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Podsednik's walk-off solo homer gives White Sox 2-0 lead in Series

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- One saved the game. One won it.

Two electrifying home runs.

COMMENTARY
Scotty who? That's right, it's Podsednik who wins it
by Scott Miller
What's Your Take?
Tell Scott your opinion!
 

Two more wins and the Chicago White Sox can call themselves World Series champions for the first time since 1917.

When Paul Konerko's seventh-inning grand slam wasn't enough, Scott Podsednik homered off Brad Lidge in the ninth Sunday night to give Chicago a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros and a 2-0 World Series lead.

"I don't think anyone in the ballpark was thinking about me hitting the ball out of the ballpark," Podsednik said.

One home run came from a big bopper, who hit 40 during the regular season. The other from Podsednik, who didn't get his first of the year until the postseason opener against Boston.

"I'm pretty crazy, so to speak, a little superstitious," Podsednik said. "I'm using something different up there just about every week."

Konerko homered on Chad Qualls' first pitch after yet another questionable umpiring call, this one a hit batter on Jermaine Dye, who admitted Dan Wheeler's pitch struck his bat. Konerko's homer erased a 4-2 deficit, sparking the crowd of 41,432 to life on a drizzly, dreary night and capped a momentous week.

"He's got nasty stuff, that guy," Konerko said. "He threw it exactly where I was looking."

A week earlier, Konerko was selected MVP of the AL Championship Series win over the Los Angeles Angels. Two days later, his wife gave birth to their first child, Nicholas.

It was Konerko's fifth postseason homer and the first Series slam since the Yankees' Tino Martinez in 1998.

"It's the second-best feeling I've had all week," he said. "The baby born Tuesday night ... that's first for the week."

When the Series resumes in Houston on Tuesday night, Roy Oswalt pitches for the Astros against Jon Garland.

"Well, we're not in a good spot," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "They can't do anything wrong."

Closer Bobby Jenks, who earned the Game 1 save after not pitching for 14 days, couldn't work his magic two nights in a row.

Jose Vizcaino, pinch hitting for Adam Everett with two outs in the ninth, reached the burly reliever for a two-run, opposite-field single to left and Chris Burke just beat Podsednik's on-target throw to score the tying run, slapping the plate with his hand.

That brought up Podsednik, perhaps the most unlikely hero.

He didn't have any home runs in 507 regular-season at-bats.

"We're going to get this win," Konerko recalled of the mood in the dugout. "I didn't think we thought it would be that quick or by a home run by him."

Podsednik came up with one out in the ninth against Lidge, who hadn't pitched since losing Game 5 of the NL Championship Series against St. Louis, when he gave up a mammoth three-run homer to Albert Pujols in the ninth that teammates joked rose to airplane cruising altitude.

This one wasn't as long, but it was just as damaging.

Podsednik lofted a 2-1 pitch to right-center field, and players and fans craned to see whether it would clear the fence. When it did, for the 14th game-ending homer in Series history, Chicago players poured out of the dugout to greet Podsednik at the plate.

Lidge gave up just five homers during the regular season.

"I'm frustrated by it, but I'm not changing a darn thing," he said. "I'm ready to get out there as quickly as possible."

Andy Pettitte had put his hometown team in position for its first World Series win, leaving after six innings with a 4-2 lead built by Lance Berkman's three RBI and Morgan Ensberg's solo homer.

Chicago pressured reliever Wheeler on Juan Uribe's one-out double in the seventh and Tadahito Iguchi's walk, and the White Sox loaded the bases when Dye was awarded first base on a 3-2 pitch that umpires ruled hit his hand. Houston disputed the call and replays appeared to show the ball striking his bat.

"I thought in my heart I made the right call. I had it hitting him," baseball spokesman Pat Courtney quoted plate umpire Jeff Nelson as saying.

If it had been ruled a foul ball, the count would have remained full on Dye. But he took first, Qualls relieved and he left his first pitch over the plate. Konerko turned on it, and it went deep into the left-field bleachers.

"I'm not going to tell him I fouled it off," Dye said. "Just go to first and, hopefully, we get a big hit and we did."

It was 45 degrees when the game began, weather more suited for football than baseball. While rain held off in the early going, it began again in the fifth, just before Berkman doubled down the left-field line to break a 2-2 tie. For the rest of the game, many fans wore slickers and held up umbrellas in an attempt to stay dry.

Making his record 34th postseason start, Pettitte needed 54 pitches to get through the first three innings. He allowed two runs in the second on Joe Crede's opposite-field bloop RBI single to right -- his 10th postseason RBI -- and Uribe's popup to short right that bounced off the glove of backtracking second baseman Craig Biggio and fell for a run-scoring fielder's choice.

Ensberg led off the second with his first homer since Sept. 20 at Pittsburgh, and gave Houston its first lead of the Series. Willy Taveras tripled into the right-field corner in the third and made it 2-2 on Berkman's sacrifice fly.

"It's a tough loss," Biggio said. "We've been through a lot of adversity all season long. We've been able to bounce back and come back."

Notes

  • Florida's Alex Gonzalez hit the previous game-ending Series homer in Game 4 two years ago.
  • The game began seven minutes later, the first rain delay at the start of a Series game since Game 3 in 1993 at Philadelphia began 1:12 late.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig didn't take his front-row seat until after the first inning.
  • In the fourth, Pettitte pitched Houston's first 1-2-3 inning of the Series.
 
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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It's a White Sox party at home plate, but Houston closer Brad Lidge doesn't feel the same way.
 
It's a White Sox party at home plate, but Houston closer Brad Lidge doesn't feel the same way. (AP)
 

Players of the Game
Chicago

S. Podsednik
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

J. Vizcaino
AB 1
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B4000011 .294
    Eric Bruntlett, 2B0000000 .143
   a- Mike Lamb, PH-1B1000001 .259
Willy Taveras, CF4220000 .400
Lance Berkman, 1B-LF3013020 .333
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4111011 .234
Jeff Bagwell, DH4110000 .222
Jason Lane, RF4010021 .217
Chris Burke, LF-2B3100101 .308
Brad Ausmus, C4120000 .298
Adam Everett, SS3000023 .227
   b- Jose Vizcaino, PH-SS1012000 .125
Totals35696188 
a-flied out for Bruntlett in the 9th
b-singled for Everett in the 9th
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (5, Buehrle), Brad Ausmus (4, Buehrle)
3B - Willy Taveras (1, Buehrle)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (1, Buehrle)
SF - Lance Berkman (1)
RBI - Lance Berkman 3 (13), Morgan Ensberg (10), Jose Vizcaino 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman 2 (4), Jose Vizcaino 2 (2)
SB - Jason Lane (1, 2nd base off Buehrle/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Lane 1
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte 6822040 4.26
Dan Wheeler (H,3) 0.2133110 4.70
Chad Qualls (BS,1) 0.2211001 2.70
Mike Gallo 0.2000000 0.00
Brad Lidge (L,0-2) 0.1111001 4.82
HBP - Dye (by Dan Wheeler)
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 104-68, Dan Wheeler 22-12, Chad Qualls 10-7, Mike Gallo 4-3, Brad Lidge 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 7-6, Chad Qualls 1-0, Mike Gallo 2-0
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 25, Dan Wheeler 5, Chad Qualls 3, Mike Gallo 2, Brad Lidge 2
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF5111013 .289
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B3110110 .189
Jermaine Dye, RF3110001 .265
Paul Konerko, 1B4114012 .293
Carl Everett, DH4020011 .289
Aaron Rowand, CF4120001 .286
A.J. Pierzynski, C4110012 .257
Joe Crede, 3B4011000 .278
Juan Uribe, SS4121000 .344
Totals3571271510 
Batting
2B - Aaron Rowand (6, Pettitte), Juan Uribe 2 (5, Pettitte, Wheeler)
HR - Scott Podsednik (2, Lidge), Paul Konerko (5, Qualls)
RBI - Scott Podsednik (6), Paul Konerko 4 (15), Joe Crede (10), Juan Uribe (6)
2-OUT RBI - Paul Konerko 4 (5)
SB - Juan Uribe (1, 2nd base off Pettitte/Ausmus)
CS - Carl Everett (1, 2nd base by Qualls/Ausmus)
PK - Tadahito Iguchi (1, Pettitte)
Team LOB - 5
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle 7744061 3.52
Cliff Politte (H,1) 1000010 0.00
Bobby Jenks (BS,1) 0.2222110 3.60
Neal Cotts (W,1-0) 0.1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 100-69, Cliff Politte 11-8, Bobby Jenks 16-10, Neal Cotts 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 7-8, Cliff Politte 1-1, Bobby Jenks 1-0
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 28, Cliff Politte 3, Bobby Jenks 5, Neal Cotts 1
Game Information
Attendance - 41432
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 45
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom