2005 American League Division Series
The Chicago White Sox had been waiting since 1917 to win a World Series, a year longer than the Red Sox had waited (1918). Of course, there was the possibility they might have won in 1919, the year some of the “Black Sox” conspired to throw the Series. But that was a long time ago. They’d only made the playoffs four times in all the years before 2005, most recently 2000. It was 2005 now, though, and they won the Al Central under manager Ozzie Guillen, with a record of 99-63, a comfortable six games ahead of second-place Cleveland. Boston had won the Wild Card (they’d actually tied for first place with the Yankees, but New York had won the matchups between the two clubs, by the narrowest of margins: ten games to nine.
The first game of the Division Series was held at Comiskey (oh, sorry – U. S. Cellular Field), and the first game made it seem like a mismatch. The White Sox had a real edge in regular-season pitching, a 3.61 ERA being a full run per game better than Boston’s 4.74. In Game One, though, Chicago (with a .262 team batting average compared to Boston’s .281) scored 14 runs – all earned. Matt Clement started for the Red Sox and gave up five runs in the bottom of the first, capped by A.J. Pierzynski ‘s three-run homer. Paul Konerko hit a solo home run in the third. Konerko had a season with exactly 100 RBIs and 40 homers; no one else on the White Sox was really close to either figure.
In the top of the fourth, two singles, an error, and a wild pitch for one run for the Red Sox. Kevin Millar doubled and Boston had two. They were the only runs they ever got. Pierzynski hit another homer later, so did Juan Uribe, and Scott Podsednik hit a three-run homer.
Game Two was a close one. Mark Buehrle, Chicago’s best pitcher (16-8, 3.12), let the Red Sox score twice in the first and again twice in the third. But those five-run innings’ll kill you. David Wells was pitching for the Red Sox, and doing OK…until the bottom of the fifth. He yielded a single, a double, another single, saw an error at second base let another runner reach, and then gave up a three-run homer to Tadahito Iguchi, the second baseman for the White Sox. That concluded the scoring for the game, but the White Sox had five runs and the Red Sox had four.
Fenway Park gave the Red Sox hope of recovering. Tim Wakefield started against Freddy Garcia. Wakefield had been Boston’s best starter, 16-12 with a 4.15 ERA. After getting through 2 2/3 innings, Uribe doubled and then Podsednik doubled and then Iguchi singled, and Chicago had a 2-0 lead. The Red Sox tied the score, though, in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff homer by David Ortiz and a back-to-back homer by Manny Ramirez.
Wake walked Jermaine Dye to lead off the sixth and then Konerko homered. Manny Ramirez led off the sixth with a homer. Both were one-run HRs. The 4-3 score held until the top of the ninth. Pierzynski doubled off the freshly-installed Mike Timlin. He was sacrificed to third base by the bunt, and then another bunt (by Uribe) brought him home. Bobby Jenks came on to close, and preserved the win. The Red Sox were gone, and the White Sox advanced to take on the Angels.