CHICAGO – Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball was fluttering and moving as much as A.J. Pierzynski ever had seen it. Yet somehow he got a pitch he could handle and drove it over the fence.

Pierzynski’s seventh-inning homer Friday night sent the Chicago White Sox to a 3-1 victory against the Boston Red Sox and helped Gavin Floyd win a duel with Wakefield, the 44-year-old knuckleballer.

“That was the best knuckleball I’ve seen him throw since I’ve watched him. And I’ve faced him a bunch,” Pierzynski said.

“It was just dropping. Moving left, right, up and down. People don’t understand how hard it is to hit that. They look up and see 65 mph and they don’t really realize how hard it is to actually hit that thing.”

Pierzynski said he didn’t consider his homer to be a bad pitch or a mistake.

“I don’t remember,” he said. “I just saw it and swung and luckily for us it went out and gave us the lead.”


Chicago’s seventh straight victory against Boston and 14th in the last 16 games between the teams denied Wakefield his 200th career win.

“I felt great. I had a lot of movement on the knuckleball. I just left one pitch up that he hit for a homer. Just didn’t do what it was supposed to do,” Wakefield said.

“I thought about (200) a little bit before the game but once I got done with my warmups and into the game, I wanted to win for us, not for me personally.”

Floyd (9-9) won his third straight start. He gave up a run and three hits in seven innings, including a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and ran his career record against the Red Sox to 6-0.

“I don’t know,” Floyd said of his success and the White Sox’s recent dominance against the Red Sox.

“Minnesota has our number. I know that any moment, any game, against any team you do well against or are terrible with can turn right around. You try to ignore that stuff.”


Wakefield (6-4) also allowed three hits in seven innings. But his wild pitch in the sixth helped set up the tying run on Paul Konerko’s sacrifice fly. And he walked Carlos Quentin to start the bottom of the seventh before Pierzynski drove his fifth homer of the season into the right-center field seats to give the White Sox a two-run lead.

“I know it’s going to be tough for us to get to him because from the beginning he was throwing strikes,” Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen said of Wakefield. “I know that ball was moving a lot.”

The Red Sox played without Adrian Gonzalez, who was a late lineup scratch because of a stiff neck. Dustin Pedroia went 0 for 4, and his 25-game hitting streak was snapped.

“I wish we could have come out and swung the bats better for (Wakefield),” Pedroia said.

Saltalamacchia worked a 3-2 count off Floyd before hitting his ninth homer to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the third.

The Red Sox threatened in the sixth, loading the bases as Marco Scutaro beat out an infield single, and Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz walked before Floyd threw a called third strike past Kevin Youkilis.


“The biggest pitch was Youkilis, bases loaded,” Floyd said. “I walked a couple of guys to get the bases loaded, but being able to execute that pitch and strike him out looking was a key out.”

Matt Thornton pitched the eighth and Sergio Santos the ninth for his 22nd save.

Wakefield held the White Sox hitless through 32/3 innings before Adam Dunn singled in the fourth, and Chicago didn’t get another hit until Juan Pierre had a bunt single to start the bottom of the sixth. Omar Vizquel sacrificed before Pierre took third on a wild pitch. Konerko then delivered his sacrifice fly to left.

CLAY BUCHHOLZ will visit a back specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, in Los Angeles on Monday.

Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday. He hasn’t thrown since.


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