BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox are playing so well that even when they stumble they catch a break.

Boston’s six-game winning streak remained intact when Sunday’s game against the White Sox was postponed after two rain delays, the second lasting 3 hours, 46 minutes. That wiped from the books Chicago’s 5-2 lead with one out – and two on – in the top of the fourth.

“It’s disappointing to not get this one in,” White Sox catcher Chris Widger said. “We ran into a red hot team that’s swinging the bats well and they’re playing well at home.”

Red Sox starter Matt Clement allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out two before the game was called. Clement, who started the season 9-1 and made the AL All-Star team, has won just once since July 6.

“You wipe the slate clean. It’s probably a good feeling for him,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He caught a break. And good for him.”

No makeup date was announced.

It was the last scheduled game between the teams this season, and the only open date they share is Sept. 5 – Labor Day. But to play then would mean the Red Sox play 30 games in a row and the players would have to vote to give up that off-day; the date also comes in the middle of a White Sox homestand in which they play 20 games in 20 days.

“We’d definitely like to avoid the 5th,” said Red Sox center fielder and union representative Johnny Damon. “Right now, if we have to vote, we definitely want that day off.”

If not played on Labor Day, the game would be made up after the season, only if necessary to determine playoff berths or home-field advantage. Despite losing the first two games of the series to the Red Sox, Chicago has the best record in baseball and leads the AL Central by 12 games. Boston leads the East by 4 games.

“We got off to a good start today, so it’s disappointing not to get anything out of this weekend,” White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye said. “We were at the mercy of the elements today, and there’s not much you can do about that.”

Damon did not play because of a sore left hamstring, but he said he will play Monday night in Detroit.

“Seeing all that rain, it’s a good thing I wasn’t in there,” he said. “It worked out best for me and best for the team.”

The game was delayed 48 minutes after Orlando Hernandez finished his warmup pitches in the middle of the first. They got a few more innings in before lightning and heavy rain returned.

Although there were long stretches of playable weather, the forecasts were ominous.

“They (the umpires) showed me the weather, how it’s going to come on and off,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “They were protecting both pitching staffs. There’s no reason to go in there and throw one inning don’t play any more and we run out of pitchers.”

Chicago took a 3-0 lead in the third when Timo Perez singled with one out, went to second on Juan Uribe’s walk and scored on Carl Everett’s single. Paul Konerko doubled to score two more.

Boston made it 3-2 when Gabe Kapler and Adam Stern singled with one out and Alex Cora hit an RBI double. Tony Graffanino singled to score another run before David Ortiz, with an infield shift on, hit into a 5-6-3 double play.

But the White Sox extended the lead when Dye led off the fourth with a homer – it would have been his 23rd – and Geoff Blum and Widger hit back-to-back doubles. Joe Crede hit into a fielder’s choice, then Perez singled to put runners on first and second before the second and final rain delay.

Notes: Damon was listed in the original lineup but wound up sitting out. He left Friday night’s game in the ninth inning with a left hamstring injury and did not play Saturday. … Everett and Perez each had two hits. … Fill-in right fielder Adam Stern made a diving catch of Uribe’s drive in the first.


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