White Sox get upper hand

Garland goes distance as Chicago takes 2-1 lead on Los Angeles


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Chicago White Sox assured themselves of at least one more postseason home game.

Whether it's in the American League Championship Series or World Series remains to be seen, but the White Sox regained much of their magical regular-season touch by beating the Los Angeles Angels, 5-2, last night in Game 3 of the ALCS before a crowd of 44,725 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Jon Garland's four-hit, complete-game victory and a three-run first-inning rally quieted a once-hostile crowd still fuming from Wednesday's controversy over a disputed third strike that enabled the White Sox to win.

The White Sox took a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.

"I was strong. I was really strong," said Garland, who walked one and struck out seven. "The offense took the pressure off me in the first inning."

Said fellow White Sox starter Mark Buehrle: "Garland's fastball was moving a lot, and when it's moving the way it was tonight he's tough on anybody."

Chicago needed just 12 pitches to take a 3-0 lead.

Leading off, Scott Podsednik singled on an 0-2 pitch from Angels starter John Lackey, Tadahito Iguchi sacrificed him to second and Jermaine Dye doubled to right-center to put the White Sox ahead 1-0.

Lackey, who allowed just 13 homers during the regular season, then made a mistake on a 3-2 curveball to Paul Konerko, who was just 4-for-20 in the postseason coming into the game. Catcher Bengie Molina set his target low and outside, the pitch went high and inside, and there was no doubt when Konerko connected for a two-run homer.

Carl Everett's RBI single in the third made it 4-0, and Konerko singled in a run in the fifth to make it 5-0.

"[Lackey] wasn't awful, but he obviously wasn't as crisp as we had seen him and as crisp as he was against the Yankees [in the AL Division Series]," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Garland pitched Chicago's second straight complete game, following Buehrle's five-hitter in Game 2.

"When you're not swinging the bats well, you look flat," Scioscia said.

The White Sox looked at ease as A.J. Pierzynski tipped his cap to the fans who booed him over the controversial Game 2 call in pregame introductions. Umpire Doug Eddings, who made the call in favor of the White Sox, had a uniformed officer near him down the right-field line.

Garland showed few signs of rust after his past appearance on Oct. 1, when he limited the Cleveland Indians to four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

His fastball was clocked as high as 94 mph in the seventh inning.

White Sox starters have been so good that the bullpen has worked only two-thirds of an inning in three games.

"If you remember at the beginning of the season, [the bullpen] didn't get much work either," Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper said.

Garland also was aided by solid defense, particularly by Iguchi. In the first, Iguchi was positioned near second and fielded Vladimir Guerrero's grounder near the bag to start an inning-ending double play.

In the second, Darin Erstad tried to stretch a two-out double into a triple, but Iguchi made a strong, accurate relay throw from shallow right to nail him.

In the fourth, with third baseman Joe Crede shaded toward short, Garland fooled Garret Anderson on an 81-mph outside pitch. Anderson poked the ball toward third, but Crede ranged quickly to field it and retire Anderson for the final out.

After Erstad's double, Garland retired 10 of the next 11 batters. Guerrero was the only Angel to reach safely during that span, thanks to his hard grounder that struck the outside of Garland's right foot.

The Angels finally solved Garland in the sixth. Adam Kennedy poked an opposite-field single to left. With a five-run lead, Garland still was obsessed with keeping Kennedy close, throwing to first several times. But Garland threw a belt-high 2-2 pitch that Orlando Cabrera hit over the left-field fence to cut Chicago's lead to 5-2.

Garland came back to strike out Guerrero on a low 81-mph pitch, with Pierzynski pumping his fist.

"We didn't know how Garland was going to show up after the long layoff," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I was concerned ... but it was the best game he has thrown all year."

Mark Gonzales writes for the Chicago Tribune. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

League Championship Series

American: White Sox@Angels, 7:35 tonight, chs. 45, 5

National: Cardinals@Astros, 4:05 p.m. today, chs. 45, 5

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