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Wright wins fourth consecutive start for Chicago

9/26/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- Dan Wright and Magglio Ordonez have played some
of their best baseball for the Chicago White Sox at the end of what
remains a very disappointing season.

''It's nice to finish strong. Everybody knows we struggled at
the beginning of the season,'' Ordonez said Thursday after his 38th
homer lifted the White Sox over Boston 3-2 in Chicago's final home
game.

Ordonez has six homers and 11 RBI during an eight-game hitting
streak.

''Now we're playing good with young guys getting a chance to
play every day,'' he said. ''Next year, we will have a better
team.''

Long out of contention and with no pressure to win, the White
Sox have played like the team they expected to be all season. They
are 22-9 since Aug. 24.

''Obviously I'd like to have had a run like this earlier in the
season,'' said Wright, who won his final four starts and six of his
last seven. ''It's nice to end on a good note.''

Wright (14-12) took a two-hit shutout and a 3-0 lead into the
eighth, but Boston, eliminated from playoff contention a day
earlier, loaded the bases on a walk, Freddie Sanchez's infield hit
and a hit batter. Benny Agbayani followed with a two-run single off
Antonio Osuna.

But once again, the Red Sox came up short, just as they did in
the playoff race despite 91 victories.

''There is nothing more disappointing than coming in second
place,'' said Red Sox manager Grady Little, who started a lineup
peppered with reserves. ''Nothing comes close to that.''

Wright gave up both runs and three hits in 7 1/3 innings, struck
out six and walked three. Keith Foulke got three outs for his 11th
save in 14 chances, the 100th save of his career. The Red Sox
finished with four hits.

Ordonez hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Josh Hancock (0-1),
who allowed three runs and five hits in his first major league
start. It was Chicago's club-record 217th homer this season.

''Toward the end of the season they have had one of the most
potent lineups in all of baseball,'' Little said. ''They have
really come on of late.''

Playing in what might be his final home game at Comiskey Park,
Frank Thomas had a run-scoring single in the first following a single by
D'Angelo Jimenez and sacrifice. Thomas, who has 18 RBI in
September and 92 this season, could elect to become a free agent if
the White Sox invoke a diminished skills clause in his contract and
reduce his base pay to $250,000 with $10 million deferred.

He was greeted by a standing ovation from the small crowd of
12,304 before his final at-bat.

''I expect to be back next year, fully,'' Thomas said after the
game without elaborating.

''Frank's a great player, a former MVP who has put up a lot of
numbers in his career,'' Ordonez said. ''He's done a lot for the
city of Chicago and I don't know what is going on. Hopefully he
will be here.''

Thomas walked in the third and tried to score on Ordonez's
double but was tagged out on a strong relay throw from Sanchez.

Game notes
Johnny Damon, Cliff Floyd and Nomar Garciaparra pinch hit
in the ninth and made the final three outs. Manny Ramirez, going
for the American League batting title, was in the on-deck circle when the game
ended. ... The Red Sox return home to close the season against
Tampa Bay. ... The White Sox hit 216 homers in 2000, when they won
the AL Central. ... Outfielder Carlos Lee left the White Sox to be with his
wife, who is expecting. He will not rejoin the team for its final
three games in Minnesota. ... Boston finished 51-30 on the road
this season, currently the best in the majors. The Yankees (48-30)
can tie if they sweep a three-game series at Baltimore this
weekend. ... The White Sox were 47-34 at home. ... Chicago is three
games above .500 for the first time since it was 28-25 on May 29.
... As part of a rookie ritual, Hancock was attired in a pink dress
and wig as he held court with the media after his first major
league start.