Series: Game 3 of 3

Chicago won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 24
Boston 4Final
Chicago 2
Game 2: Wednesday, September 25
Boston 2Final
Chicago 7
Game 3: Thursday, September 26
Boston 2Final
Chicago 3

Red Sox 2

(91-68, 51-30 away)

White Sox 3

(81-78, 47-34 home)

    2:05 PM ET, September 26, 2002

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

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    BOS 000000020 2 - -
    CWS 10000200 - 3 - -

    W: D. Wright (14-12)

    L: J. Hancock (0-1)

    S: K. Foulke (11)

    Wright wins fourth consecutive start for Chicago

    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.

    Willie Harris

    Chicago's Willie Harris turns the double play and gets away from Boston's Trot Nixon all in the same play.

    ''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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press