Garland pitched a four-hitter that silenced the Angels’ bats, Konerko hit a two-run homer that quieted their fans and the Chicago White Sox beat Los Angeles 5-2 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the AL championship series.
“Garland, we just hopped on his back tonight and just rode him,” Konerko said.
Garland pitched Chicago’s second straight complete game, following Mark Buehrle’s five-hitter in Game 2. It was the first consecutive complete games in the ALCS since the Angels’ Tommy John and Bruce Kison in 1982.
“They’re pitching well, that’s for sure,” the Angels’ Darin Erstad said. “We’re just going to keep fighting. That’s what we do. We grind it out.”
There weren’t any discussions of dubious decisions by the umpires, unlike Wednesday night in Chicago, when umpire Doug Eddings set off days of debate with a controversial call in the ninth that led to the winning run by the White Sox.
Not that the umpires had a quiet night.
The sellout crowd of 44,725 at Angel Stadium repeatedly booed the umpires and Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski, who ran to first with two outs in the ninth Wednesday night after he swung and missed strike three, a pitch Eddings ruled hit the dirt.
Replays seemed to show Angels backup catcher Josh Paul grabbed the pitch in the air, and the Angels were furious, especially after Joe Crede hit an RBI double late in the inning for a 2-1 Chicago win.
Eddings, who worked the right-field foul line, was the focus of fans as the game began in twilight with an unusually warm 89-degree temperature. Behind the plate, one spectator held a bright yellow sign referring to the number on the sleeve of Eddings’ shirt: “Eddings 88. 87 other guys were busy so we got you!”
Fans booed loudly when Pierzynski was introduced, when the umpires walked out to home plate, when the umps ran to their positions in the field and again when the umps were introduced. A profane chant aimed at Eddings followed briefly.
In the middle of the first, a red banner was draped over the front of the right-field bleachers: “Eddings go home.” The mostly red-clad fans booed when foul balls were hit near him and mocked him with cheers when he made obvious calls. In the sixth, fans pointed their Thunder Stix toward first base after Guerrero struck out, even though Garland’s pitch wasn’t near the dirt, and booed loudly in the seventh when Eddings signaled on Anderson’s line drive that clearly was foul.
“It was kind of funny to me. I mean, that’s just the way fans are,” said White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, who talked during the game with Eddings. “He thought it was kind of funny. He said he’s known now. I told him he could probably go to Hollywood now and become a movie star.”
Before Friday’s game, Scioscia insisted there wouldn’t be any carry-over.
“Our guys have moved on. I feel the same way,” he said.
But the White Sox found new punch against John Lackey, scoring as many runs in the first three innings as they did in the first two games.
Pitching against a team he nearly was traded to, Garland allowed three runners in the first five innings and just five overall. Erstad had the first hard-hit ball, a second-inning, two-out double, but was thrown out trying for third.
Garland didn’t give up any runs until the sixth, when Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer down the left-field line. Garland then retired his final 10 batters.
“Last year, we took a lot of heat in Chicago,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Before I got the job, Jon never had the opportunity to go more than six, seven innings. They always pulled him out.”
Garland, from nearby Valencia, was pitching in front of friends and family. He threw 118 pitches in what he call one of the best games of his career.
“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “It’s something I’ll remember.”
Lackey didn’t have his sharp breaking pitches, losing for the first time since Aug. 25 and only the second time since the All-Star break. He allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.
“I just hung a couple of breaking balls, didn’t get them down to where they needed to be,” Lackey said. “I just hope to get another start.”
Chicago needed just 12 pitches to take a 3-0 lead.
Scott Podsednik singled on an 0-2 pitch leading off, Tadahito Iguchi sacrificed and Dye doubled to right-center to put the White Sox ahead. Lackey, who allowed just 13 homers during the regular season, then made a mistake on a 3-2 curveball to Konerko, who was just 4-for-20 in the postseason coming in. Molina set his target low and outside, the pitch went high and inside.
“I was just trying to resist the urge to think that he was going to walk me,” Konerko said.
Carl Everett’s RBI single in the third made it 4-0, and Konerko singled in a run in the fifth.
“Worried about not coming back? No, it’s early,” Cabrera said. “There’s a lot of series left, a lot of games.”
In the NLCS, Livan Hernandez and Kevin Brown pitched consecutive complete games for Florida in 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The Angels played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the theme music of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, during the pregame meeting of umpires and managers at home plate.