Grudzielanek's first HR of year key

CHICAGO (AP) -- After nine weeks on the disabled list, Mark

Grudzielanek savors the chance to play in any game, especially the

spiced-up atmosphere of Cubs-White Sox.

Throw in a glaring sun, a tricky wind and a noisy crowd that

turned fly balls into an adventure and Friday's interleague opener,

won by the Cubs 7-4, had yet another twist.

"It was a situation, too, where the fans -- there was some

electricity going on out there -- you couldn't really hear each

other to call each other off," said Grudzielanek, who hit a

fifth-inning homer.

"The wind was blowing like crazy and the sun definitely made it

more difficult. You saw that on both sides. It was tough to


Grudzielanek, wearing a boot on his sore Achilles' tendon after

the game, picked a good time for his first homer and RBI of the


A sellout crowd of 39,596 watched his three-run shot give the

Cubs the lead and Mark Prior the victory at U.S. Cellular Field,

where the Sox made three errors.

"It was a football atmosphere, really," said the Cubs' Todd

Hollandsworth, who got to be a DH in the AL park and had two hits,

including an RBI triple.

"The crowd was into every pitch. You wish you could do it every


Trailing 6-1, the White Sox made a game of it when Paul Konerko

hit a three-run homer off Kyle Farnsworth with two outs in the


"For the most part today it was kind of a non-energy game, kind

of ho-hum," Konerko said.

"It got a little interesting at the end, just a little bit too

late. They just kind of outplayed us in every aspect. They were

good, we weren't too good."

Ramon Martinez added a solo shot in the ninth for the Cubs to

make it 7-4.

Struggling with his pitch count, Prior (2-1) allowed two hits

and a run in five innings, walking three and fanning six. He

departed after throwing 99 pitches.

Aggressive and a bit wild, Prior got the crowd buzzing early by

busting high-and-tight fastballs inside to Aaron Rowand and Frank

Thomas. He also pitched out of an early jam.

The White Sox loaded the bases in the first on Thomas' single

and walks to Carlos Lee and Jose Valentin before Konerko flied out.

In the fourth, Lee walked again, stole second, moved up on

Konerko's infield single to short and scored on a wild pitch by

Prior that sailed high off the tip of Michael Barrett's glove.

But the 1-0 lead didn't last long. Jon Garland (5-5) was roughed

up in the next two innings, with his error starting the Cubs on

their way.

Garland, a first-round draft choice of the Cubs in 1997, gave up

a leadoff single to Hollandsworth in the fifth and then threw

wildly on a pickoff attempt, allowing him to race to third. Barrett

followed with an RBI grounder to tie it.

"I gave up six runs and that's pretty much horrible," Garland


When Juan Uribe then missed Corey Patterson's high pop in the

sun for the White Sox's third error by the fifth inning, the Cubs

took advantage.

After Martinez walked, Grudzielanek -- who will share playing

time with Todd Walker -- hit his first homer.

"It might be a couple of days here and there. We'll have to

wait and see," Grudzielanek said. "Walker's swinging the bat and

he's playing very well."

Sammy Sosa singled and scored on Hollandsworth's triple in the

sixth, and the Cubs made it 6-1 on Barrett's hard single past


Konerko's 18th homer followed walks to Uribe and Thomas. And

after pinch-hitter Jamie Burke doubled off Sosa's glove, LaTroy

Hawkins struck out Joe Crede. Hawkins also pitched the ninth for

his 10th save in 13 chances.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, a lifelong Sox fan, showed up before the

game in the Cubs' dugout. He was wearing a Sox hat and chatted with

Dusty Baker, who said earlier he wanted to meet the man who runs

the city.

"I'm a Sox fan, but I like the Cubs," Daley said, sounding

like the politician he is. "When they are playing other teams I

root for them. But I'm a Sox fan, I can't give that up."

Rookie White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen played in the first

interleague series between the two teams in 1997, but got his first

taste of the frenzied atmosphere from the dugout steps.Game notes
Sosa of the Cubs and Ross Gload of the White Sox are among

159 players who have appeared in at least one major league game for

both teams. The list also includes current Cubs broadcasters Steve

Stone and Ron Santo and Sox commentator Darrin Jackson. ... The

White Sox lead the series 20-17. ... Cubs RHP Kerry Wood,

recovering from a sore triceps, threw 15 pitches in the bullpen

Friday and could pitch a simulated game Sunday or Monday.