New 'ace' in the hole
And now what happens to Brandon McCarthy?

What happens to a pitcher who has given up no runs and only five hits in his last 14 2/3 innings against the two highest-scoring teams in the American League?

What happens now, after he pitched two of the biggest victories of the year for the White Sox, including Monday's makeup 5-3 victory over Boston at Fenway Park?

"We don't know yet," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

"We've got to sit down and talk about it. We're not in a six-man rotation, and if we're not, he's got to go to the bullpen."

McCarthy, who started only because it was a one-day trip that would have skewered the rotation, now apparently becomes the odd man out on a starting staff that leads the league in victories.

"I knew coming up my role was that they would put me where they needed me," McCarthy said.

"That's fine, whether it be bullpen or starting every 15 days or whatever. That's fine by me."

That may be fine with the rest of the league as well, because McCarthy completely baffled Texas and Boston, both on the road.

On Monday, he scattered three hits while striking out a career-high seven and walking only one.

The Red Sox didn't score until the ninth inning, when Tadahito Iguchi's error and Tony Graffanino's homer off Bobby Jenks made the game appear closer than it was.

The victory cut the Sox's magic number for clinching the AL Central to 17, even though they hated to give up a day off for the quick trip to Boston.

But while most teammates grumbled, McCarthy had no complaints.

"Me and a couple of other guys are a couple of weeks removed from nine-hour bus rides or plane flights at 6 in the morning," he said. "So having a one-day trip here is not a bad deal at all."

In front of a Labor Day gathering of 35,673, the largest regular season crowd to see a game at Fenway Park since Sept. 28, 1990, the White Sox improved their baseball-best record in day games to 32-16.

They did it with little ball and big ball, scoring their third run on consecutive sacrifice bunts by Scott Podsednik and Iguchi and scoring their final two on homers by Paul Konerko and Juan Uribe.

Curt Schilling (5-7), making only his third start since returning from the bullpen, pitched into the seventh inning and gave up four runs on nine hits.

He is improving but still not up to 2004 form, when he won 21 games for the World Series champions.

The Sox wasted their first scoring opportunity when Geoff Blum was left at third base after tripling to lead off the third inning.