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L.A. Angels «012000000371
Chi. White Sox001100000270

Byrd pitches Angels past ChiSox in ALCS Game 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Three time zones in three nights. No matter, the Los Angeles Angels were plenty fresh thanks to Paul Byrd and his bullpen.

COMMENTARY
Byrd, Angels send ChiSox wake-up call in Game 1
by Scott Miller
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Byrd pitched effectively in a pinch, Garret Anderson homered and baseball's most frequent flyers edged the Chicago White Sox 3-2 Tuesday night in the opener of the AL Championship Series.

The Angels were supposed to be more than a little jet-lagged. Sunday night, they were on the East Coast, playing the Yankees. Monday night, they were back on the West Coast, beating New York. Now, they're in the Midwest, with no off-day until Thursday.

"We've had a couple of redeye flights and guys haven't really complained. I don't know if we're delirious or what," Byrd said.

Seeking their first World Series berth in 46 years and first championship since 1917, the White Sox received another outstanding outing from Jose Contreras but couldn't manage much offense.

The Cuban right-hander worked into the ninth inning but lost for the first time since Aug. 15, ending his nine-start winning streak.

Chicago had won eight games in a row going back to the regular season, but fell short against a travel-weary Los Angeles team.

"As I said before the game, I don't believe they would be tired. As soon as you put a uniform on, you forget about pains," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It was to our advantage, all the traveling stuff, but they showed us and they showed everybody that that's not the truth."

Recovering from a throat infection and fever, Jarrod Washburn is slated to pitch Game 2 of the best-of-7 series for the Angels on Wednesday night against All-Star starter Mark Buehrle.

Scot Shields, who splashed water on his face in the bullpen to stay awake in the early innings, retired slugger Paul Konerko with two on to end the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez worked around third baseman Chone Figgins' error to begin the ninth and struck out Joe Crede to close it out.

The Angels won Game 1 for the first time in six postseason series under manager Mike Scioscia.

"These last 48 hours have been a blur," Scioscia said. "We were fortunate to hold on. ... This is the way the series is going to be."

The Angels will have plenty of time to rest. Right now, they're too busy winning to worry about all that.

"We're all tired from the last three days but we put all that behind," Rodriguez said. "How are you going to feel tired, especially in the playoffs?"

The 34-year-old Byrd walked only 28 batters all season and his throwback delivery, with arms rocking back behind him like a right-handed Whitey Ford, belongs in a flickering old cut of black-and-white film footage.

A 12-game winner during the regular season, Byrd landed the Game 1 start because he was the only option left. The first-round series took a toll on Los Angeles' pitching staff, and ace Bartolo Colon was left off the ALCS roster because of a shoulder injury.

Working on only three days' rest after a short outing in Game 3 against the Yankees, Byrd slipped on the mound while throwing a first-inning pitch to leadoff batter Scott Podsednik, then held Chicago in check for six-plus innings to earn his first postseason victory.

He departed after hitting Aaron Rowand with a pitch to begin the seventh, but Shields recorded six outs to set up Rodriguez for his third save of the postseason.

"I can't say enough about our bullpen coming in and picking me up," said Byrd, who downplayed the short rest. "I'm a control pitcher so I don't rely on great velocity anyway. It wasn't a big deal for me. I was able to move the ball around a little bit and got away with a few pitches."

The White Sox attempted all sorts of tricks -- No. 3 hitter Jermaine Dye tried to bunt leading off the sixth but popped up to Byrd. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski took off from first in the seventh on what he thought was a hit-and-run, but was caught stealing.

"It's the way we played all year. We're aggressive," Konerko said. "An aggressive mistake when you are playing to win, no one has a problem with that. Against those guys at the end of the game you've got to try to make things happen."

Fireworks boomed before the game and video boards just below the upper deck flashed: "This is White Sox playoff country."

One sign in the stands read: "8 in a row. 8 to go. 88 yrs in the making."

Playing before a revved-up crowd of 40,659, the well-rested White Sox had been waiting at home since Saturday after sweeping defending champion Boston in the first round. With their pitching rotation lined up perfectly, they were supposed to have an edge early in this series, but the AL Central champs were the ones who looked weary in the early going.

Similar styles carried the Angels and White Sox this far: Both rely on solid starting pitching and a deep bullpen, and they like to manufacture runs with bunts and smart baserunning.

That doesn't mean they can't play long ball, though.

Anderson led off the second inning with his third homer of the postseason -- he had a team-best seven RBI in the first round.

Then the Angels went to what they do best. Adam Kennedy's hit-and-run single was followed by Figgins' sacrifice bunt, putting runners at second and third in the third.

Orlando Cabrera's slow bouncer scored Steve Finley, and third baseman Crede hesitated before throwing to first, allowing Cabrera to reach on an infield single.

"This game, with its twists and turns, could have gone either way for the whole nine innings," Scioscia said. "It could have turned on a dime."

Vladimir Guerrero bounced back to the mound, and Contreras tried for a double play instead of going home to get Kennedy. Cabrera's high slide bothered second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, who overthrew first base, and Los Angeles had a 3-0 lead on Guerrero's first RBI of the playoffs.

"If the ball had been hit a bit slower and I didn't think I had a chance to turn a double play, I would have probably gone home," Contreras said through a translator. "But we've turned double plays all season long and can't change anything you've done this season. If we turned that double play we might be talking about something different."

Crede homered in the bottom half, and Pierzynski concluded a feisty at-bat with a two-out RBI single in the fourth, cutting it to 3-2.

Notes

  • The White Sox are 0-6 in ALCS games at home.
  • Guillen received the loudest cheer during pregame introductions and waved his cap to the crowd.
  • Billy Pierce, a pitcher on the 1959 "Go-Go Sox" team that lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, threw out the first pitch to a warm ovation.
  • The Angels also won the last four meetings of the regular season, including a three-game sweep in Chicago from Sept. 9-11.
 
Copyright 2015 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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COMMENTS
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With the Angels' staff worn out or injured, Paul Byrd answers the call, giving up just two runs.
 
With the Angels' staff worn out or injured, Paul Byrd answers the call, giving up just two runs. (AP)
 

Players of the Game
Anaheim

G. Anderson
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Chicago

J. Crede
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B3010010 .167
Orlando Cabrera, SS4011001 .240
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4001001 .273
Garret Anderson, LF4111011 .261
Bengie Molina, C4010000 .409
Darin Erstad, 1B4010001 .292
Juan Rivera, RF4000002 .286
Steve Finley, CF3110021 .143
Adam Kennedy, 2B3110000 .250
Totals33373047 
Batting
HR - Garret Anderson (3, Contreras)
SH - Chone Figgins (1)
RBI - Orlando Cabrera (4), Vladimir Guerrero (1), Garret Anderson (8)
SB - Chone Figgins (1, 2nd base off Contreras/Pierzynski), Darin Erstad (1, 2nd base off Contreras/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Chone Figgins (1, misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
Paul Byrd (W,1-0) 6522111 5.59
Scot Shields (H,1) 2200010 2.57
Francisco Rodriguez (S,3) 1000010 2.08
HBP - Rowand (by Paul Byrd)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 73-46, Scot Shields 27-18, Francisco Rodriguez 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 5-11, Scot Shields 1-3, Francisco Rodriguez 2-1
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 24, Scot Shields 7, Francisco Rodriguez 4
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF3010111 .286
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4010001 .250
Jermaine Dye, RF4010002 .214
Paul Konerko, 1B4000002 .188
Carl Everett, DH4110000 .267
    Pablo Ozuna, PR-DH0000000 .000
Aaron Rowand, CF3000001 .308
A.J. Pierzynski, C4011002 .385
Joe Crede, 3B4111022 .154
Juan Uribe, SS3010000 .385
Totals332721311 
Batting
HR - Joe Crede (1, Byrd)
RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (5), Joe Crede (2)
2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (4)
CS - Scott Podsednik (3, 2nd base by Byrd/Molina), A.J. Pierzynski (1, 2nd base by Shields/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
Chicago White Sox
Jose Contreras (L,1-1) 8.1733041 2.81
Neal Cotts 0.2000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jose Contreras 102-68, Neal Cotts 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Contreras 14-7, Neal Cotts 1-1
Batters Faced - Jose Contreras 32, Neal Cotts 2
Game Information
Attendance - 40659
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Ron Kulpa