CHICAGO (AP) -- Pablo Ozuna's two at-bats Wednesday night were
two of the best of his career. One featured rare power and the
other his customary speed. And they both helped the Chicago White
Sox to another victory.
Ozuna hit his first major league homer to tie the game with two
outs in the ninth. Then after hustling out a two-out double in the
11th, he scored the game-winning run on Juan Uribe's single as the
White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5.
"Yes, they were my best moments individually in baseball,"
said Ozuna, a key reserve for the White Sox's World Series champion
Ozuna hit a ball through the middle in the 11th off Jake Woods
(1-1) and then kept running, making second for a double. Uribe then
dumped a single into shallow center and Ozuna scored easily as the
White Sox won for the 18th time in the last 22 games.
"As soon as I hit the ball, I realized that the center fielder
and second baseman were kind of lackadaisical, so I decided to take
a chance," Ozuna said through a translator.
The 31-year-old Ozuna's first homer in 334 major league at-bats
came as a pinch-hitter and sailed over the left field fence against
Mariners' closer Eddie Guardado in the ninth, tying the game at
5-5. It spoiled a four-run rally by the Mariners in the eighth that
had given them a 5-4 lead. Guardado now has three blown saves in
"I'm puzzled," Guardado said. "I'm not going to go out there
and strike the world out or anything, but I do get ground balls and
I do get fly balls. These fly balls are just going over the fence.
And at the time, I don't need them to go over the fence."
Ozuna, who was 9-for-19 this season entering the game, got the
call as a pinch-hitter for Rob Mackowiak against the lefty
"I was ready to go since the fourth inning. They had a lot of
lefties coming in from the bullpen and I knew if I got a chance to
get into the game I would try to make something happen and hit the
ball hard somewhere," Ozuna said.
"I wanted to take a chance that he would get a base hit and
hopefully steal a base," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I
didn't think he'd hit a home run."
Bobby Jenks (1-0) got the win after getting out of a tight jam
in the 11th. The Mariners had first and third after a single,
forceout and error on Paul Konerko, but Joe Crede made a nice play
and strong throw on speedy Willie Bloomquist's slow grounder to end
Crede's grand slam in the seventh off reliever Rafael Soriano
put Chicago up 4-1, but Jose Lopez hit a two-run single to tie the
game in the eighth and scored on second baseman Tadahito Iguhci's
wild relay throw that gave Seattle a 5-4 lead.
But Guardado couldn't close it out. It was the second time this
season the Mariners' lefty had surrendered a game-tying homer to
the White Sox in the ninth. He'd served up one to Chicago rookie
Brian Anderson in Seattle on April 24.
With the Mariners trailing by three, Jeremy Reed led off the
eighth with a double to snap an 0-for-21 skid and scored on an RBI
single by Kenji Johjima that finished starter Freddy Garcia.
Bloomquist singled off reliever Matt Thornton and after the runners
moved up to second and third on Ichiro Suzuki's slow grounder,
Lopez tied the game with a two-run single to right off Cliff
After an intentional walk to Raul Ibanez, Richie Sexson hit a
grounder to third baseman Crede, who threw to second for the force,
but Iguchi's relay to first trying to get the double play was wild
and high. Sexson came up limping on the play but remained in the
Mariners starter Gil Meche shut the White Sox out allowing two
hits in six innings but got into trouble in the seventh. Jim Thome
walked to start the seventh and after Konerko doubled into the left
field corner, the Mariners intentionally walked A.J. Pierzynski
before calling on Soriano.
Garcia allowed five hits and three runs in seven plus innings
against his former team.
He hit Lopez with a pitch leading off the fourth and after
Ibanez singled, both runners moved up on Sexson's dribbler in front
of the plate. Carl Everett, who had 23 homers and 87 RBI for
Chicago last season, then hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
Chicago RF Jermaine Dye, bothered by a sore calf muscle
that forced him out in the third inning Tuesday, did not play. Ross
Gload, with just six at-bats all season, got the start. ... Reed
did not start but entered the game as defensive replacement in the
Alvarez: Astros showing we are the best team in the league
Yordan Alvarez discusses the Astros advancing to the World Series and how much they proved in beating the Red Sox.
MLB playoffs 2021: Houston Astros timeline from sign-stealing scandal to another World Series
In their third World Series in five seasons, the Astros are again playing for a title in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal and investigation.
2021 MLB playoffs: Schedules, postseason bracket, analysis and updates
All the latest information about the teams, storylines and highlights of the 2021 MLB postseason, from the start of October through the World Series.
Astros celebrate winning the ALCS
Players and coaches on the Astros celebrate after defeating the Red Sox to win the American League pennant and advance to the World Series.
2021 MLB playoffs: Yordan Alvarez's MVP performance propels Houston Astros to World Series
The Houston Astros designated hitter broke out big, almost single-handedly leading the Astros to the American League pennant.
Luis Garcia, Yordan Alvarez send Houston Astros to third World Series in five years
The Astros beat the Red Sox in Game 6 of the ALCS behind a gem from rookie Luis Garcia, who gave up just one hit over 5 2/3 innings.