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When the White Sox and Cubs won Monday afternoon, it placed them both -- however briefly -- in first place.* The Cubs opened with a 4-2 road trip -- the first time in more than 20 years they won two road series to start the season -- then won an impressive home opener. The Sox, after a stumbling start, were equally impressive at home Sunday, then won their Monday start on the road in Detroit against the Tigers in a 10-6 slugfest that found the Sox' Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye hitting their 300th homers in back-to-back at-bats. Now, I know it's only two games in what amounts to a 324-game season for both teams, but I was struck by the similarities. Sunday the Sox backed up a classic quality start by Mark Buehrle--who gave up a homer only to retire the next 15 batters--to post a 6-1 win over the archrival Minnesota Twins. On Monday the Cubs' Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, as the Cubs took a 3-0 lead, which held with the help of a solid performance by the bullpen. The Sox game Sunday was more enjoyable, thanks to the sunshine and complete with money falling from the sky during the singing of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch (no doubt lost by some hapless vendor in the lower deck and caught up in the wind off the lake). But the Cubs' win Monday was more gritty, earned in the mist and fog and chill of a game that easily could have been called. Let me be the first to dare say there could be magic on both sides of town this summer. And the weather can only get better -- for Cubs fans, at least.
*With Saint Louis's 2-1 win at Arizona last night, the Cubs are now in second.