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Saturday, June 24, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Game of the Day: Streaking Contreras wins in World Series rematch

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — His splitter wasn't wreaking its usual havoc, nor was his breaking ball or fastball. Still, Jose Contreras did enough to set a club record.

The right-hander won his team-record 16th consecutive decision, Scott Podsednik hit his first career grand slam and the Chicago White Sox won a World Series rematch by beating the Houston Astros 7-4 on Friday night for their eighth win in a row.

"It's a big deal, especially when you pitch for the Chicago White Sox," Contreras said through an interpreter. "So many pitchers have gone through here. I'm really proud. It's my record now. It's something for me, personally, but the most important thing is that we won and we're playing great right now."

Eight months after helping the White Sox sweep Houston for their first World Series championship since 1917, Podsednik and Contreras again found themselves in the middle of the action.

Podsednik, who ended Game 2 of the World Series at U.S. Cellular Field with a home run, went deep against Andy Pettitte with two out in the fourth to make it 6-0. The four runs batted in tied a career high for Podsednik, who also tripled.

Contreras (8-0), who won Game 1 of the Series, left to a standing ovation after allowing a run-scoring double off the left-field wall by Chris Burke that cut the lead to 6-4 with one out in the seventh. Reliever Neal Cotts retired Lance Berkman on a grounder and struck out Mike Lamb.

Contreras, 16-0 in his past 21 regular-season starts since losing to Minnesota last Aug. 15, took sole possession of the club record for consecutive wins, surpassing LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez. It is the majors' longest streak since the Twins' Johan Santana won 17 consecutive decisions from July 2004 to April 2005.

Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 23 chances.

Pettitte (6-8) lasted just four innings, allowing six hits and six runs, and the Astros took their fourth loss in five games.

The White Sox, who had outscored St. Louis 34-11 while sweeping three games, struck for two runs in the second and added four in the fourth, thanks to Podsednik.

"The way it's going now, I'm not getting it done," said Pettitte, whose earned-run average rose from 5.44 to 5.75. "I had a chance to get out of (the fourth) with no runs. I battled my tail off to put myself in that position."

And Podsednik unraveled all that work.

Chicago loaded the bases with none out, but Rob Mackowiak forced the runner at home and Juan Uribe struck out. Podsednik, whose homer off Brad Lidge gave the White Sox a 7-6 victory in Game 2, struck again. This time, he hit a 2-2 pitch an estimated 412 feet to right.

Podsednik took a curtain call and was greeted with a loud ovation when he stepped to the plate in the sixth.

"I don't get this very often, especially with guys on base," said Podsednik, who has two homers.

He grinned and said "don't recall" when asked if he remembers hitting a grand slam at any level and called his power displays against Houston "one of those strange occurrences."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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