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Boston at Chicago

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Boston000200000290
Chi. White Sox «50120402x14111

White Sox pack plenty of punch in playoff rout of Red Sox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The White Sox got the winning socks. Five of 'em. Now, after such a powerful start, maybe it's their turn to end a title drought.

Stunning the World Series champions with five homers -- two by A.J. Pierzynski -- Chicago routed the Boston Red Sox 14-2 Tuesday in their playoff opener.

"It's nice when you get a game like this, but we've played enough of the other ones to not expect this," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "I don't think we really felt comfortable until we were up eight, 10 runs."

Pierzynski went the final month of the regular season without a homer, but his first one Tuesday -- a three-run shot -- capped a five-run first inning against Matt Clement. And, surprisingly, it came right after the catcher tried to bunt, only to have the ball roll foul.

"Just one of those things, I got good pitches to hit and I hit 'em," Pierzynski said. "In the playoffs you get to start over and forget what you did in the past."

Konerko, Juan Uribe and even leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik -- who didn't have a homer all season -- also connected.

Jose Contreras pitched effectively into the eighth inning, ending Boston's eight-game postseason winning streak that carried the team to its first title in 86 years last season.

But it was Chicago's bats that took Boston out early and made Contreras' job easier.

"The power, obviously, surprises you. Podsednik hits his first homer of the year, that's surprising," Boston's Kevin Millar said. "But it doesn't matter how they do it. We'll just come back tomorrow and try to win a game."

The White Sox are trying to end a championship drought that's even longer the one Boston faced a year ago. It dates way back to the days of Shoeless Joe Jackson and their most recent World Series crown in 1917, the last time they won any playoff series at all.

One sign in the stands summed up hopes on the South Side:

"2004: Their Sox. 2005: Our Sox."

Then again, Boston has done fine overcoming October deficits. The Red Sox rallied from 3-0 down to beat the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series last year before sweeping St. Louis in the World Series for their first title since 1918.

They started that remarkable run last October after they were beaten 19-8 in Game 3 of the ALCS.

"That was a long time ago," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "It's a different team. I've said so many times that last year doesn't matter. What matters to this team is how we bounce back tomorrow."

Game 2 in the best-of-5 series is Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field with Chicago's Mark Buehrle facing Boston's David Wells.

The White Sox got their first playoff victory since 1993, and the home run derby sent a sent a raucous, towel-waving crowd of 40,717 into delirium as they roughed up Clement.

"It's disappointing. No excuses. I pitched bad," Clement said. "I threw bad pitches. They hit them."

Konerko added a solo shot in the third and Uribe a two-run drive to finish Clement in the fourth. Podsednik hit a three-run shot off Jeremi Gonzalez in the sixth. Pierzynski connected again in the eighth.

The White Sox had 200 homers this season, despite their label as a "small ball" team with the speedy Podsednik at the top of the lineup.

"They nick you and then when they do hit the home runs, it makes it a little more significant," Francona said.

Contreras, who was 2-4 with an 11.67 ERA in his career against the Red Sox, allowed eight hits and two runs in 7 2/3 innings in his first playoff start.

Clement, who lost three of his final five regular-season starts, struggled with his control at the outset, hitting Podsednik and Jermaine Dye with pitches.

Podsednik stole third and after Konerko sent a long drive to left that was foul, he put the White Sox ahead with an RBI grounder to third.

Carl Everett followed with a single before Aaron Rowand sent an RBI single over shortstop for a 2-0 lead. The din increased moments later when Pierzynski, a veteran of playoff games with Minnesota, lined his three-run homer to left-center.

If he'd reached on a bunt, the inning -- and perhaps the game -- would have been different.

"I was trying to take advantage of the situation, a guy on third and two outs," Pierzynski said. "I was trying to get a cheapie and it worked out. If I would have gotten it down, maybe something different would have happened."

Trot Nixon singled in the fourth and, after Jason Varitek dropped down a bunt for another hit, Chicago third baseman Joe Crede kicked the ball as he was trying to pick it up and both runners advanced on the error.

Contreras, who tied teammate Freddy Garcia with an AL-leading 20 wild pitches this season, unleashed another as Nixon scored. Millar followed with a double to right and the Red Sox were seemingly back in the game at 6-2.

But Chicago second baseman Tadahito Iguchi made a heads-up play on Bill Mueller's grounder, making a rare throw from second to third to cut down Millar and douse the rally.

And after Pierzynski doubled to start the fourth, Uribe drove a pitch over the fence in left, giving the White Sox a six-run cushion and finishing Clement's miserable day after just 3 1/3 innings.

Pierzynski is the second White Sox player to homer twice in a postseason game, joining Ted Kluszewski, who hit two against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1959 World Series.

Notes

  • Injured White Sox star Frank Thomas threw out the first pitch and got a rousing ovation.
  • The White Sox got their first playoff victory at U.S. Cellular Field, which opened as new Comiskey Park in 1991. They lost three games at home to Toronto in the 1993 ALCS and two to Seattle in the 2000 ALDS. It was their first home playoff win since Game 1 of the 1959 World Series.
  • The Red Sox are in the playoffs as the AL wild card for the third straight year. They've qualified as a wild card five times overall.
  • Pierzynski has four career postseason homers.
  • The five-run first matched the second-biggest inning in White Sox postseason history. The biggest came in the '59 World Series when the White Sox scored seven times in third inning of Game 1.
  • Manny Ramirez's 17-game postseason hitting streak was snapped.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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A.J. Pierzynski's three-run dinger caps a five-run first inning off Red Sox starter Matt Clement.
 
A.J. Pierzynski's three-run dinger caps a five-run first inning off Red Sox starter Matt Clement. (AP)
 

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Contreras
IP 7.2
H 8
ER 2
BB 0
K 6
Chicago

A. Pierzynski
AB 3
R 4
H 3
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF4000022 .000
    Alex Cora, SS0000000 .000
Edgar Renteria, SS4010001 .250
    Adam Hyzdu, CF0000000 .000
David Ortiz, DH4020011 .500
Manny Ramirez, LF4000004 .000
Trot Nixon, RF4120001 .500
Jason Varitek, C4110011 .250
Kevin Millar, 1B3011011 .333
   a- John Olerud, PH10100001.000
Bill Mueller, 3B4000012 .000
Tony Graffanino, 2B4010002 .250
Totals362910615 
a-doubled for Millar in the 9th
Batting
2B - Edgar Renteria (1, Contreras), David Ortiz (1, Contreras), Kevin Millar (1, Contreras), John Olerud (1, Politte), Tony Graffanino (1, Contreras)
RBI - Kevin Millar (1)
Team LOB - 7
Boston Red Sox
Matt Clement (L,0-1) 3.1788003 21.60
Chad Bradford 1.1000010 0.00
Jeremi Gonzalez 2.1244101 15.43
Bronson Arroyo 1222211 18.00
HBP - Podsednik (by Matt Clement), Dye (by Matt Clement), Pierzynski (by Jeremi Gonzalez)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Clement 64-41, Chad Bradford 17-12, Jeremi Gonzalez 41-24, Bronson Arroyo 27-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Clement 4-5, Chad Bradford 3-0, Jeremi Gonzalez 3-4
Batters Faced - Matt Clement 18, Chad Bradford 4, Jeremi Gonzalez 11, Bronson Arroyo 7
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF3223100 .667
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B3000010 .000
   a- Willie Harris, PH-2B10110001.000
Jermaine Dye, RF3000000 .000
   b- Timo Perez, PH-RF1000002 .000
Paul Konerko, 1B4212000 .250
   c- Geoff Blum, PH-1B1000002 .000
Carl Everett, DH4110000 .250
Aaron Rowand, CF3211100 .333
A.J. Pierzynski, C34340001.000
Joe Crede, 3B3100103 .000
Juan Uribe, SS4223011 .500
Totals33141114328 
a-singled for Iguchi in the 8th
b-flied out for Dye in the 8th
c-popped out for Konerko in the 8th
Batting
2B - A.J. Pierzynski (1, Clement)
HR - Scott Podsednik (1, Gonzalez), Paul Konerko (1, Clement), A.J. Pierzynski 2 (2, Clement, Arroyo), Juan Uribe (1, Clement)
SH - Tadahito Iguchi (1)
RBI - Scott Podsednik 3 (3), Willie Harris (1), Paul Konerko 2 (2), Aaron Rowand (1), A.J. Pierzynski 4 (4), Juan Uribe 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Aaron Rowand (1), A.J. Pierzynski 3 (3)
SB - Scott Podsednik (1, 3rd base off Clement/Varitek)
CS - Scott Podsednik (1, 2nd base by Clement/Varitek)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
E - Joe Crede (1, misplayed grounder)
Chicago White Sox
Jose Contreras (W,1-0) 7.2822060 2.35
Neal Cotts 0.1000000 0.00
Cliff Politte 1100000 0.00
WP - Jose Contreras (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jose Contreras 100-70, Neal Cotts 4-3, Cliff Politte 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Contreras 11-6
Batters Faced - Jose Contreras 31, Neal Cotts 1, Cliff Politte 4
Game Information
Attendance - 40717
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Mark Carlson