MIAMI (AP) -- Carlos Lee needed extra innings to extend his
hitting streak to 28 games.
He has Timo Perez to thank for making it happen.Perez hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth off closer Armando
Benitez. Lee, hitless in his first four plate appearances, doubled
and scored in the 10th to help the Chicago White Sox beat the
Florida Marlins 7-5 on Tuesday night."Maybe he'll give me something, dinner or a car maybe," Perez
said jokingly.Lee did give him plenty of credit, though.Lee's hitting streak is the longest in the majors this season.
It also broke the franchise record set by Luke Appling in 1936 and
tied by Albert Belle in 1997."My teammates came up big," Lee said. "They gave me another
shot and I got the hit. I just told myself to see the good pitches,
relax and don't blow it."Lee admitted he wanted the team record, but said Joe DiMaggio's
56-game hitting streak is far from his mind."In this game, when you accomplish something like that, it's
pretty amazing," he said of the team mark. "I think the 56 is way
out there. I was only thinking about the 28. Now, we have to just
focus on winning games."The Marlins had been 31-1 when leading after seven innings.They led 4-0 after a solo home run by Miguel Cabrera in the
first and a three-run shot by Alex Gonzalez in the seventh.Frank Thomas homered off Benitez in the eighth to cut it to 4-3.
But Mike Lowell answered in the bottom of the inning, snapping an
0-for-28 slump with his 15th homer and giving the closer a two-run
cushion.But Benitez -- pitching for the first time in five days --
couldn't hold the lead. It was his first blown save since May 5 and
second in 26 chances. He apologized to starter A.J. Burnett after
the game.Burnett allowed one hit in six scoreless innings, returning to
his 2002 form after two poor outings to start his comeback this
season.Burnett missed all of last year after reconstructive elbow
surgery. He rejoined the rotation earlier this month and allowed 17
hits and 10 earned runs in his first two starts. He didn't get past
the fifth inning in either of them.He struggled with his command a bit Tuesday -- walking five in
the first three innings -- but still cruised through Chicago's
lineup.Burnett walked the bases loaded in the third, but retired Lee on
a fly ball. Burnett retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced.He walked six and struck out two, reaching 98 mph on the radar
gun and giving Florida's rotation a big boost."I'm still a little inconsistent out there," he said after
missing out on his first victory since August 2002. "The more I
get out there, the better I'll be. I feel better, more fluid, more
smooth. But I've got to work on putting them away."The lead quickly faded after Lee's one-out double in the 10th.
The Marlins intentionally walked pinch-hitter Paul Konerko. Perez
later drew a walk to load the bases with two outs.Reliever Nate Bump then walked Miguel Olivo, scoring Lee and
giving the White Sox the go-ahead run. Bump then bobbled a dribbler
by Kelly Dransfeldt that allowed Konerko to score.Damaso Marte (2-2) pitched a perfect ninth for the win. Shingo
Takatsu pitched the 10th for his second save in as many chances.Toby Borland (1-1) allowed two runs while getting just two outs."This was the biggest comeback we've had," said Sox manager
Ozzie Guillen, who won in his return to Miami, where he spent the
last two years as an assistant with the Marlins. "We went all the
way to the last bullet. It was nice to see."
Thomas started at first base in place of Konerko. The Sox
couldn't start both without a designated hitter in the NL park. ...
Konerko's hitting streak was snapped at 10 games. ... Cabrera has
hit safely in 11 of his last 12. ... Marlins RHP Ben Howard has
nine strikeouts and no walks in 5 1-3 innings.