning record against the South Side squad -- until this year.

The White Sox lead the overall series 22-20, but the Cubs claimed the season series, 4-2.

"This series is playoff atmosphere," Derrek Lee said. "The fans really get into it, there's a lot of intensity. They have a great team, we have a great team, so I think it's great for the city of Chicago."

Unless you live on the South Side of town.

Along with his homer, Derrek Lee also singled in the fourth and doubled in the seventh for his sixth three- hit game of the season.

Cubs starter Glendon Rusch, who has been subbing for Kerry Wood in the rotation, scattered five hits and did not walk a batter over eight innings. The left-hander, who was 1-12 with Milwaukee last year and just hoped to find a spot in the Cubs bullpen, struck out six.

Rusch escaped a jam in the White Sox seventh. Carlos Lee and Paul Konerko both singled and advanced on Aaron Rowand's sacrifice. But Rusch got Joe Crede to pop up to third baseman Ramon Martinez and Timo Perez flew out to center to end the inning.

"This is up there at the top," Rusch said when asked to rank the game.

"Glendon's been great for us all year," Derrek Lee said. "They have a great lineup and a lot of right-handers, so you didn't think one run would stand up. Glendon's been great and tonight, he rose to the occasion."

Rusch got some help from the Cubs defense, especially Lee who flashed his Gold Glove-winning talent at first.

"When the pitcher is pitching the way Glendon was tonight, working fast and throwing strikes, it keeps you on your toes," Lee said. "You've got to give Glendon credit for that."

"It was a total team effort," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "That was some game."

"It was the Derrek Lee show," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He hit a home run and made some nice defensive plays. I'm not surprised by Derrek. I've seen this kid for three years and he's the best first baseman I've ever seen. He did a tremendous job."

Rusch was pulled after 104 pitches, and said it was the right move.

"I was getting pretty beat," Rusch said. "It was a lot of effort from pitch to pitch."

White Sox starter Mark Buehrle held the Cubs to four hits over seven innings. He struck out eight, matching his season high.

Frank Thomas, limited to pinch-hit duties because the teams were playing by National League rules, went 0-for-3 in the series for the White Sox, striking out all three times. Rusch fooled Thomas on a called third strike for the second out in the eighth.

It was the ninth time the Cubs have won in their last at-bat, and their 23rd come-from-behind win. The Cubs are 11 games over .500, a high point for the season, at 46-35 and in second place in the Central Division at the halfway point in the season.

"I think we have what it takes to win," Derrek Lee said. "We have all the ingredients -- hitting, pitching, bench. We have what it takes."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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