Just when everyone thought the Chicago White Sox had no bullpen, Manager Ozzie Guillen dialed Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks in the 8th inning. And as they reached out striking three in a row out, the Houston Astros couldn't touch them.
With runners in scoring position & a chance to tie the game, the White Sox finally got an opportunity to rely on two bulls from their pen.
On a cool crisp Chicago night, 43 year old Roger Clemens, never had a chance to get warm, leaving game 1 of the 2005 World Series, as the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros 5-3, to a sellout crowd of 41,206 at U.S. Cellular Field, next to where the old Comiskey Park played host to the Series 46 years ago.
After completing just two innings, The Rocket hobbled of the field then into the Astros clubhouse after re-aggravating a hamstring that's been hampering him since September.
Clemens became the second-oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, trailing only 46-year-old Jack Quinn for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. He wasn't sharp from the start, needing 54 pitches to labor through two innings, and he appeared to be limping as he left the dugout.
Third baseman, Joe Crede was clutch again, braking a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning with a solo homer off Clemens' replacement, 26-year-old rookie Wandy Rodriguez that kept the White Sox up for good.
Outfielder Scott Podsednik added an RBI triple in the eighth against Russ Springer to boost the margin, and Jenks retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two.
Outfielder Jermaine Dye hit a solo homerun shot in the first inning. Second baseman Juan Uribe had a key RBI double & catcher A.J. Pierzynski added an RBI base hit in the 2nd inning off the ailing Roger Clemens.
Jose Contreras, was at center-stage again, throwing 86 pitches in 7 strong innings, surrendering only 3 runs on 6 hits.
Mike Lamb's solo homer in the 2nd & Lance Berkman's 2 run double in the third posed as the only threat to Contreras as he settled down until hitting two consecutive batter's in the 7th & a lead off double to Willy Taveras before parting in the 8th.
But Chicago's Joe Crede provided just as much with his glove tonight than he did with his bat, saving two runs that would have been charged to Contreras.
Reminiscent to Brooks Robinson & Graig Nettles' World Series defensive heroics, Joe Crede sprawled to make a backhand grab on Morgan Ensberg's hard grounder with a runner at third and one out in the sixth. With runners at the corners and two outs in the seventh, he made another backhand play on Craig Biggio.
"They put the good wood on the ball, tough situations, and I was fortunate enough to get leather on it," Crede said.
Chicago, which has not allowed more than four runs in any of its nine postseason games, will try to try to make it 2-0 on Sunday night, when Mark Buehrle goes against Andy Pettitte, making his 11th Series start.
Starting in 1997, the Game 1 victor has won the World Series each year except for 2002. ... Sandy Koufax is the only Hall of Fame pitcher to end his career in the World Series. ... Pittsburgh's Bruce Kison hit three batters in Game 4 in 1971. ... Houston was 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, Chicago 2-for-11.
CONFESSIONS OF A BLOGG-HEAD:
Over the course of the past few years, I've often criticized Fox Sports, Joe Buck & Tim McFly for their raving banter, lack of discussing the game, and not providing the proper information & statistics when necessary. Tonight I can honesty say they were on top of their game proving that sometimes less is more.
Due to not being able to deal with the television's 'two-second-delay' I finally refrained from ESPN'S radio airwaves and was forced to listen to Buck & McFly once again.
Thank you Lou Piniella (even though I like some of your commentary) for staying home in Florida for this one. Because the 3 of you in the booth is a crowd.
Thank you Joe Buck for not trying to say too much.
And thank you McFly & your armchair Manager ways, for not criticizing & second-guessing almost every key decision the Managers made or do not make.
It's amazing how much more enjoyable the game I love so much was to watch tonight.