CHICAGO -- Yes, the Chicago White Sox do indeed have a bullpen, and they have the lead in the World Series, too.
Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks managed to get out of an eighth-inning jam with three straight strikeouts, Joe Crede hit a go-ahead homer and saved two runs with a pair of diving stops and the White Sox beat the Houston Astros 5-3 on Saturday night in Chicago's first World Series game since 1959.
"Winning the game the way we did, it's amazing, truly amazing," Chicago center fielder Aaron Rowand said. "It just gives you chills, goose bumps."
On a night when 43-year-old Roger Clemens hoped to become the oldest pitcher to win a World Series game, the Rocket hobbled off after just two innings, done in by the hamstring injury that has hampered him since early September.
Winner Jose Contreras allowed the Astros three runs in seven-plus innings in their first World Series game, and tied a Series record by hitting three batters.
Chicago pitched four consecutive complete games in finishing off the Angels in the AL Championship Series, a feat not achieved in a postseason series since 1956. But when Willy Taveras hit a leadoff double off Contreras in the eighth with Houston trailing 4-3, manager Ozzie Guillen took him out after 81 pitches.
"They can't leave me out there. I'll lose the game," Contreras said through a translator. "We have guys out there that are fresher."
Cotts, a left-hander whose seven pitches and two outs was Chicago's only relief work against the Angels, came in and allowed a sharp single to left by Lance Berkman, a ball hit so hard that Taveras had to hold at third.
"I don't want to embarrass the kid, but I want the big boy," Guillen said.
Jenks didn't mind.
"I think it's pretty funny," he said.
Throwing fastballs that reached 100 mph, the right-hander who began the year at Double-A struck out Bagwell on a 2-2 pitch.
"He chases fastballs up above the zone," Jenks said.
Jenks raised his right hand, pumping a fist as he came off the mound.
"I'm disappointed, I'm not crushed," Bagwell said. "There's a long way to go."
Scott Podsednik added an RBI triple in the eighth against Russ Springer to boost the margin, and Jenks retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two and keeping the bullpen unscored upon in 10 postseason innings.
"Bagwell's a great hitter, he's a Hall of Famer, but Jenks is throwing 100 mph, you got to go with that," Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski said,
Crede had broken a 3-3 tie in the fourth with a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch off Clemens' replacement, 26-year-old rookie Wandy Rodriguez. As the ball went just over the glove of a leaping Taveras in left-center, Crede strolled around the bases, and Chicago was truly a toddlin' town.
"You got the nerves and butterflies going in and you know what, the game starts and you calm yourself down and realize you got a job to do, and that's go out and win a ballgame," Crede said.
With a runner at third and one out in the sixth, Guillen brought his infield in, and Crede sprawled to make a backhand grab on Ensberg's hard grounder to third.
"They put the good wood on the ball, tough situations, and I was fortunate enough to get leather on it," Crede said.
With runners at the corners and two outs in the seventh, he made another diving backhand play on Craig Biggio, in his 18th season with Houston and appearing in his first World Series game.
"We hit some balls a foot one way or the other, might be a different ballgame," Houston manager Phil Garner said.
Jermaine Dye hit a solo first-inning homer for the White Sox, and Lamb hit a solo shot in the second for the Astros.
Chicago, which has not allowed more than four runs in any of its nine postseason games, will try to try to make it 2-0 on Sunday night, when Mark Buehrle goes against Andy Pettitte, making his 11th Series start.
Clemens became the second-oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, trailing only 46-year-old Jack Quinn for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. He wasn't sharp from the start, needing 54 pitches to labor through two innings.
After the early homers, Carl Everett came home from third with a headfirst slide on Pierzynski's infield grounder in the second and Juan Uribe hit an RBI double for a 3-1 lead. Clemens appeared to be limping as he left the dugout after the second and headed down stairs back to the clubhouse.
"I had the problem in the second inning, and fought my way through that inning," Clemens said. "I came up here and as quick as I could to take my sleeve off and have them check it and see if there was anything I could do so I could continue. And the fluid already started to build up in ... my leg."
The Rocket, who signed with Houston before the 2004 season to lead his hometown team to its first World Series, allowed three runs and four hits.
"He'll only miss one start, right?" Lamb said, hoping Clemens will pitch later in the Series. "Guys will have to pick up the slack. We've been doing it all season. Now will be no different."
- Starting in 1997, the Game 1 victor has won the World Series each year except for 2002.
- Sandy Koufax is the only Hall of Fame pitcher to end his career in the World Series.
- Pittsburgh's Bruce Kison hit three batters in Game 4 in 1971.
- Houston was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, Chicago 2-for-10.