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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Stunning Victory

October 23, World Series Game 2, vs. Houston

Sox Magic Number:
"Sox take's MLB's best road record to Houston."

Short Take:  A game so good, the 18th Grand Slam in World Series history is only the 2nd most important homer hit;  Sox and Astros battle back and forth before Houston's 2-run double in 9th is bested by walk-off shot by Scott Podsednik.

There are some games you just hold on to forever.  The sounds and images are burnt in your memory and you hold on to them, only to recall them in discussions with friends and eventual ancestors.  There have been a few of these games in recent White Sox history, Mike Caruso's Wrigley Field basket shot homer to sweep the Cubs in 1999, the impromptu standing ovation the Sox recieved after their improbably 7-game road sweep of the Indians and Yankees, and then the game in which Herbert Perry and Kip Wells dealt killer blows to the Tribe, or the 1993 clincher against the Mariners, the only time champagne spray and cigar smoke has filled the home locker room in New Comiskey/U.S. Cellular Field.  Game 2 of the 2005 World Series was another one of those games.

The game was a battle of crafty lefties.  The Astros sent the veteran Andy Pettitte to the mound, one of October's most decorated pitchers.  The guy has so much experience, Fox was able to make a meaningful stat just out of his career appearances in Game Twos.  On the hill for the Sox was Mark Buehrle, Mr. U.S. Cellular Field, and a guy who entered the '05 post-season with a 1/3 of an inning under his belt.

Unlike last night, the Astros drew first blood when Morgan Ensberg lead off the 2nd inning with a solo home run to left field.  The Sox quickly came back in the bottom half of the frame.  Aaron Rowand singled and A.J. Pierzynski hit a deep fly ball to left field that eventually hit halfway up the wall.  However, Rowand was unsure of where the ball was and had to hold at first (and indeed, thought that Astros left fielder Chris Burke would have been able to make a play on the fly ball, so he headed back to first), so Pierzynski only hit a 330-foot single.  Joe Crede, however, didn't dissapoint, singling to right to score Rowand and move A.J. to third.  Juan Uribe then popped up to shallow right field, but for whatever reason, nerves or the rain, Craig Biggio misplayed Uribe's pop-up, dropping it and allowing A.J. to score the go-ahead run.  Jason Lane, however, was able to force out Crede at second, and though Juan did swipe 2nd base, Scott Podsednik grounded out to end the inning.

The Astros came right back.  Willy Taveras, the only guy who seemingly decided to show up for the Astros, started the rally with a 1-out triple and came around to score on a sac fly by Lance Berkman and again, the game was tied.  Pettitte and Buehrle continued to battle each other and the elements, until the 5th, when Brad Ausmus lead off the inning with a double to left field.  After 2 quick outs, it seemed like Buehrle could get the Astros to strand another runner in scoring position, and was able to get Willy Taveras to hit a playable ground ball on the infield, but the cold, wet conditions slowed the ball up just enough that neither Joe Crede or Juan Uribe could make a play on the ball and the speedy Houston centerfield continued the inning for Berkman, who laced a double just inside the the left field line.  Ausmus scored easily and Taveras scored, partially due to his speed, but also due to the fact that Podsednik could not pick the ball up cleanly in left.  4-2 Astros.

After the Sox stranded runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 6th, Pettitte's night was done.  Dan Wheeler came in for relief in the 7th, and quickly got in trouble, allowing a 1-out double to Uribe.  After Podsednik struck out, Tadahito Iguchi drew a walk.  Jermaine Dye then worked a full count, and when Wheeler tried to come inside, Dye's half-swing/half-I don't want to get hit with a 90-MPH fastball in 45-degree weather reaction resulted in home plate umpire Jeff Nelson letting Dye take first on account of getting hit by the pitch.  Phil Garner came out to argue, and replays convincingly show that the ball actually hit Dye's bat, but the inning went on.  Wheeler was pulled in favor of Chad Qualls, and Paul Konerko stepped up to the dish.  On the first pitch of the night from Qualls, he smoked a laser into the left field stands, the 18th grand slam in World Series history and utter pandamonium broke out at the Cell, as the Sox lead 6-4 and with a well-rested bullpen looked poised to take a 2-0 lead in the Series.

Cliff Politte pitched a perfeft 8th to give way to folk hero Bobby Jenks.  Unlike last night, though, Jenks didn't have the triple-digit fastball working for him, topping out only around 95 MPH according to Fox's radar, and the Astros, as any World Series team would do, took advantage.  Jeff Bagwell made amends for last night's K with a single that dropped in front of Rowand in center field.  Jason Lane then struck out on a high heater, before Chris Burke drew a walk to put the tying run on base.  Jenks then got Brad Ausmus to ground the ball on the infield, but again, a slow roller kept the damage to a minimum, as all Konerko could do at first was get Ausmus out at 1st, allowing both runners to move into scoring position, but put the Astros at the brink of defeat.  Veteran Jose Vizcaino pinch hit for Adam Everett, and only needed one pitch to single into left field.  Bagwell scored, and one terrible throw by Podsednik and a terrific slide by Burke later, the game was again knotted at 6, and a deafening silence overtook the Cell.  Neal Cotts retired Mike Lamb and the Sox were called on to win another game Game 2 in the bottom of the 9th.

In for Houston was Brad Lidge, their fabled closer who made his mark in last year's postseason.  Of course, the last time we saw Brad he was serving up a 2-out, 2-strike homer to Albert Pujols to extend the NLCS for another game.  Against Juan Uribe, he induced a harmless fly ball to center.  Up next was Podsednik, who, if you haven't really been paying much attention, was having a terrible game.  0-4 up to that point with 3 runners left on base and a strike out, and two below par defensive plays in left field that definitely allowed Houston's 6th run to score, and arguably their 4th as well.  After getting ahead in the count, Podsednik dug in, looked for a fastball, and a few seconds later, was in full home run trot, as the seemingly impossible had occurred; the ball dissappeard into the collection of ponchos and shocked Sox fans in the right-center stands.  I mean, shocked.  No one in the park could have seen that coming.  The Sox mauled Podsednik as the 41,000+ in attendance began to comprehend what had just happened.

The Sox and Astros meet again Tuesday night for Game 3.  Roy Oswalt goes for Houston against Jon Garland.  Game time is listed at 7 PM Central time and, of course, the action will be on Fox.  With the win, the Sox ensure that at worst, they'll be coming back to Chicago for either another World Series game, or with a World Series trophy.

Ozzieball Update: 
Scott Podsednik with a walk-off homer... against Brad Lidge?  You gotta be kidding.

submitted by doublem23.

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Scott Podsednik

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