This game was a little different right from the get-go. Of course there was contraversy, the Astros wanted the roof closed on their Juice Box Field, but MLB intervened and forced Houston to play baseball outdoors. Originally the retractable roof was designed to keep games from being called on rain or to keep the fans comfortable during extremely hot weather. But now the Stros want the roof closed because they play better indoors. Anyway, on to baseball. The GREAT Roy Oswalt was on the bump for Houston, while the White Sox had Jon Garland going for them. The Astros jumped out in the first inning when Craig Biggio leadoff with a double to left, Willy Taveras bunted him to third, and scored on a Lance Berkman single. Mr. Ugly Adam Everett opened the 3rd inning with a single, the Sox pitched out, and caught Everett dead. But Juan Uribe’s throw to first nailed Adam allowing him to return to first base safely. Oswalt bunted him up where he scored on a Biggio single to right moments later. Garland struckout Taveras for what should have been the 3rd out of the inning, no runs should have scored. But the inning was still alive. Berkman sent Biggio to third on a base knock to right. Morgan Ensberg put the Stros up 3-0 when he singled to left scoring Biggio. In the 4th inning Jason Lane leadoff with a homer. But wait a minute, replays showed the ball should not have been ruled a homer as it did not clear the yellow line as was originally reported. So the White Sox trailed 4-0 through four innings against the best pitcher in the NL. Seriously though there was no whining about the umpire’s ruling at Robby T’s house, Sox fans have too much class. Besides that, this game was FAR from over! Joe Crede opened the 5th inning taking Oswalt over the rightfield fence. Uribe singled to left, but then Garland couldn’t bunt & struckout. Scott Podsednik singled to right. With runners on 1st & 2nd Tadahito Iguchi scored Juan with a single up the middle. Jermaine Dye worked the count before lining a single to center plating Podsednik. The 2nd out was finally recorded when Paul Konerko flied to Taveras. A.J. Pierzynski doubled home two, putting the Sox up 5-4. Aaron Rowand walked on a 3-2 count, Crede was drilled with a pitch loading the bases. Uribe flied to right ending the inning. All the talk about Oswalt taking the game to Brad Lidge was just talk as Roy threw about 50 pitches in the 5th and was at about 100 for the game. Unheralded Jon Garland turned the lead over to Cliff Politte after allowing two earned runs over seven innings of work. Politte got Taveras & Berkman before Ensberg walked on a full count. Neal Cotts was brought on, but was soon out of there after walking Mike Lamb. Eric Bruntlett came in to run for Lamb. Jason Lane doubled down the leftfield line off Dustin Hermanson scoring Ensberg, tying the game at five. The White Sox caught a HUGE break when Lane’s double hit off the a part of the stands down the line rather than rattling around the left field corner, another run definately would have scored. There were alot of opportunities to win the game for both teams even though the Sox relievers only allowed one hit (Lane’s double), they walked ten and hit a batter. Ozzie Guillen’s well laid out plans for bullpen use in this game drastically changed when Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez had to leave after walking four guys in a little over one inning of work. Chad Qualls pitched brilliantly out of Houston’s pen, working three shutout innings, before giving way to Ezequiel Astacio. I know I’ve called Adam Everett the Ugly Man, but Astacio raises ugly to a whole new level. Ezequiel even makes Seal look pretty, and Seal can sing & I’m sure Seal can pitch better than Astacio. Kim T (Robby T’s daughter) said, “We shouldn’t make fun of the really ugly man.” I told her she’d be in the confessional, telling the priest about making fun of the ugly man, and then he’d say, “Oh, you mean Astacio! He’s even uglier than Everett! He even makes Seal look pretty!” Jose Vizcaino stayed in the game at 2B after pinch-hitting in the bottom of the 13th with Ezequiel Astacio coming in to Craig Biggio’s spot in the batting order. Jermaine Dye led off with a single to right, but was erased on a brilliant doubleplay started by a diving Ensberg who fired a strike to Vizcaino. Paul Konerko’s speed was no match for Jose’s strong arm, Vizcaino avoided a hard sliding Dye to get Paulie at first, Konerko really scorched that ball. It was starting to look like this game would never end, when Geoff Blum lined a 2-0 pitch into the RF seats. Blum was the only guy picked up by GM Kenny Williams at the trading deadline to help the Sox in their stretch run. Everybody was pretty much letdown, thinking we could have gotten Griffey Junior, and ended up with journeyman Geoff Blum. Blum wasn’t all that pleased himself with the deal, his wife had just given birth to triplets in May. The Sox continued with a two out rally that resulted in an insurance run. Aaron Rowand topped a two strike pitch to third on which a hard charging Ensberg had no play, then Crede’s slow grounder was allowed to roll foul, which it didn’t, and Joe was on first after the ball hit third base, Uribe walked on a 3-2 pitch, and then Astacio walked Chris Widger forcing in a run. Wandy Rodriguez was brought on to K Podsednik to end the inning. Going into the bottom of the 14th the Good Guys had a two run lead. But Damaso Marte was still in the game, with no other relievers available. Damaso Marte was terrible throughout the latter part of this season and he was the guy brought in to face the Red Sox in the Divisional Series and loaded the bases before El Duque’s magic act. We even joked about having to be at the games to keep Marte off the field. And that the only reason Damaso made the post season roster was because he speaks Spanish, or that he has naked pictures of Ozzie Guillen. This time though Marte seemed more focused and dtermined, or was it just that he was benefitting from facing NL hitters? Mark Buehrle, Sunday’s starter, was warming up, just in case. When Juan Uribe made his 2nd error of the game putting runners at the corners with two out Ozzie Guillen made the move to bring on Buehrle for the save. Adam Everett popped to Uribe to end the game. It was the longest game in World Series history. The win put the Good Guys up 3-0 with one win to go. LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!

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