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Prior allows one hit in six innings

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Prior made it clear he didn't rush his
return from the disabled list.

Prior allowed only one hit in six innings and retired 18 of his
19 batters Sunday, outpitching Jon Garland to send the Chicago Cubs
to a 2-0 victory over the White Sox.

"I felt pretty good," Prior said. "Most athletes know if
they're ready or not."

Corey Patterson's solo homer in the sixth broke a scoreless tie
for the Cubs, who took two of three on the road to split the season
series at three games apiece. The White Sox won two of three at
Wrigley Field in May.

Making his first start since May 27, when a line drive fractured
a bone in his right elbow, Prior (5-1) dominated the White Sox, who
have the best record in baseball. He struck out three and did not
walk a batter.

After allowing a single to Pablo Ozuna in the third, Prior
retired his final 10 batters and erased any doubts about whether he
was ready to return.

While he was out, Prior threw two simulated games but did not
make any minor league rehabilitation starts.

"After the first simulated game, I didn't feel ready. After the
second one, I did," said Prior, who threw 71 pitches -- 50 for
strikes. "I just tried to go out there and throw a good game."

Jerome Williams pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Dempster
got three outs for his 11th save in 12 chances, getting Carl
Everett on a double play to end the game.

Trying to become the first 13-game winner in the majors, Garland
(12-3) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in 7 1/3
innings. He struck out five and walked one. Garland retired his
first 10 batters before Neifi Perez's single and shut out the Cubs
through the first five innings.

With one out in the sixth, Patterson homered to right on an 0-2
pitch. He has 11 home runs -- all solo shots.

"It may have been a curve down and in," said Patterson, who
was 6-for-39 on the Cubs' 10-game trip before that shot. "I was
able to keep my head on it and just put a good swing on it. ... To
be honest, I thought it was a pretty good pitch."

The Cubs added an unearned run in the seventh.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko booted a leadoff grounder
by Jeromy Burnitz for an error. Burnitz stole second, moved to
third on a wild pitch and scored on Todd Walker's sacrifice fly to
make it 2-0.

"I think what made it even a better ball game was the way
Burnitz ran the bases in that inning," Prior said. "That
insurance run was key."

Ozuna singled with two outs in the third and advanced to second
on a balk, but Scott Podsednik grounded out.

The Cubs' first hit came with one out in the fourth on a hard
grounder by Perez off the glove of diving second baseman Willie
Harris.

Ozuna, playing shortstop, saved a run with a diving stop in the
fifth, when Garland ran into trouble with two outs. After Walker
singled and Michael Barrett walked, Todd Hollandsworth hit a hard
grounder up the middle. Ozuna sprawled out behind the bag and
flipped the ball to Harris for the force.

The Cubs finally broke through against Garland, but Prior and
the bullpen shut down the White Sox, who have not scored in 16
innings.

"When he's locating like that, it doesn't matter if we would
have swung the bat well," Konerko said. "That's it -- he's pretty
good."

With Prior back and Kerry Wood (strained right shoulder)
expected to come off the disabled list this week, the Cubs think
they can break the win-a-few, lose-a-few cycle they've been on this
season.

"When those guys were hurt, we battled as a team," Patterson
said. "We don't want to forget that. But having those guys come
back is definitely going to be a great addition. It'll help us move
ahead."

Game notes
To make room for Prior, the Cubs sent left-hander Rich Hill
to Triple-A Iowa. Hill had a 4.76 ERA and no decisions in three
relief appearances. ... With a sellout crowd of 39,143, the White
Sox surpassed 1 million in attendance in their 39th home game, the
fastest they've reached the mark since 1994, when they did it in 34
games. ... Ozuna made his sixth straight start at shortstop in
place of Juan Uribe, who has a sore back. ... The Cubs' Aramis
Ramirez went 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak.