CHICAGO (AP) -- Yes, the Chicago White Sox do indeed have a
bullpen, and they have the lead in the World Series, too.
Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks got out of an eighth-inning jam, Joe
Crede hit a go-ahead homer and saved two runs with a pair of diving
stops and the White Sox beat the Houston Astros 5-3 on Saturday
night in Chicago's first World Series game since 1959.
"They don't see the bullpen," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen
said. "Now they see it."
On a night when 43-year-old Roger Clemens hoped to become the
oldest pitcher to win a World Series game, the Rocket hobbled off
after just two innings, done in by the hamstring injury that has
hampered him since early September.
Winner Jose Contreras allowed the Astros three runs in
seven-plus innings in their first World Series game, and tied a
Series record by hitting three batters.
Chicago pitched four straight complete games in finishing off
the Angels in the AL Championship Series, a feat not achieved in
the postseason since 1956. But when Willy Taveras hit a leadoff
double off Contreras in the eighth with Houston trailing 4-3,
manager Ozzie Guillen took him out after 81 pitches.
Cotts, a left-hander whose seven pitches and two outs was
Chicago's only relief work against the Angels, came in and allowed
a sharp single to left by Lance Berkman, a ball hit so hard that
Taveras had to hold at third.
"I don't want to embarrass the kid, but I want the big boy,"
Jenks didn't mind.
"I think it's pretty funny," he said.
Throwing fastballs that reached 100 mph, Jenks struck out
Bagwell on a 2-2 pitch, raising his right hand and pumping a fist
as he came off the mound.
"He chases fastballs up," Jenks said.
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.
Crede had broken a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning with a solo
homer off Clemens' replacement, 26-year-old rookie Wandy Rodriguez.
As the ball went just over the glove of a leaping Taveras in
left-center, Crede strolled around the bases, and Chicago was truly
a toddlin' town.
"You got the nerves and butterflies going in and you know what,
the game starts and you calm yourself down and realize you got a
job to do, and that's go out and win a ballgame," Crede said.
With the infield in, Crede sprawled to make a backhand grab on
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, in his 18th season with
Houston and appearing in his first World Series game.
"They put the good wood on the ball, tough situations, and I
was fortunate enough to get leather on it," Crede said.
Jermaine Dye hit a solo homer for the White Sox, and Lamb hit a
solo shot for the Astros.
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.
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 and headed down stairs back to the clubhouse
after the second.
The Rocket, who signed with Houston before the 2004 to lead his
hometown team to its first World Series, allowed three runs and
Rodriguez replaced him with the score 3-3 in the middle of the
third. He got into a two-on, one-out jam only to escape, but threw
Crede turned on a high 0-2 pitch.
Rodriguez had control problems, walking five in 3 1/3 innings,
but that was the only run he allowed.
Houston threatened to tie it in the sixth, when Taveras doubled
leading off and advanced to third on a grounder. But, with the
infield in, Crede dived to his right to backhand Ensberg's hard
grounder and threw to first as Taveras held, and Contreras retired
Lamb on a groundout.
Contreras, Clemens' teammate on the 2003 New York Yankees,
became the sixth Cuban pitcher to start a World Series game. He
didn't allow a run after the third.
When the World Series was last in Chicago in 1959, box seats
went for $10.31, a fraction of the $185 price this year. In a town
where the Cubs usually dominate, there were "Go Sox" banners over
entrances of Orchestra Hall and the Art Institute of Chicago.
A sellout crowd of 41,206 filled U.S. Cellular Field, next to
where the old Comiskey Park played host to the Series 46 years ago.
It was 53 degrees at game time, cold enough for commissioner Bud
Selig to be wearing a scarf as he watched from his front-row seat.
Players, most of them in the Series for the first time, waved to
people in the stands when they lined up on the foul lines for the
introductions. Many Astros watched the early innings standing on
the top step of the dugout, and Rodriguez's excitement was clear
when he spiked the ball across the infield after catching a relay
at first to complete a 3-6-1 double play in the fifth inning.
Dye's first-inning homer to center, which came on Clemens' ninth
pitch to him, was wiped out by Lamb's second-inning homer to
Carl Everett singled leading off the bottom half, third on Aaron
Rowand's hit-and-run single to right and scored on A.J.
Pierzynski's grounder to first, waiting for Lamb to throw to second
before sprinting home and scoring with a headfirst slide. Juan
Uribe's run-scoring double made it 3-1, but Berkman pulled a
two-run double to right in the third that made it 3-all.
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