Tired Angels Jump On Sox

Travel-weary L.A. earns Game 1 win

Angels 3, White Sox 2


Chicago -- Why wait? If the Los Angeles Angels had their way, they would have taken a day off before the American League Championship Series.

It turns out they didn't get it and didn't need it. As it was, they had their way with the Chicago White Sox.

Proving that rest is overrated and that jet lag is no match for adrenaline, the Angels shook off the drama of a clincher against the New York Yankees on Monday night and simply took off. The Angels were crisp and sharp, beating the White Sox, 3-2, in Game 1 last night.

There really was no problem for the Angels in playing three intense games in three time zones in three nights.

"I said before the game, I don't believe [the Angels] are going to be tired," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They showed it."

Paul Byrd, who had only three days' rest and actually had loosened up in the bullpen Monday night, was outstanding in his start for a starter-depleted team. He allowed only two runs in six innings.

"We've had a couple of red-eye flights and guys haven't really complained. I don't know if we're delirious or what," Byrd said.

Said Angels manager Mike Scioscia: "This game, with its twists and turns, could have gone either way for the whole nine innings. It could have turned on a dime."

Seeking their first World Series berth in 46 years and first championship since 1917, the White Sox got another outstanding outing from starter Jose Contreras but couldn't manage much offense.

The Cuban right-hander worked into the ninth inning but lost for the first time since Aug. 15, ending his nine-start winning streak.

Chicago had won eight games in a row going back to the regular season but fell short last night.

"Obviously, we're disappointed. We had a chance to play better. We didn't do what we did all year long," Guillen said.

Whether it was Garret Anderson hitting a home run in the second inning or Orlando Cabrera breaking up a double play so the third run could score, the Angels were just a step ahead of the club that had three days off.

This is what it had come to for the Angels: Their healthiest available starting pitcher for tonight's Game 2 was someone who was so sick Sunday and Monday that he had to be quarantined from his teammates.

"I feel great," said Jarrod Washburn, who is scheduled to start tonight despite just getting over strep throat. He will oppose Chicago's Mark Buehrle.

The Angels had to do everything real quick: Celebrate, travel, assess health, practice and get ready for the White Sox.

So maybe it wasn't so odd that when it started last night, the Angels were the ones who looked as lively and refreshed as if they had spent the previous two days in a hammock. They rode on adrenaline from coast to coast to Midwest in a three-time-zones-in-three-days odyssey.

They enjoyed the start last night as they jumped to a 3-0 lead. Anderson led off the second against Contreras with a home run to right.

In the third, the Angels got two more on singles by Steve Finley and Adam Kennedy, a sacrifice by Chone Figgins, a run-scoring single by Cabrera and a run-scoring force play by Vladimir Guerrero.

All of that boosted Byrd, starting on only three days' rest after a bad outing at Yankee Stadium.

But the White Sox chipped away. Joe Crede homered with one out in the third. An inning later, A.J. Pierzynski singled to right, bringing home Carl Everett from second and making it 3-2.

By then, it seemed both sides had settled in - the Angels having wiped the sleep from their eyes, the White Sox having shaken off the rust.

Contreras found his form, retiring 12 in a row. But Byrd stayed tough through the middle innings, too.

A 12-game winner during the regular season, Byrd got the Game 1 start because he was the only option left.

"I can't say enough about our bullpen," said Byrd, who downplayed the short rest. "I'm a control pitcher, I don't rely on velocity. It wasn't a big deal to me. I got away with a few pitches."

Mark Herrmann writes for Newsday. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

League Championship Series tonight AL: Angels (Washburn 8-8) @ White Sox (Buehrle 16-8), 8:19, chs. 45, 5 or FX; NL: Astros (Pettitte 17-9) @ Cardinals (Carpenter 21-5), 8:19, chs. 45, 5 or FX

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