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It's a Wake-Up Call for White Sox

Chicago hopes its good fortune in the ninth inning is the impetus to playing better. 'You kind of feel like you got away with one,' Konerko says.

October 13, 2005|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — The ball's not the only thing that might have changed direction.

While the Angels were assured only of taking a 1-1 tie into extra innings Wednesday night, many of the Chicago White Sox took plate umpire Doug Eddings' ninth-inning call as the arrival of good fortune, aiding their effort to win, 2-1, and tie the American League championship series after two games.

"It was definitely a break," White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand said. "I don't know if the ball bounced or not, but we'll take it. It gives us a ray of hope to get something going."

Through all but one out of the first two games of the series, the White Sox believed they had not played their usual game. But, given a baserunner they deserved or not, given a two-strike split-fingered fastball from Kelvim Escobar that glided straight into the strike zone rather than beneath it, the White Sox knocked a gift horse off the left-field fence.

Joe Crede, who had doubled into the left-center field gap in the seventh inning and was doubled off second base on the next play, lashed Escobar's pitch into the left-field corner, and his teammates mobbed him on the field.

"I don't know what to make of it yet," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "You kind of feel like you got away with one.

"I feel for [the Angels]. There's no question it was a screwed-up thing. Hopefully, we look at it as kind of a freebie, and hopefully we can up our level of play, because we haven't been as good as they are so far."

It was a full night of freebies for the White Sox, whose first run resulted from a first-inning throwing error by Angel starter Jarrod Washburn, a sacrifice bunt -- their first successful one of the series -- and a groundout.

"If I'm Anaheim," Konerko said, "I don't feel like, if I'm them, we beat them. I'm thinking we just got away with one. If that call had gone against us, you're attitude would be, 'OK, everybody's against us. Let's 'man up' here and show them who we are.' "

After two games, each team has four runs. Both games teetered into the late innings, seemingly seeking a misplay or a moment of drama.

"Do we feel lucky? No," said A.J. Pierzynski, who hustled to first in the ninth inning on the controversial call. "Do they feel lucky when they won last night? No. We feel it can go either way. This is two really good teams battling each other, and every pitch counts. It's fun to be out there and it's amazing how much rides on every pitch in this series."

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