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CWS@CHC: Garza goes the distance but loses

CHICAGO -- Matt Garza sat down for his postgame news conference and let out a deep breath.

Garza has had a "weird season," and Saturday he pitched in a weird game.

Cubs manager Mike Quade was ejected, the wind shifted from blowing out to in during the second inning and Garza threw a complete game -- saying he had far better stuff than he did when he pitched a no-hitter last season -- but lost.

The White Sox beat the Cubs, 1-0, in front of 42,165 -- the largest crowd for a Cubs-White Sox game at Wrigley Field since Interleague Play started in 1997 -- to win their third straight season series against their crosstown rivals.

Juan Pierre broke up Garza's no-hit bid in the sixth with an RBI single for the game's only run. Pierre lined a 2-2 pitch to left to score Gordon Beckham.

The pitch before the hit was a fastball called a ball, but Garza (4-7) thought it was a strike and was visibly frustrated. After Pierre knocked his next pitch for the White Sox first hit, Garza removed his hat and hit it on his thigh while looking toward home-plate umpire Gary Darling.

"I was mad," Garza said. "It's a big situation right there, and I wanted that pitch. It doesn't make it any better that I hung a slider [the next pitch]. I should have put him away. That's why I got mad, because I made a worse pitch than I did before."

Garza (4-7) struck out seven and gave up four hits and two walks in his longest outing of the season but lost to White Sox starter Philip Humber (8-4), who pitched seven innings and gave up five hits and three walks in his first appearance against the Cubs.

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who had seven at-bats against Garza when the right-hander was with Tampa Bay, said it was the best he'd seen him throw.

"[Garza] had control of every pitch, [threw] in and out," Pierzynski said. "He's throwing really hard."

Garza threw a no-hitter on July 26 last year against Detroit while pitching for the Rays but said he was better Saturday.

"When I threw a no-hitter, I couldn't throw a breaking ball for a strike, so I had a lot better stuff [Saturday]," he said.

Garza spent time on the disabled list in May with a bone bruise on his right elbow. He pitched 7 1/3 innings to beat Colorado on Monday in his last start.

"It's the best I've felt in a while," Garza said. "I've been getting a lot of work in with [pitching coach Mark] Riggins, and we've been breaking it down and sewing things up. I'm learning how to pitch more. When I was in Tampa, I was a heavily one-dimensional guy, fastball-heavy. Now I'm learning how to pitch, how to mix things in, how to change things up, how to throw stuff here and there. It's progression. I tend to forget that I'm only 27."

Quade watched most of Garza's performance on TV from his office after he was ejected for the third time this season for arguing a call with second-base umpire Paul Emmel in the second inning. With runners on first and second, Alfonso Soriano hit a grounder to third that went for a 5-4-3 double play. But replays showed that Beckham never touched second base -- and was several feet from the bag -- upon receiving the throw from third baseman Brent Morel.

Quade ran to second and argued with Emmel for about a minute before Emmel tossed him. Quade pointed toward Darling as he headed into the dugout.

"I thought that was taking the old-school neighborhood play too far," Quade said.

The Cubs grounded into double plays in each of the first three innings. Two of them came on the first pitch, raising questions about whether the Cubs need to be more patient.

"This is the most delicate of all the stuff that goes on to me, hitting-wise," Quade said. "This is the toughest subject to deal with because you don't want to stand there and be 0-1 all day, so the idea that we're going to go up there and take pitches ... but you want to get pitches to hit. From my vantage point today, which was not really what I wanted, we had pitches to hit that we didn't hit in some of those situations. Just to be critical and say, 'Wow, we swung at the first pitch. It didn't get it done.' I don't think that's taking a serious look at what's going on.

"Selective is good, but getting pitches to hit is the main thing. And I actually thought we got a couple of pitches to hit today."

Marlon Byrd went 0-for-3 in his return from the disabled list after being hit in the face by a pitch May 21 at Boston. He was wearing a protective flap on his batting helmet and said he will wear it for the rest of the season, but he said he felt comfortable making his return.

"You can't go out there with any fear," he said. "Not in this game. The game's too fast."

Byrd was excited to return to center field and interact with the fans in the bleachers -- he tipped his cap and bowed to the fans while warming up before the first inning and also entertained them with a short dance.

The White Sox, who took two of three from the Cubs from June 20-22 at U.S. Cellular Field, reached .500 (42-42) for the first time since April 16. They have won 19 of their last 20 Interleague series and 15 of their last 20 games against the Cubs. Comments