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McDonald knocks in three runs with a double

CHICAGO -- They were bundled up -- some wearing hooded sweatshirts under their uniforms, others wearing ski masks to cover their chins.

But the Red Sox are suddenly a hot bunch, and not even a frigid Friday night in Chicago was going to change that.

Backed by a five-run top of the sixth, Boston stayed perfect through five games on this seven-game road trip, rolling to a 10-3 victory over the White Sox.

"It was cold, but guys were ready to play tonight," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

Two of the men wearing the masks under their helmets came up with the biggest hits in that game-breaking sixth.

Cody Ross, who missed Thursday night's game with left-knee soreness, raked a game-tying single to left. And Darnell McDonald ripped a three-run double into the corner in left.

"Well, I'm wearing that the rest of the year," joked McDonald, who also hit a solo homer and had a career-high four RBIs. "[Clubhouse manager Tommy McLaughlin] hooked us up. You know how baseball is. I told Cody when I came in, I said, 'I'm wearing that headgear in August.'"

By the time Marlon Byrd capped the damage with an RBI single up the middle, the Red Sox had a 7-3 lead.

"It's been an entire team effort, and that's what you need to win a few games in a row," Valentine said. "We had a couple innings there where we were just swinging early in the count and we weren't letting the game come to us. Our big guys decided to take a couple of walks. When they did, Cody, Darnell and Marlon were able to deliver. That's what a manager loves to see and fans love to see, that it's a complete team effort."

In many ways, this game belonged to Daniel Bard. Not only was it his first career win as a starter, but it came on the heels of heated debate all week that the Red Sox might be better served if he were in the bullpen.

"I was just comfortable throwing my fastball for strikes, that's as simple as it was," Bard said. "Just early in the count, late in the count, I was getting it in and to be honest, these nights are good nights to pitch once you're loose and once you kind of beat the cold. Hitters don't like hitting in this weather, so you kind of use that to your advantage."

Bard sure looked like a starter in this one, going seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs, walking one and striking out six.

"It was really about Daniel tonight," Valentine said. "He wanted to go out there again. I think he had a complete game in him tonight. If it wasn't so cold and he didn't have those long layovers, I'd have given him a chance for it."

It was Bard's second win of the week, as he followed up on his relief effort on Monday night against the Twins. It was following the club's worst loss of the season -- it blew a 9-0 lead against the Yankees and was rained out the next day -- that the decision was made to skip Bard's last start and have him make that relief cameo.

The Red Sox haven't lost since.

"When we were starting out in that funk, we still were all positive, and we were all behind each other," Ross said. "It's a good sign for a team like this to have each other's back and keep pulling for each other and good things will happen like the last week or so."

Early on, it was hard to tell which way the momentum was going. The White Sox struck for a quick run against Bard in the bottom of the first. Alejandro De Aza led off with a double and Adam Dunn worked a one-out walk. With two outs, A.J. Pierzynski continued his hot start to the season with an RBI double off the wall in left, and it was 1-0.

But back came the Red Sox in the top of the second, as David Ortiz unloaded a two-run homer to right.

The big slugger is hitting .425 on the season.

"He's swinging the bat very well," Valentine said. "He's playing with a great deal of confidence and enjoying what he's doing."

That lead held until the bottom of the third, when the White Sox started a rally on a throwing error by Kevin Youkilis, which allowed leadoff batter Alexei Ramirez to reach base. With one out, Paul Konerko reached on a fly ball that McDonald slid for, but had it go off his glove. Ramirez wound up scoring on a passed ball by Kelly Shoppach to tie the game.

Konerko untied it in the fifth, smashing a two-out solo shot to left.

From there, though, it was all Red Sox. The guys in the cold-weather gear heated up and wouldn't relent.

"It helped though. It definitely helps," McDonald said. "As long as your hands and feet are warm, you're all right."

And just like that, the Red Sox now seem red-hot, from head to toe.

"When we lost that game when we were up 9-1, it definitely was bottom, it felt like," Ross said. "It was nice to get away from that, get on the road. Sometimes it's tough to play on the road, but in baseball, I think it doesn't really matter. A lot of times it's nice to have the crowd behind you, but when you're struggling, sometimes it's nice to just get away. It's been helpful for us." Comments