White Sox strike early in 5-2 victory

Saturday, October 15, 2005

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- No doubt about this one.

Jon Garland and Paul Konerko made sure of that.

Garland pitched a four-hitter, Konerko hit a two-run homer deep into the left-field seats in a three-run first inning and the Chicago White Sox silenced the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the AL championship series.

"I was strong. I was really strong," said Garland, who struck out seven and walked one in his first outing since Oct. 1. "The offense took the pressure off me in the first inning."

Garland pitched Chicago's second straight complete game, following Mark Buehrle's five-hitter in Game 2.

"When you're not swinging the bats well, you look flat," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

There weren't any discussions of dubious decisions by the umpires, unlike Wednesday night in Chicago when umpire Doug Eddings set off days of debate with a controversial call in the ninth that led to the White Sox's winning run.

Not that the umpires had a quiet night.

The sellout crowd of 44,725 at Angel Stadium repeatedly booed the umpires and Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski, who ran to first with two outs in the ninth Wednesday after he swung and missed strike three, a pitch Eddings ruled hit the dirt.

Replays seemed to show Angels backup catcher Josh Paul grabbed the pitch in the air, and the Angels were furious, especially after Joe Crede hit an RBI double late in the inning for a 2-1 Chicago win.

Before Friday's game, Scioscia insisted there wouldn't be any carry-over.

"Our guys have moved on. I feel the same way," he said.

But the White Sox found new punch against John Lackey, scoring as many runs in the first three innings as they did in the first two games.

"When we came in today, nobody was talking about that call," Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly said.

Ervin Santana, the 22-year-old rookie who won the first-round clincher against the New York Yankees, will try to tie the series for the Angels on Saturday when he pitches against Freddy Garcia.

Garland, pitching against a team he nearly was traded to, allowed three runners in the first five innings and just five overall. Darin Erstad had the first hard-hit ball, a second-inning, two-out double, but was thrown out trying for third.

Garland didn't give up any runs until the sixth, when Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer down the left-field line. Garland then retired his final 10 batters.

"He showed people today," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think it's one of the best games he's pitched, the best I've seen him throw all year long."

Eddings, who worked the right-field foul line, was the focus of fans as the game began in twilight with an unusually warm 89-degree temperature. Behind the plate, one spectator held a bright yellow sign referring to the number on the sleeve of Eddings' shirt: "Eddings 88. 87 other guys were busy so we got you!"

Fans booed loudly when Pierzynski was introduced, when the umpires walked out to home plate, when the umps ran to their positions in the field and again when the umps were introduced. A profane chant aimed at Eddings followed briefly.

In the middle of the first, a red banner was draped over the front of the right-field bleachers: "Eddings go home." Fans booed when foul balls were hit near him and mocked him with cheers when he made obvious calls. In the sixth, fans pointed their Thunder Stix toward first base after Vladimir Guerrero struck out, even though Garland's pitch wasn't near the dirt, and booed loudly in the seventh when Eddings signaled on Garret Anderson's line drive that clearly was foul.

Chicago, meanwhile, needed just 12 pitches to take a 3-0 lead.

Scott Podsednik singled on an 0-2 pitch leading off, Tadahito Iguchi sacrificed him to second and Jermaine Dye doubled to right-center to put the White Sox ahead. Lackey, who allowed just 13 homers during the regular season, then made a mistake on a 3-2 curveball to Konerko, who was just 4-for-20 in the postseason coming in. Catcher Bengie Molina set his target low and outside, the pitch went high and inside, and there was no doubt when Konerko connected,

The mostly red-clad crowd was stunned. Garland, from nearby Valencia and pitching in front of friends and family, never let Los Angeles back into the game.

Lackey didn't have his sharp breaking pitches. He lost for the first time since Aug. 25 and only the second time since the All-Star break, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings.

"John wasn't out there and wasn't awful, but he obviously wasn't as crisp as we had seen him and as crisp as he was against the Yankees," Scioscia said.

Carl Everett's RBI single in the third made it 4-0, and Konerko singled in a run in the fifth.

Notes: The Angels played Metallica's "Enter Sandman," the theme music of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, during the pregame meeting of umpires and managers at home plate.

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