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White Sox Win Home Opener Against Tigers

April 5, 2003

CHICAGO (AP) _ Esteban Loaiza pitched 6 2-3 strong innings and Joe Crede homered Friday as the Chicago White Sox won their home opener in their newly named park, beating the Detroit Tigers 5-2.

After losing their first three games in Kansas City, the White Sox waited out a two-hour rain delay to finally get their first victory, sending the winless Tigers to their fourth straight loss under new manager Alan Trammell.

Some players wore hoods to protect their ears on a bone-chilling day, the White Sox’s first home game since the team announced a $68 million naming rights deal in January that turned Comiskey Park into U.S. Cellular Field.

Following the rain delay before the first pitch, the game-time temperature was 37 degrees _ tying a record set in 1974 for the coldest home opener in White Sox history.

Announced attendance was 40,395 but the actual crowd was much smaller.

Loaiza (1-0), a non-roster invitee to spring training who earned a spot in the rotation with a strong performance in spring training, allowed just three hits and two runs against the struggling Tigers. The two runs matched Detroit’s total output when they were swept by the Twins in their opening three-game series.

Billy Koch struck out the side in the ninth for his first save. He blew a save Thursday, allowing four runs without retiring a batter in a 12-6 loss to Kansas City.

The White Sox jumped on Detroit starter Nate Cornejo (0-1), who gave up four runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings. Magglio Ordonez had a first-inning RBI single, and Crede hit a two-run homer in the second when D’Angelo Jimenez also delivered a run-scoring triple.

Aaron Roward hit an RBI double off Steve Sparks to make it 5-2 in the sixth.

Carlos Pena doubled with one out in the fifth for the Tigers’ first hit off Loaiza, and Eric Munson followed with a two-run homer to right, snapping Detroit’s scoreless streak at 19 innings.

Notes: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was booed when he was introduced Friday and then drew even louder catcalls after he bounced the first pitch past the plate. Ex-Cubs manager Bruce Kimm, now the White Sox’s third base coach, and reliever Tom Gordon, who also pitched for the Cubs last season, were booed during pregame introductions. Koch was also booed. ... Frank Thomas, who returned to the White Sox after testing the free agent market in the offseason, got a mixed greeting but mostly cheers when introduced. ... Cornejo’s 1 1-3 innings matched his shortest outing as a starter. He also lasted just 1 1-3 against the White Sox in 2001.

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