CHICAGO – Timo Perez, a replacement for the injured Frank Thomas, singled in two runs in the ninth inning to give the Chicago White Sox a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Thomas made his first appearance since breaking a bone in his left ankle last July 6, but was forced to leave because of a strained hip flexor. Perez batted for him in the seventh, then helped the White Sox snap a three-game losing streak with his hit down the left-field line off Scot Shields (4-2).

Pinch-hitter Willie Harris walked to lead off the ninth and stole second, and Joe Crede also walked. Both runners moved up on Scott Podsednik’s sacrifice and Shields struck out pinch-hitter Carl Everett before Perez’s single.

Thomas went 0-for-2 batting third as the designated hitter. He received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 38,685 in his first plate appearance in the first, but popped out to first baseman Quinlan.

National League

Nationals 3, Braves 2

WASHINGTON – A reversed umpire’s call that turned Brian Jordan’s apparent game-tying homer in the seventh inning into a foul ball helped the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

The Nationals made mistakes in the field, at the plate, and on the basepaths. Still, with Marlon Byrd delivering two RBI doubles, and Tomo Ohka allowing just one unearned run and two hits over seven innings, Washington won its second straight game on the heels of a season-worst five-game losing streak.

That skid came during a 2-7 road trip, and the Nationals were pleased to finally return to RFK Stadium, where they had played just 20 of 50 games this season entering Monday. And they got a bit of help at home from the umpires.

With the scored tied at 1 and one out in the seventh, Jordan drove a 1-1 pitch into the left-field corner. Byrd drifted back for the ball and was in foul territory when he jumped for it. TV replays appeared to show the ball hit the black base of the foul pole, just beyond Byrd’s glove and the wall.

Third-base umpire Jerry Layne ruled it a homer, prompting a lot of jumping and arm-waving by Nationals relievers in the bullpen near where the ball traveled. Washington manager Frank Robinson jogged to the outfield to argue the call, and crew chief Ed Montague eventually changed it.

Pirates 3, Marlins 2

PITTSBURGH – Freddy Sanchez’s opposite-field single in the 10th inning drove in the winning run and the Pittsburgh Pirates won a one-run game at home for the first time this season, rallying to beat the Florida Marlins 3-2.

Pittsburgh was 0-7 at home and 3-11 overall in one-run games before Jack Wilson doubled with two outs against Todd Jones (0-1), Florida’s sixth pitcher, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Sanchez’s single to right.

Rick White (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory as the Pirates won for only the eighth time in 21 home games and beat Florida for the seventh straight time at PNC Park. The Marlins are 1-9 in Pittsburgh since the 2002 season.

Reds 9, Astros 0

HOUSTON – Joe Randa homered and had three RBIs, and Aaron Harang struck out 10 to spoil a solid effort by Roger Clemens and help the Cincinnati Reds beat the Houston Astros 9-0.

Clemens (3-3) made his first start since last Tuesday when he left after five scoreless innings with a strained right groin. He allowed two runs in eight innings, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out seven.

After a single to center by Sean Casey in the third, Clemens retired the next 11 batters in a row and 16 of his last 17.

The Reds scored seven runs off three Astros relievers in the ninth, highlighted by Ryan Freel’s three-run homer and Jason LaRue’s two-run single, both off Russ Springer.

Cubs 5, Dodgers 3

LOS ANGELES – Greg Maddux got his 308th victory and the Chicago Cubs moved above the .500 mark for the first time in a month, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3.

Jerry Hairston, Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez homered for the Cubs, who have won four straight and have a winning record for the first time since they were 12-11, after games of April 30.

Maddux (3-3) allowed two runs – one earned – and five hits in six innings to win for the first time in four starts since beating the New York Mets 7-0 on May 10 in Chicago. It was the third consecutive start without a walk for the four-time Cy Young Award winner.


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