Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Chicago beat Rays, close deficit to 2-1

OVERSHADOWED Pat Burrell hit two home runs to power the Phillies to a win that eliminated the Brewers, and the Angels avoided a sweep by beating the Red Sox

AP , CHICAGO

Tampa Bay Rays infielder Carlos Penya singles against the Chicago White Sox’s advancing baserunner Akinori Iwamura to third base in the first inning of their American League Division Series playoff baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday. 

PHOTO: EPA

■AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Chicago White Sox beat Tampa Bay 5-3 to trim the Rays’ lead in their Major League Baseball playoff series to 2-1 on Sunday.

Game 4 in the best-of-five American League Division Series was to be played yesterday in Chicago, with Gavin Floyd facing Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnanstine.

Less than 24 hours after the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers, dashing Chicago’s hopes for a crosstown World Series, the White Sox avoided elimination before a black-shirted, white towel-waving crowd of 40,142 in their home park.

John Danks, who beat Minnesota 1-0 last Tuesday in the tiebreaker for the AL Central title, shut down the Rays for 6 2-3 innings. The 23-year-old lefty gave up five hits and a run before B.J. Upton hit a long, two-run homer with two outs in the seventh that made it 5-3.

Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth, striking out Carlos Pena with a nasty curveball with a runner on for his fifth postseason save. He had four in 2005, including two in the World Series victory over Houston.

After the Rays won 6-4 and 6-2 at home, the White Sox were revived at US Cellular Field, where they were 54-28 this season.

Matt Garza, pitching on eight days’ rest, was popping his fastball in the mid-90s (mid-140s kph) and trying to keep the homer-reliant White Sox off balance by changing speeds. The White Sox caught up with him in the fourth.

Jim Thome opened with double off the center-field fence, Paul Konerko walked and Ken Griffey Jr. hit a sharp single that loaded the bases. Alexei Ramirez, who hit a record four grand slams as a rookie this season, hit a sacrifice fly to center for a 2-1 lead DeWayne Wise followed with a two-run, opposite-field double to left.

Garza lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs.

ANGELS 5, RED SOX 4, 12 INNINGS

At Boston, Francisco Rodriguez wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th inning and Mike Napoli hit two early homers before scoring the go-ahead run in the 12th as Los Angeles avoided another playoff sweep by beating Boston.

Boston had beaten Los Angeles in 11 consecutive AL playoff games, including three-game sweeps in 2004 and last year en route to a pair of World Series titles. But the Angels chased Red Sox ace Josh Beckett early, then got six scoreless innings from five relievers to keep them in the game.

Napoli hit a mammoth homer off the Green Monster light stanchion to tie the game 3-all in the third, then gave Los Angeles a lead with his second homer before the Red Sox tied it 4-all in the fifth.

It stayed that way until Napoli singled to lead off the 11th, went to second on Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Erick Aybar blooped a single to left-center.

Jered Weaver, making his first career relief appearance, pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Winners of a major league-best 100 games in the regular season, Los Angeles was in danger of the shortest possible stay in the playoffs against the wild-card Red Sox. After losing the first two at home, the Angels came to Boston needing to beat Beckett, who has been virtually unbeatable in October.

But Beckett struggled from the start, giving up a double on the first pitch of the game and needing 30 pitches to get through the first half-inning, which took 22 minutes. Meanwhile, the Angels left the bases loaded in the first and fourth — stranding eight in the first four innings.

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