Final

Playoff Series: Game 1 of 5

Chi White Sox won 4-1

Game 1: Tuesday, October 11
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Game 2: Wednesday, October 12
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Game 3: Friday, October 14
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Game 4: Saturday, October 15
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Game 5: Sunday, October 16
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8:00 PM ET, October 11, 2005

U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

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W: P. Byrd (1-0)

L: J. Contreras (0-1)

S: F. Rodriguez (1)

Angels can rest easier with Game 1 ALCS win

CHICAGO (AP) -- Three time zones in three nights. No matter, the Los Angeles Angels were plenty fresh thanks to Paul Byrd and his bullpen.

Game 1 Breakdown
Unsung Hero
Scot Shields. He took over for starter Paul Byrd with a runner on first and no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Shields went on to pitch two scoreless innings in relief, and didn't allow any baserunners to get beyond second base.

Goat
Scott Podsednik. His failure to get down a sacrifice bunt with Juan Uribe on first base and no outs in the bottom of the eighth proved to be crucial in preventing the White Sox from potentially tying the game. And that's because after Podesdnik struck out and Tadahito Iguchi popped out to short -- keeping Uribe at first -- Jermaine Dye singled to right, a hit that only moved Uribe up to second base. He was stranded there when Paul Konerko flew out to center to end the inning, preserving the Angels' 3-2 lead.

Turning Point
The top of the third inning. Holding a 1-0 lead, Steve Finley and Adam Kennedy hit back-to-back singles to begin the inning. They moved up to second and third, respectively, on a sacrifice bunt by Chone Figgins. And then without getting a ball out of the infield, Finley and Kennedy both came in to score on an infield single by Orlando Cabrera and a fielder's choice grounder by Vladimir Guerrero, pushing the Angels' lead to 3-0.

Important Stat
Three. As in three home runs for Garret Anderson in six games this postseason. Anderson's third homer came while leading off the top of the second against Jose Contreras, giving the Angels an early 1-0 lead.

On Deck
Game 2 of the series will take place on Wednesday in Chicago. Two left-handers will square off as Jarrod Washburn will start for the Angels, and Mark Buehrle will go for the White Sox. Washburn was scratched from his scheduled start in Game 4 of the ALDS vs. the Yankees because of a throat infection and fever. Buehrle allowed four runs in seven innings, earning the victory in the White Sox's 5-4 win over the Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS.

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 got 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-seven 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 got 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 got 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 RBIs 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.

Game notes


The White Sox are 0-6 in ALCS games at home. ... Guillen got 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 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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