Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Angels show no mercy in Chicago

AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIESSeeking their first World Series berth in 46 years and first championship since 1917, the White Sox were unable to generate offense

AP , CHICAGO

The Los Angeles Angels, right and the Chicago White Sox line up prior to the start of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at US Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday. Starter Jose Contreras Pitched into the ninth inning for Chicago, but the White Sox's bats were mostly silent in the 3-2 loss. Los Angeles now leads the series 1-0.

PHOTO: AFP

The Los Angeles Angels will have plenty of time to rest. Right now, they're too busy winning.

Paul Byrd pitched effectively in a pinch, Garret Anderson homered and the travel-weary Angels 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.

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 Los Angeles team playing in its third time zone in three nights.

Recovering from a throat infection and fever, Jarrod Washburn is slated to pitch Game 2 for the Angels on Wednesday night against All-Star starter Mark Buehrle.

Scot Shields retired slugger Paul Konerko with two on to end the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez worked around third baseman Chone Figgins' error to begin the bottom of 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.

The Angels lost in New York on Sunday, forcing them to fly cross-country overnight for a decisive Game 5. They made a pit stop at home for a series-clinching victory Monday night, then jumped on a redeye to the Midwest and arrived at their hotel around 6:30am Tuesday.

But Los Angeles was plenty fresh for the ALCS opener, thanks to Byrd and his bullpen.

The 34-year-old right-hander 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 bottom of the seventh, but Shields got six outs to set up Rodriguez for his third save of the postseason.

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 tried to steal second in the seventh, but was thrown out.

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.

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