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White Sox reach first World Series since 1959

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Not since Shoeless Joe Jackson have the
Chicago White Sox caused this much of a commotion.

World Series, here they come.

After nearly a half-century of ho-hum baseball, the White Sox
finally made it back Sunday night. A.J. Pierzynski came out on the
right side of yet another umpiring ruckus, Jose Contreras pitched
Chicago's fourth straight complete game and the White Sox beat the
Los Angeles Angels 6-3 to win the AL Championship Series in five
games.

The White Sox will take on either Houston or St. Louis, starting
at home Saturday night. It will be Chicago's first World Series
since 1959, and the White Sox will get a chance at their first
title since 1917.

And it will also give them a shot at some long overdue
redemption -- they lost the infamous World Series ever, when
Shoeless Joe and his "Black Sox" threw games against Cincinnati
in 1919 and gave baseball a black eye.

The 46-year gap between Series appearances is the longest in
major league history.

Whoa Nellie!

The last time Chicago's South Side team made it this far, it was
all about Nellie Fox and his Go-Go Sox.

"We're in the World Series!" White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf
hollered in his suite after the final out.

Reinsdorf once said he would trade all six NBA titles won by his
Chicago Bulls for one World Series championship, and his
opportunity is coming.

"I still can't believe it,'' he said, heading to the clubhouse
to celebrate with his team. "I'm numb right now. Honest to God, it
hasn't sunk in. I think something really good is happening, but I'm
not sure what it is."

It's pitching, that what it is.

The White Sox became the first team to pitch four complete games
in a single postseason series since the 1956 New York Yankees got
them from Whitey Ford, Tom Sturdivant, Don Larsen (his perfect
game) and Bob Turley against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Contreras retired his final 15 batters and pitched a
five-hitter, following Mark Buehrle's five-hitter in Game 2, Jon
Garland's four-hitter in Game 3 and Freddy Garcia's six-hitter in
Game 4.

It was complete domination -- Chicago's bullpen got just two outs
in the entire series.

Chicago held the Angels to 11 runs in the series -- the fewest in
an ALCS of five or more games. Los Angeles had just 27 hits -- the
fewest in any LCS going five games or longer.

Los Angeles was leading 3-2 when Joe Crede hit a leadoff homer
in the seventh against loser Kelvim Escobar.

Escobar struck out four in a row, and five overall, before
walking Aaron Rowand with two outs in the eighth.

Then, Pierzynski found himself in the middle of another
contested call.

In Game 2, he struck out with two outs in the ninth but reached
when umpires ruled catcher Josh Paul didn't catch the ball. Crede
followed with a winning double that tied the series.

In Game 4, Pierzynski admitted his mitt nicked the bat of Steve
Finley, who hit into an inning-ending double play that ended an
Angels' rally attempt as umpires failed to make the call.

This time, he hit a comebacker to Escobar, who instead of
throwing to first ran to toward the foul line to make a tag play.
He tagged Pierzynski with his glove -- but the ball wasn't there, it
was in his bare right hand.

Pierzynski initially was called out, but Chicago manager Ozzie
Guillen argued, umpires conferenced and reversed the call, bringing
Angels manager Mike Scioscia for a dispute.

Los Angeles then brought in closer Francisco Rodriguez to face
Crede. K-Rod threw a 1-2 breaking ball that the crowd thought was
strike three but was called a ball by plate umpire Ed Rapuano.
Rodriguez threw another ball and Crede hit a grounder up the
middle.

Second baseman Adam Kennedy dived on the shortstop side to stop
it and threw home from a half-sitting position, but the throw was
off-line and late, and Rowand scored the go-ahead run.

ALCS MVP Paul Konerko added an RBI double in the ninth and
Rowand boosted the margin with a sacrifice fly.

It was the sixth AL pennant for the White Sox, who have won the
Series just twice.