White Sox end 88-year drought, sweep Astros to win World Series

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox.

The Boston Red Sox.

Can the Cubs be far behind?

Game 4 Breakdown

Unsung Hero

Following Game 3's 14-inning affair, Freddy Garcia's strong start kept his relievers in the bullpen until the eighth inning. He threw 107 pitches, allowed four hits and struck out seven while walking three.


Brad Lidge. He allowed the game's only run in the eighth inning on Jermaine Dye's two-out single.

Turning Point

Sixth inning: In a moment that typified their series, the Astros once again failed to deliver in the clutch. With runners on first and second and one out, Morgan Ensberg went down swinging. After a Mike Lamb walk, Jason Lane struck out.

Important Stat

15. That's how many innings the Astros went without scoring since Lane's eighth-inning, game-tying double in Game 3.

Their cross-town rivals became the latest long-suffering team to

celebrate a World Series championship for the first time since

World War I, beating the Houston Astros 1-0 Wednesday night for a

four-game sweep.

If that sounds familiar, it is.

Just a year ago, the same story line captivated baseball when

the Red Sox swept St. Louis to capture their first title in 86


That leaves only one team with a similar epic streak of futility

-- the Cubs, losers since 1908.

For now, though, the Windy City can celebrate the White Sox, the

team from the South Side who hadn't won a Series since 1917 and

hadn't played in one since 1959. No longer will they be remembered

for Shoeless Joe Jackson's Black Sox, who threw the 1919 Series

against Cincinnati, but rather as champions -- improbable as that

might seem.

"It's unbelievable, unbelievable," catcher A.J. Pierzynski


In the Second City, where the Cubs have long been king, the AL

team for once trumped their North Side NL rival, no small feat for

the Sox.

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf once said he'd trade all six of the

Chicago Bulls' NBA titles for a single Series ring. No swap is

needed now: He's got the prize he dreamed of since he was a kid

growing up in Brooklyn.

"I hope this is not a dream," he said, holding the trophy

under his left arm like a kid clutching his first baseball glove.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said during the regular season

that he might retire if his team went on to win the Series. But

now, after Jermaine Dye's RBI single in the eighth and a five-hit

shutout by four pitchers completed the sweep, he wants to stick

around to manage the American League in next summer's All-Star


Breakdown of White Sox's season

April 4-July 18


Led AL Central by 13 games

July 19-Sept. 27


Led AL Central by 2 games

Sept. 28-Oct. 26


Won World Series

"Hopefully I'll be the first Latino [manager] to win an

All-Star game," he said.

Chicago's sweep, its eighth straight postseason win and 16th in

17 games overall, made it only the second team to go through the

postseason 11-1 since the extra round of playoffs was added in

1995, joining the 1999 Yankees. But the White Sox fans didn't get

to enjoy a single celebration in person: The division title and all

three rounds of the postseason were won on the road, a baseball


"I wish we were in Chicago tonight," Reinsdorf said.

As players celebrated in the infield, toddlers in the White Sox

delegation ran up "Tal's Hill" in deep center. One young girl in

pink did cartwheels on the warning track.

Houston, which finally won a pennant for the first time since it

joined the National League in 1962, became the first team swept in

its Series debut.

"They played well all year long," Astros manager Phil Garner

said of the White Sox. "They played well against us. They deserve

to be world champions this year."

Winner Freddy Garcia and Houston's Brandon Backe pitched shutout

ball for seven innings, with Backe allowing four hits and Garcia

five. They each struck out seven.

Brad Lidge, Houston's closer, came in to start the eighth, and

Chicago sent up Willie Harris to bat for Garcia.

Best Postseason Records

• Since 1969 with a minimum of seven games played:




Cincinnati (1976)



Chicago (2005)



NY Yankees (1999)



Oakland (1989)



Baltimore (1970)



Detroit (1984)



NY Mets (1969)



Harris lined a single to left leading off, Scott Podsednik

bunted a difficult high pitch in front of the plate and the speedy

Harris took second on the sacrifice. Carl Everett pinch hit for

Tadahito Iguchi and grounded to second, moving Harris to third.

Dye, the Series MVP, swung and missed Lidge's next pitch, took a

ball, then grounded a single up the middle, clapping his hands as

he left the plate. Harris trotted home from third, and the White

Sox celebrated in the third-base dugout.

"I know he throws a lot of sliders," Dye said. "He throws

hard but usually his fastball is just to keep you honest."

But it wasn't quite over yet.

Cliff Politte relieved to start the bottom half and hit Willy

Taveras on the hand with one out. Politte bounced a wild pitch on

his first offering to Lance Berkman, moving Taveras to second, then

intentionally walked Berkman, nearly throwing away the next pitch.

Morgan Ensberg flied to right-center, dropping him to 1-for-10

with runners in scoring position in the Series, and Chicago brought

in left-hander Neal Cotts to face pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino, who

hit a broken-bat grounder to shortstop.

Juan Uribe charged in, backhanded the ball by the grass and

threw hard to first, beating Vizcaino by half a step.

After Chicago wasted a leadoff double by Pierzynski in the

ninth, Jason Lane lofted a 3-2 pitch off Bobby Jenks into short

center for a single leading off the bottom half.

Brad Ausmus sacrificed and pinch-hitter Chris Burke fouled out

to Uribe, who fell into the left-field seats as he leaned in to

make the grab. Uribe ran to the mound with the ball and gave Jenks

a slap.

"How did he pull it out?" Houston's Craig Biggio said. "If I

was a fan, I would have mauled him."

Orlando Palmeiro then pinch hit, and grounded to Uribe at

shortstop for the final out, with Paul Konerko gloving the ball a

half-step before Palmeiro landed on the bag. A postseason filled

with umpires making questionable calls ended with them getting it


"It means a lot not only to us in the clubhouse but to the

organization, to the fans, to the city, and it's just a great

feeling," Dye said. "We're just happy to be able to bring a

championship to the city of Chicago, and it's really special."

Chicago players poured out of their dugout and jumped around on

the mound.

"Today was the first time in my life, the last two innings, my

heart was pounding like crazy. I was so excited," Guillen said.

"So many people were waiting for this moment."

Astros players were stone-faced, then came out to wave to their

fans and throw caps into the seats. Houston was 0-for-11 with

runners in scoring position on the night and 10-for-48 (.208) in

the Series, and the Astros were shut out for the final 15 innings,

stranding 18 runners.

"I did really poor in this series, and that really eats at

me," said Ensberg, who was 2-for-18 with two RBI. "It's

difficult to handle."

Jenks got his second save, while Lidge fell to 0-2 in the Series

and 0-3 in the postseason.

"Getting this far almost leaves a bitter taste in your mouth,"

Lidge said.

After Chicago's 14-inning, 7-5 win that lasted a Series-record 5

hours, 41 minutes and ended at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, the crowd of

42,936 at Minute Maid Park was somewhat subdued. The fans had to

know that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 Series deficit.

"I guess it's fitting -- how many times were we shut out this

year? -- to get shut out in our final game." Biggio said of the

Astros, blanked a major league-high 17 times.

Guillen was ready to take the prize with him.

"With all due respect to Chicago fans, I know my country,

they're going crazy," he said. "The trophy is going to


Game notes
Chicago also began the season and the second half with 1-0

wins, both over Cleveland. ... Houston lost a major league-high

five 1-0 games during the regular season.