By Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune reporter
12:26 AM EDT, June 19, 2012
The City Series — or, more appropriately Monday, the Windy City Series — resumed with a big surprise and the smallest crowd in series history.
By the time it was over, the team that keeps wind trends as part of its records naturally was the winner.
That would be the Cubs, who recorded a season high in runs during a 12-3 pasting of the White Sox, preventing a first season sweep in the interleague series.
It was not what one would expect from one team hopefully clinging to first place in the American League Central and the other hopelessly buried in last in the National League Central.
Not that it seems like many cared.
The game at U.S. Cellular Field drew an all-time series low of 33,215 mostly silent South Side fans.
The smallest previous crowd was also this season, 34,537 at Wrigley Field. The smallest at the Cell before this was last year's 35,155.
But in keeping with the tradition of this series — which the Sox lead all-time 48-40 — the unusual was the norm.
Never mind that in their last 17 games at the Cell, the Sox had hit 31 home runs. By the time they played five innings Monday, the Cubs had four home runs and the Sox one. The final tally was 5-2.
"That was no doubt our best offensive (game) of the year ... throughout the whole lineup," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose team also posted season highs in hits (15) and homers.
The winner — for the first time since April 29 — was Matt Garza, who completed six solid innings and allowed three runs on five hits, including two home runs.
"It was a lot of fun trying to maintain my balance in between pitches; the wind was knocking me down," Garza said. "It was interesting but a lot of fun. I was able to keep the ball in the yard a little better than I (had) done before."
The loser was Zach Stewart, called on from the bullpen for help, who gave up four homers and six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"The ball was carrying and (the Cubs) put it on the barrel a lot," Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Stewart started because the Sox wanted to give Jake Peavy and Chris Sale extra rest, but Ventura wasn't second-guessing the move.
"Things happen as far as some guys available and some aren't," Ventura said. "The goal is to keep people as strong as they can be all year."
While Stewart was an emergency starter for the Sox, the Cubs experimented with a partial lineup of the future, with Bryan LaHair in right field and David DeJesus in center, while backup catcher Steve Clevenger was keeping first base warm for top prospect Anthony Rizzo.
LaHair took a liking to his new spot, not only making a running catch in the first, but also slugging his 13th homer in the third with Starlin Castro on base.
Two innings later Castro was back, this time with a two-run homer of his own that was followed by a 440-footer into the center-field greenery by Alfonso Soriano.
A.J. Pierzynski finally got the Sox in on the long-ball act in the fifth to close the deficit to 5-1, but that was negated when Geovany Soto, fresh off the disabled list, homered on Stewart's final pitch.
After Paul Konerko's two-run homer cut it to 6-3, the Cubs scored six in the seventh.
Former Cub Will Ohman started the inning by hitting DeJesus, who was also hit in the inning by Hector Santiago. That's the kind of inning it was.
Two of the six runs were charged to Ohman and the others to Nate Jones, who allowed six straight hits before leaving.
"(Sunday's loss in Los Angeles) stings; today we just got beat," Ventura said. "We have to rally and come back tomorrow."