CHICAGO – Mark Prior’s return from the disabled list was a sparkling success.

Prior allowed only one hit in six innings and retired 18 of his 19 batters Sunday, outpitching Jon Garland and sending the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the White Sox.

Corey Patterson broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer in the sixth for the Cubs, who took two of three on the road to split the season series at three games apiece. The White Sox won two of three at Wrigley Field in May.

Making his first start since May 27, when a line drive fractured a bone in his right elbow, Prior (5-1) dominated the White Sox, who have the best record in baseball. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. After allowing a single to Pablo Ozuna in the third, Prior retired his final 10 batters.

Jerome Williams pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Dempster got three outs for his 11th save in 12 chances.

Trying to become the first 13-game winner in the majors, Garland gave up two runs – one earned – and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one. Garland retired his first 10 batters before Neifi Perez singled and shut out the Cubs through the first five innings.

With one out in the sixth, Patterson homered to right on an 0-2 pitch. He has 11 home runs – all solo shots.

The Cubs added an unearned run in the seventh.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko booted a leadoff grounder by Jeromy Burnitz for an error. Burnitz stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Todd Walker sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Ozuna singled with two outs in the third and advanced to second on a balk, but Scott Podsednik grounded out.

The Cubs’ first hit came with one out in the fourth on a hard grounder by Perez off the glove of diving second baseman Willie Harris.

Ozuna, playing shortstop, saved a run with a diving stop in the fifth, when Garland ran into trouble with two outs. After Walker singled and Michael Barrett walked, Todd Hollandsworth hit a hard grounder up the middle. Ozuna sprawled out behind the bag and flipped the ball to Harris for the force.

Notes: To make room for Prior, the Cubs sent left-hander Rich Hill to Triple-A Iowa. Hill had a 4.76 ERA and no decisions in three relief appearances. … With a sellout crowd of 39,143, the White Sox surpassed 1 million in attendance in their 39th home game, the fastest they’ve reached the mark since 1994, when they did it in 34 games. … Ozuna made his sixth straight start at shortstop in place of Juan Uribe, who has a sore back. … The Cubs’ Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak.

AP-ES-06-26-05 1742EDT


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