CHICAGO (AP) -- His splitter wasn't wreaking its usual havoc, nor was his breaking ball or fastball. Still, Jose Contreras did enough to set a club record.
Jose Contreras recorded his 16th consecutive victory in the White Sox's 6-4 win over the Astros. Over the last 35 years, only four other pitchers have won 16 straight decisions: Johan Santana (2004-2005), Roger Clemens (1998-1999 and 2001), Randy Johnson (1995-1997), and Rick Sutcliffe (1984-1985).• For more Elias Says, Click here.
The right-hander won his team-record 16th straight decision, Scott Podsednik hit his first career grand slam and the Chicago White Sox won a World Series rematch by beating the Houston Astros 7-4 on Friday night for their eighth straight win."It's a big deal, especially when you pitch for the Chicago White Sox," Contreras said through an interpreter. "So many pitchers have gone through here. I'm really proud. It's my record now. It's something for me personally, but the most important thing is that we won and we're playing great right now."Eight months after helping the White Sox sweep Houston for their first World Series championship since 1917, Podsednik and Contreras again found themselves in the middle of the action.Podsednik, who ended Game 2 of the World Series at U.S. Cellular Field with a home run, went deep against Andy Pettitte with two out in the fourth to make it 6-0. The four RBI tied a career high for Podsednik, who also tripled.Contreras (8-0), who won Game 1 of the Series, left to a standing ovation after allowing an RBI double off the left-field wall by Chris Burke that cut the lead to 6-4 with one out in the seventh. Reliever Neal Cotts retired Lance Berkman on a grounder and struck out Mike Lamb.Contreras, 16-0 in his last 21 regular-season starts since losing to Minnesota last Aug. 15, took sole possession of the club record for consecutive wins, surpassing LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez. It is the majors' longest streak since the Twins' Johan Santana won 17 consecutive decisions from July 2004 to April 2005.Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 23 chances.Burke and Berkman each had two hits and smacked back-to-back homers in the fifth.Pettitte (6-8) lasted just four innings, allowing six hits and six runs, and the Astros suffered their fourth loss in five games.The White Sox, who had outscored NL Central leader St. Louis 34-11 while sweeping three games, struck for two runs in the second and added four in the fourth, thanks to Podsednik."The way it's going now, I'm not getting it done," said Pettitte, whose ERA rose from 5.44 to 5.75. "I had a chance to get out of [the fourth] with no runs. I battled my tail off to put
myself in that position."And Podsednik unraveled all that work.Chicago loaded the bases with none out, but Rob Mackowiak forced the runner at home and Juan Uribe struck out. Podsednik, whose homer off Brad Lidge gave the White Sox a 7-6 victory in Game 2, struck again. This time, he hit a 2-2 pitch an estimated 412 feet to right.Podsednik took a curtain call and was greeted with a loud ovation when he stepped to the plate in the sixth."I don't get this very often, especially with guys on base," said Podsednik, who has two homers.He grinned and said "don't recall" when asked if he remembers hitting a grand slam at any level and called his power displays against Houston "one of those strange occurrences."The Astros had cut the lead to 6-3 by then on Burke's two-run homer and Berkman's solo drive. It was the second time this season the Astros hit back-to-back homers."I'm learning how to pitch without being 100 percent," Contreras said. "My fastball wasn't there today. My slider, I could not throw it for a strike. The splitter was not falling."It makes me happy because now I know that I can pitch without being 100 percent," he said.With the White Sox having played high-profile series against the Cubs, Texas, Detroit and Cleveland, with controversy swirling around manager Ozzie Guillen and with Houston's Roger Clemens
making his season debut on Thursday, this matchup between World Series participants seemed obscured.Guillen was back in the dugout after serving a one-game suspension, a punishment for reliever David Riske hitting St. Louis' Chris Duncan with a pitch Tuesday night after two White Sox were plunked. Riske is appealing a three-game suspension. Guillen was also fined Thursday and ordered to attend sensitivity training by commissioner Bud Selig for a profanity-laden tirade against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti in which the manager used a derogatory term that describes someone's sexual orientation.ESPNdeportes.com quoted Guillen as saying Friday evening that he probably would not attend sensitivity training. When asked about that after the game, the manager responded with a lengthy diatribe in which he said he first needs to take English classes "to understand what they're talking about" and threatened to "start being nasty with the media" if they continued to ask questions about that."It's a really uncomfortable situation for me," Guillen said. "I don't need this job. It's hard everyday. ... If someone tries to play games, I'm sorry, but you've got the wrong guy."Guillen got up and walked out of the interview room. A few minutes later, he said through a team spokesman he will undergo the training.
Clemens said he felt fine on Friday, after allowing two runs and six hits in five innings and taking the loss against Minnesota. ... This is the first regular-season series between these teams since the White Sox took two of three at Minute Maid Park June 2-4, 2000.