|Chi. White Sox «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||8||0|
HOUSTON -- The Chicago White Sox.
The Boston Red Sox.
Can the Cubs be far behind?
Their cross-town rivals became the latest long-suffering team to celebrate a World Series championship for the first time since World War I, beating the Houston Astros 1-0 Wednesday night for a four-game sweep.
If that sounds familiar, it is.
Just a year ago, the same story line captivated baseball when the Red Sox swept St. Louis to capture their first title in 86 years.
That leaves only one team with a similar epic streak of futility -- the Cubs, losers since 1908.
For now, though, the Windy City can celebrate the White Sox, the team from the South Side who hadn't won a Series since 1917 and hadn't played in one since 1959. No longer will they be remembered for Shoeless Joe Jackson's Black Sox, who threw the 1919 Series against Cincinnati, but rather as champions -- improbable as that might seem.
"It's unbelievable, unbelievable," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
In the Second City, where the Cubs have long been king, the AL team for once trumped their North Side NL rival, no small feat for the Sox.
Owner Jerry Reinsdorf once said he'd trade all six of the Chicago Bulls' NBA titles for a single Series ring. No swap is needed now: He's scored the prize he dreamed of since he was a kid growing up in Brooklyn.
"I hope this is not a dream," he said, holding the trophy under his left arm like a kid clutching his first baseball glove.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said during the regular season that he might retire if his team went on to win the Series. But now, after Jermaine Dye's RBI single in the eighth and a five-hit shutout by four pitchers completed the sweep, he wants to stick around to manage the American League in next summer's All-Star Game.
"Hopefully I'll be the first Latino (manager) to win an All-Star Game," he said.
Chicago's sweep, its eighth consecutive postseason win and 16th in 17 games overall, made it only the second team to go through the postseason 11-1 since the extra round of playoffs was added in 1995, joining the 1999 Yankees. But the White Sox fans didn't get to enjoy a single celebration in person: The division title and all three rounds of the postseason were won on the road, a baseball first.
"I wish we were in Chicago tonight," Reinsdorf said.
As players celebrated in the infield, toddlers in the White Sox delegation ran up "Tal's Hill" in deep center. One young girl in pink did cartwheels on the warning track.
Houston, which finally won a pennant for the first time since it joined the National League in 1962, became the first team swept in its Series debut.
"They played well all year long," Astros manager Phil Garner said of the White Sox. "They played well against us. They deserve to be world champions this year."
Harris lined a single to left leading off, Scott Podsednik bunted a difficult high pitch in front of the plate and the speedy Harris took second on the sacrifice. Carl Everett pinch hit for Tadahito Iguchi and grounded to second, moving Harris to third.
Dye, the Series MVP, swung and missed Lidge's next pitch, took a ball, then grounded a single up the middle, clapping his hands as he left the plate. Harris trotted home from third, and the White Sox celebrated in the third-base dugout.
"I know he throws a lot of sliders," Dye said. "He throws hard but usually his fastball is just to keep you honest."
But it wasn't quite over yet.
Cliff Politte relieved to start the bottom half and hit Willy Taveras on the hand with one out. Politte bounced a wild pitch on his first offering to Lance Berkman, moving Taveras to second, then intentionally walked Berkman, nearly throwing away the next pitch.
Morgan Ensberg flied to right-center, dropping him to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the Series, and Chicago brought in left-hander Neal Cotts to face pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino, who hit a broken-bat grounder to shortstop.
Juan Uribe charged in, backhanded the ball by the grass and threw hard to first, beating Vizcaino by half a step.
Brad Ausmus sacrificed and pinch-hitter Chris Burke fouled out to Uribe, who fell into the left-field seats as he leaned in to make the grab. Uribe ran to the mound with the ball and gave Jenks a slap.
"How did he pull it out?" Houston's Craig Biggio said. "If I was a fan, I would have mauled him."
Orlando Palmeiro then pinch hit, and grounded to Uribe at shortstop for the final out, with Paul Konerko gloving the ball a half-step before Palmeiro landed on the bag. A postseason filled with umpires making questionable calls ended with them getting it right.
"It means a lot not only to us in the clubhouse but to the organization, to the fans, to the city, and it's just a great feeling," Dye said. "We're just happy to be able to bring a championship to the city of Chicago, and it's really special."
Chicago players poured out of their dugout and jumped around on the mound.
"Today was the first time in my life, the last two innings, my heart was pounding like crazy. I was so excited," Guillen said. "So many people were waiting for this moment."
Astros players were stone-faced, then came out to wave to their fans and throw caps into the seats. Houston was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position on the night and 10-for-48 (.208) in the Series, and the Astros were shut out for the final 15 innings, stranding 18 runners.
"I did really poor in this series, and that really eats at me," said Ensberg, who was 2-for-18 with two RBI. "It's difficult to handle."
Jenks recorded his second save, while Lidge fell to 0-2 in the Series and 0-3 in the postseason.
"Getting this far almost leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," Lidge said.
After Chicago's 14-inning, 7-5 win that lasted a Series-record 5 hours, 41 minutes and ended at 1:20 a.m. CT Wednesday, the crowd of 42,936 at Minute Maid Park was somewhat subdued. The fans had to know that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 Series deficit.
"I guess it's fitting -- how many times were we shut out this year? -- to get shut out in our final game." Biggio said of the Astros, blanked a major league-high 17 times.
Guillen was ready to take the prize with him.
"With all due respect to Chicago fans, I know my country, they're going crazy," he said. "The trophy is going to Venezuela."
A.J. Pierzynski jumps into the arms of Bobby Jenks after a the final out. (Getty Images)
|Players of the Game|
Majestic Chicago White Sox T-Shirt
$14.99 Shop Now!
|Chicago White Sox|
|Scott Podsednik, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Tadahito Iguchi, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.191|
|a- Carl Everett, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.300|
|Cliff Politte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Neal Cotts, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Bobby Jenks, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||4||0||3||1||0||1||0||.311|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.265|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.262|
|Aaron Rowand, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.267|
|Joe Crede, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.289|
|Juan Uribe, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.286|
|Freddy Garcia, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Willie Harris, PH-2B||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|a-grounded out for Iguchi in the 8th|
|b-singled for Garcia in the 8th|
|2B - Jermaine Dye (3, Backe), A.J. Pierzynski (4, Lidge), Joe Crede (3, Backe)|
|3B - Scott Podsednik (3, Backe)|
|SH - Scott Podsednik (1)|
|RBI - Jermaine Dye (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jermaine Dye (3)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Crede-Iguchi-Konerko|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Freddy Garcia (W,3-0)||7||4||0||0||3||7||0||2.14|
|Cliff Politte (H,3)||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||2.70|
|Neal Cotts (H,2)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Bobby Jenks (S,4)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.25|
|IBB - Lamb by Freddy Garcia, Berkman by Cliff Politte|
|HBP - Taveras (by Cliff Politte)|
|WP - Cliff Politte (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Freddy Garcia 106-63, Cliff Politte 15-6, Neal Cotts 5-3, Bobby Jenks 17-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Freddy Garcia 11-2, Cliff Politte 1-1, Neal Cotts 1-0, Bobby Jenks 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Freddy Garcia 27, Cliff Politte 4, Neal Cotts 1, Bobby Jenks 4|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.295|
|Willy Taveras, CF||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.349|
|Lance Berkman, LF||1||0||0||0||3||1||1||.333|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.211|
|Mike Lamb, 1B||2||0||1||0||1||0||1||.250|
|a- Jose Vizcaino, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.111|
|Jason Lane, RF||4||0||1||0||0||2||5||.232|
|Brad Ausmus, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.268|
|Adam Everett, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.212|
|b- Chris Burke, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.286|
|Brandon Backe, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|c- Jeff Bagwell, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.182|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Orlando Palmeiro, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|a-grounded out for Lamb in the 8th|
|b-fouled out for Everett in the 9th|
|c-grounded out for Backe in the 7th|
|d-grounded out for Lidge in the 9th|
|2B - Mike Lamb (2, Garcia)|
|SH - Willy Taveras (4), Brad Ausmus (1)|
|SB - Willy Taveras (1, 3rd base off Garcia/Pierzynski), Lance Berkman (1, 2nd base off Garcia/Pierzynski)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Brad Lidge (L,0-3)||2||3||1||1||0||3||0||4.26|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 100-69, Brad Lidge 26-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 8-6, Brad Lidge 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 26, Brad Lidge 9|
|Attendance - 42936|
|Game Time - 3:20|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Angel A. Hernandez, Third Base - Joe West|