CHICAGO (AP) — Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before pinch-hitter Juan Pierre led off with a single, and the Chicago Cubs held on to beat the White Sox 1-0 Sunday night at a revved-up Wrigley Field.
On a night when the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks were saluted for their Stanley Cup championship, Lilly and Gavin Floyd put on a splendid display of pitching.
Floyd flirted with a no-hitter of his own for the White Sox before Alfonso Soriano doubled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Chad Tracy followed with a single, producing the game's only run.
That took care of Floyd's no-hit bid — but Lilly was still going and the tension began to mount as he inched closer to the first no-hitter at storied Wrigley Field since Milt Pappas blanked San Diego on Sept. 2, 1972.
Fans booed loudly when Gordon Beckham of the White Sox tried to bunt for a hit in the eighth. He fouled it off and wound up popping up for the second out. The crowd roared after Jayson Nix popped out to end the inning.
Lilly, however, couldn't close it out.
Pierre, batting for Floyd in the ninth, lined an 0-1 pitch to center for a clean single that chased Lilly, who left to a standing ovation but showed little emotion on his way to the dugout. The left-hander also took a no-hitter into the eighth inning for the New York Yankees at Seattle on April 27, 2002, losing the game 1-0 on Desi Relaford's RBI single.
Carlos Marmol came in and walked Andruw Jones before a balk put runners at second and third with nobody out. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez, then intentionally walked Alex Rios to load the bases for a surging Paul Konerko, who came into the game on a 20-for-42 tear.
With White Sox fans chanting "Paulie! Paulie!" he grounded into a force at the plate, with first baseman Derrek Lee firing home to Koyie Hill. Carlos Quentin flied to center to end the game, giving Marmol his 13th save in 16 chances.
It was the latest exceptional performance on the mound this season, which is becoming the year of the pitcher. Ubaldo Jimenez tossed a no-hitter for Colorado, while Oakland lefty Dallas Braden and Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay each hurled a perfect game.
And that doesn't even include Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game on June 2 for Detroit, spoiled when umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base.
The last time two big league teams were both held hitless through 6½ innings was July 13, 1980, in a game between the Yankees and White Sox, according to STATS LLC.
The win was the first for Lilly (2-5) since he beat Milwaukee in his first start this season. He struck out three, walked one and hit two batters with pitches after going 0-5 in his previous eight starts. The Cubs won for only the fourth time in 13 games while avoiding a sweep against their crosstown rivals.
The White Sox had won five straight against the Cubs.
Floyd (2-7) was a tough-luck loser as the White Sox's season-high four-game win streak ended. He allowed just three hits while striking out a season-high nine with three walks, but came up just short on a night when he and Lilly were brilliant.
Cubs slugger Derrek Lee had just walked with one out in the seventh and been caught stealing by catcher A.J. Pierzynski — who pounded his chest — when Soriano drove a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line for a double to break up Floyd's no-hitter.
On the next pitch, Tracy ended the shutout when he singled up the middle just beyond the reach of a diving Beckham at second base.
NOTES: The only double no-hitter through nine innings in major league history was May 2, 1917, at Wrigley Field, with Cincinnati's Fred Toney and Chicago's Hippo Vaughn on the mound. The Reds beat the Cubs 1-0 in 10 innings. ... Not quite ready to declare him an everyday player, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said OF Tyler Colvin can expect more playing time. The prized rookie came into Sunday's game with a .305 average and six homers. "He's going to play a lot more than he has been," Piniella said. "We've been patient. And I've said all along that if the time was right to make this type of move (we'd make it)." Piniella's comment came two days after he criticized longtime Chicago baseball analyst Steve Stone, who calls White Sox games, for questioning his handling of Colvin. ... The Cubs worked with SS Starlin Castro on his tags before the game. Castro missed one when Pierre made a neat dive to steal second in the seventh on Saturday, setting up a run-scoring single by Konerko.