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Washout no benefit to Chisox, Bosox

BOSTON - A drenched bunch of White Sox couldn't catch a break Sunday in a storm that would have scared off Gloucester fishermen.

They were off to a very good start against the Boston Red Sox until inclement weather - or Matt Clement weather - came along to turn the ballpark into Fenway Pond.

I don't know which is worse:

4Having a game called off on account of rain when you are leading the defending World Series champions 5-2.

4 Having a game scrubbed in the fourth inning when it would have counted had it had gone five.

4 Postponing a game you can't make up without flying all the way back to Boston for just one day.

The team came here from New York on a train rather than a plane. White Sox traveling secretary Ed Cassin chartering a few Amtrak cars for a change of pace. By the time the Sox were ready to leave town, a tuna boat would have come in handy.

They killed time for hours while lightning and thunder struck. Water in both dugouts was ankle-deep. Yet no one from either side seemed willing to pull the plug on this game, even though players - particularly outfielders - would have risked considerable physical harm by going out there.

Just like the PGA's golfers, the White and Red Sox couldn't finish what they started.

Naturally, the daylong rain let up very shortly after everybody in the park was sent home. But it still was pretty dangerous delaying the postponement as long as they did on a day when lightning bolts crackled in the sky.

"Every half-hour, they gave me an update on the weather," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They showed me something on a computer with all kinds of technical stuff I didn't understand. I just went, 'Oh, OK.'''

It was a lost weekend for Guillen's guys here at Fenway Pond.

They didn't win a game, even though Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Orlando Hernandez were their pitchers.

They hit the ball hard, particularly against Red Sox standouts such as Curt Schilling, David Wells and Clement, but went home with nothing to show for it.

"They beat us up," said White Sox catcher Chris Widger, who started Sunday's game behind the plate. "That doesn't happen to this pitching staff very much."

Nothing was gained or lost in these games, not even bragging rights. But it didn't exactly improve the Sox's confidence to see Boston's batting order, from top to bottom, banging balls off the walls against three of their best arms.

Right now the Red Sox are a formidable club, particularly at Fenway, where they have won 13 in a row. It is their longest home winning streak in 17 years, and it does not bode well for any opponent in October that has to play here.

Mike Downey is a Knight Ridder columnist.