Series: Game 1 of 2

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 9/2)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 2
Chi White Sox1
Game 2: Wednesday, September 3
in 10
Chi White Sox4

Red Sox 2

(80-58, 34-34 away)

White Sox 1

(73-65, 43-24 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 2, 2003

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    BOS 010001000 2 2 0
    CWS 100000000 1 4 0

    W: J. Burkett (10-7)

    L: B. Colon (12-12)

    S: B. Kim (12)

    Nixon, Kapler homer to power Red Sox

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox managed just fine without Manny Ramirez.

    With Ramirez on the bench as a healthy scratch, substitute left fielder Gabe Kapler hit a go-ahead, solo home run Tuesday to lift the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

    Trot Nixon also homered, and John Burkett finally got his 10th win.

    "Our team is a special group of guys. We face adversity," Burkett said. "Manny's one of our best players. But I think we have confidence in every person on this roster, and Kap is a hard-nosed guy giving his all out there and that's nice to see near the playoffs."

    The win was the ninth in the last 12 games for the Red Sox, who are now four games AL East-leading New York Yankees and just a half-game behind Seattle in the AL wild-card race.

    Chicago's lead in the AL Central is now down to one game.

    "At this time of the year, you can shoot yourself in the foot or make it happen," Frank Thomas said. "Tonight, we shot ourselves in the foot."

    Not that the White Sox didn't have opportunities. Bartolo Colon (12-12) was masterful, allowing just a walk and two hits in nine innings. But those two hits were doozies, both home runs.

    The White Sox stranded seven. They had the bases loaded in the first inning and only came away with one run, and didn't get anything when they had runners at the corners with one out in the seventh.

    "It's just a shame we didn't get that win for Bartolo," Paul Konerko said. "We just didn't come through."

    Though Ramirez was healthy enough to play DH, manager Grady Little decided to sit him, obviously unhappy with the slugger's recent antics. Ramirez missed the weekend series with the New York Yankees with pharyngitis -- the same ailment that forced pitcher Pedro Martinez to miss a start the previous week -- yet was spotted out Saturday night.

    Then when Little asked him to pinch-hit Monday, Ramirez said he was still "too weak."

    "I'm putting the team out there that I feel gives us the best chance to win," Little said before the game.

    And the Red Sox didn't need Ramirez.

    Kapler was making just his 23rd start of the year, and he took full advantage of it. His first-pitch homer off of Colon in the sixth was the game-winner, and he also had a leaping catch that robbed Paul Konerko of a home run in the fourth inning.

    "Gabe Kapler, can't say enough about him," Burket said. "He's a straight gamer out there, busting his butt, plus the game-winning home run."

    Burkett has been trying to get his 10th win since Aug. 12, going 0-2 in his last four starts. He wasn't his sharpest Tuesday, hitting three batters, but he was still too much for the White Sox.

    Burkett (10-7) scattered three hits and a run over six innings, striking out four. Byung-Hyun Kim pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.

    Burkett looked as if he might be in for a rough night in the first inning, giving up a leadoff double to Roberto Alomar. Two batters later, he plunked Frank Thomas in the shoulder.

    He then walked Magglio Ordonez intentionally to give the Red Sox a double-play opportunity at every base. But the move backfired when Carl Everett hit a fly ball to shallow center. Second baseman Todd Walker, center fielder Johnny Damon and Nixon, the right fielder, all came in on the ball.

    But no one called it, apparently, and it dropped between them, allowing Alomar to score.

    "We had some opportunities, and they made the right pitches, they executed pitches when they had to," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "We just couldn't get it going."

    Game notes

    The victory put the Red Sox 22 games above .500, matching their season best. ... Burkett also beat Colon when the Red Sox were in Chicago in June. ... Burkett has 10 10-win seasons. ... Brandon Lyon, activated from the disabled list Monday, made his first appearance since July 20.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press