It'll be hard to top the theatrics of Game 2 in this World Series but the White Sox are going to try tonight.
Jon Garland and the Astros' Roy Oswalt face off in Game 3 as the Series switches to Texas and National League rules.
Sunday night's finish was up there with the all-time thrilling and improbable World Series endings. I give a slight edge to Game 6 in 1986 and Game 1 in '88.
Maybe because I was younger at the time do those moments stick out, but maybe also because of the greatness of Vin Scully's calls.
What we got Sunday was Joe Buck and Tim McCarver discussing over the action whether Albert Pujols' homer in the NLCS still affected Astros' closer Brad Lidge. Buck asked why manager Phil Garner didn't put Lidge in during Game 6 just to get that bad taste out of his mouth.
"There is no taste," McCarver said seconds before Podsednik yanked that fastball into the bleachers.
When they replay that moment years from now, no one will know what they're talking about. Thankfully for all of us, there's John Rooney's radio call.
What's passed for drama during the travel day was whether the roof on Minute Maid Park would be open or not. The Astros wanted it closed because of the domed-in noise advantage; MLB wants blimp shots. MLB makes the call and the roof is open to the Texas night.
Welcome again to another World Series version of From the Cubicle. Gather around the computer; we'll bring you all the action.
Breaking news: The Astros have trimmed their beards to goatees. Look out.
Fox dedicated an entire pregame segment on the breaks the Sox have gotten. As for the deep dish pie someone on the message board mentioned, we already ate it.
Again, is there a purpose for this pregame show nonsense? Let! Them! Play! Time to check in on the Hawks-Predators game.
They are introducing the players at Minute Maid Park, which means we should have baseball, oh, by the first snow.
Wynona Judd, Michael McDonald and two other people whose names I didn't catch are now singing some sappy patriotic song. There is a whole lot of head popping going on.
McDonald, the former Doobie Brother, sings the Anthem. That was pretty good. Now just as long as he doesn't follow it up with "Takin' It To the Streets," we're close to an actual sporting event.
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are riffing on must-win games and Roy Oswalt's fastball. Speaking of which, Oswalt can be seen over their shoulders strolling in from the bullpen and that means we're at least two more commercial breaks away from a ball being thrown. What's on ESPN?
First inning (finally)
Good thing I set the TIVO for 7:05, so I can relive all that. Here we go, 7:45 and Oswalt starts Podsednik off with, according to Buck and McCarver, the best fastball the game's ever known. Podsednik looks at a curve for strike three. Tadahito Iguchi lines a single and there goes Oswalt's perfect game. Fox will be switching over to "That '70s Show" shortly. Dye bounces into a 6-3 inning-ending double play and there's a lot of suede-fringed jackets in the crowd.
Garland falls behind Biggio before Biggio lines a double to the left-center gap. Willy Taveras tries to bunt Biggio over to third but pops it straight up in the air to Joe Crede. Easiest play Crede's made all series. Lance Berkman slices a single the other way to left, scoring Biggio. I believe the Astros just set off fireworks for an RBI single. Morgan Ensberg hits into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Yes, as someone on the message board pointed out, the place erupted when the ball was hit. Big fans down there in Houston apparently think any hit ball is a good thing.
Astros 1, White Sox 0
I will say I love that whistling Astros fan on the MLB commercial. "Astros mania... all over this HOUSE!" Or doe he say "town"? Anyway, Paul Konerko doubles down the left-field line. Oswalt walks A.J. Pierzynski. Must've been because the roof is open. Aaron Rowand rips one but right at Adam Everett at short and Konerko is doubled up. Tough break there. Crede walks. Close that roof! Juan Uribe pops out to end the top of the second.
Mike Lamb flies out to Rowand in shallow center. Jason Lanes sends a ball into the corner but it's just foul. He then pops one foul the other way and some guy in the front row takes it away from Konerko. Lane then walks on a close pitch. Ausmus quickly bounces into an inning-ending double play.
Astros 1, White Sox 0
Garland strikes out. Podsednik grounds out to third. Iguchi grounds back to Oswalt and Fox again has Brandon Backe mike-up again in the Houston dugout.
Everett beats out a broken-bat chopper to Uribe. The Sox pitch out, Everett takes off but Uribe drills the runner with his throw to first. Everett gets back safely and Uribe is charged with an error. Ozzie Guillen, who guessed right, slams his hat into the ground. Oswalt then bunts Everett to second. Biggio pokes one through the hole on the right side and Everett beats Jermaine Dye's throw to the plate. Another tough break for the Sox. They had Everett picked off. Meanwhile, Biggio stopped at first on that play. Taveras strikes out. Berkman lines a single to right, Biggio takes third. Guillen is not happy in the dugout. He just threw a bottle of water and may have broken a nail before heading into to the tunnel for who knows what. Ensberg launches a long foul ball before singling Biggio home. Garland strikes out Lamb on three pitches. The Astros get two more runs on a bad break. Uribe needs to--has to--make that play.
Astros 3, White Sox 0
Dye hits it deep to left-center where Taveras makes a nice running catch on the warning track. Konerko flies out, as well. Pierzynski draws a two-out walk and flips his bat with gusto. Rowand breaks his bat grounding to Ensberg, who makes a nice bare-handed play to end the top half of the inning.
Lane leads off the bottom half with a solo homer to left, that cleared the dumb yellow line. Garland comes back and gets Ausmus and Everett in order. Oswalt bounces back to Garland. McCarver and Buck are wondering if that was even a home run. It would help if there was just a wall out there and not a line on a wall.
Astros 4, White Sox 0
Crede lines a homer to right to open the fifth. Now that was a real home run. Turns out Lane's was not. Uribe lines a single to left. Ozzie is yelling for a balk, saying Oswalt isn't coming to a full stop in his set position. Garland strikes out after taking a few stabs at a bunt. Interesting that he was batting in the first place. Posednik grounds a hit through the hole on the right side. Uribe stops at second. Iguchi lines a single to center, scoring Uribe. Podsednik stops at second. Dye drops a single to center and Podsednik scores. Great at-bat by Dye. He just threw his bat at that ball. Hawk would be proud. Big Frank is very pumped in the Sox dugout. First and second and one out for Konerko. Konerko lifts a fly ball to center and Uguchi doesn't tag. Bad move. The base was there to take. Pierzynski tees off on an Oswalt meatball and sends it to that silly hill in center, scoring both runs and the Sox take lead. Pierzynski ends up on second. Rowand walks and the so-called unhittable Oswalt is laboring. Here's Crede who started this with a homer. Crede takes a fastball right in the chest, slams his bat and stares at Oswalt. Car Everett is yelling out of the Sox's dugout. And Phil Garner is yelling back. This just heated up. Umpire Jerry Lane is trying to cool things. Right after Buck said Oswalt was getting squeezed he got a gift from the home plate ump on a called strike off the plate. Uribe sends one deep to right but misses a grand slam by a few feet. Uribe leaves the bases loaded with a pop up to right. But the Sox take the lead.
White Sox 5, Astros 4
Biggio grounds out to Crede for a quick out. Taveras bloops out to Iguchi. The great squeezed Oswalt threw 46 pitches in that inning. Must be the roof. Fat Elvis flies out to a running Rowand in center.
Oswalt stays out there. And why not? Garland bats for himself and grounds out. Podsednik bounces out to second. Iguchi bounces one off Ensberg. Of course according to Buck it was a "bad hop." That was a "bad play." The official scorer gave him an error. Dye flies out.
Ensberg is rung up by a sinker on the outside corner. Lamb pops out and Lane grounds out to Uribe, who guns it to first.
White Sox 5, Astros 4
Personally I like how both Guillen and Garner have stuck with their starters. Let them bat, just as long as they don't hit into a double play, and them go back out and battle. Oswalt stays out there to face Konerko and walks him on four pitches. Exit Oswalt. Enter Russ Springer. Pierzynski pops out. Springer strikes out Rowand. Crede grounds out to Biggio.
A moment of silence for the late Rosa Parks is followed by Aaron Neville singing a great rendition of "God Bless America."
Garland walks Ausmus to start the top half. Everett bunts and the only play is at first. Jeff Bagwell hits in the pitcher's spot. The count goes full and Bagwell pops it straight up and throws his bat. Konerko handles it on the mound. Guillen comes out but leaves Garland in. Garland fans Biggio with an assortment of change-ups and finishes the job with a fastball on the outside corner.
Dan Wheeler is the Astros' latest pitcher and gets Uribe to fly out to right. Everett bats for Garland and lines an 0-2 single into right. Steve Perry is in the house, which proves you can get your inspiration from anywhere, including Journey. Willie Harris runs for Everett and steals second with Podsednik at the plate. He flies out to left. Iguchi grounds out to third.
Cliff Politte comes on to face Taveras, who pops out to left. Politte gets a huge out by fanning Berkman. Again Ozzie goes against the book by letting the switch-hitting Berkman bat lefty and it works. Ensberg walks and Ozzie will bring in the lefty Neal Cotts to face Lamb. Cotts walks Lamb. That's it for Cotts and Dustin Hermanson will make his first postseason appearance. Lane doubles down the left-field line, scoring Ensberg. The ball hit off the wall that sticks out and bounced into left, saving another run. Ozzie is going to get roasted for that move. Runners on second and third in a tie game with Ausmus up. Hermanson comes back to strike out Ausmus looking but the damage has been done. Tie game. We go to the ninth.
White Sox 5, Astros 5
Wheeler remains and starts Dye with a ball. Dye grounds out to Everett. Wheeler plunks Konerko on the arm. And that's it for Wheeler. Mike Gallo trots to the mound gets Pierzynski to ground out. The ball was hit too softly for a play at second. Garner goes out and gets Gallo for Brad Lidge. Just asking but what happens if Lidge gives up a two-run homer to Rowand? Lidge strikes out Rowand and this game could go all night.
White Sox 5, Astros 5
Orlando Hernandez is the latest Sox pitcher to take the mound. Everett pops to shallow left and Uribe and Podsednik nearly make a small adventure of it but Uribe gloves it. Chris Burke pinch hits and draws a walk. Burke nearly gets picked off first. El Duque throws over again and it gets away from Konerko. Burke takes second. Burke then steals third. The Sox draw the infield in and El Duque goes 3-0 on Biggio. El Duque walks Biggio. That sets up a double play. I'm thinking Garner will try to squeeze and the Sox will pitch out. Taveras is swinging away and gets behind 0-2. So much for that bunt. El Duque fans him with a breaking ball. Large. Gotta walk Berkman. Ozzie goes out to discuss. They pitch to him. Ball one. Ball two near his head. I'm surprised Berkman didn't pretend to get hit in the head again like he did against the Cubs. Enough with this. They put him on. El Duque gets ahead of Ensberg 0-2. Foul tip and it bounces out of Chris Widger's glove. Ball one. Ball two. Ensberg swings right over a slider. Strike three. Wow. We got to extras.
Crede grounds out to second. Uribe fans. The count goes full to Widger. He strikes out.
Orlando Palmeiro bats for Lidge and walks on four pitches. Ozzie and trainer Herm Schneider go out to check on El Duque. Apparently something's wrong with his shoulder. He's gone. Luis Vizcaino comes in. Lane pops up the first pitch. Cub-esque patience at the plate there. Palmeiro takes off and Ausmus flies out to shallow center. The runner has to go back. A couple of killer mistakes by the Astros in the inning. Everett walks. Burke grounds back to Vizcaino and we go to the 11th. I have to work in the morning.
This better not go 18 innings. The last hit in this game was in the bottom of the eighth when the Astros tied it up. Chad Qualls tries his hand at this pitching thing. Podsednik bats. Qualls thought he struck out Podsednik and takes a little walk around the infield. Podsednik follows with a single to right. Iguchi tries to bunt but misses. He then bunts foul. With two strikes he swinging away. The Astros pitch out and Podsednik takes off. The throw is to the third-base side of second and Podsednik is in there. Iguchi flies out and Podsednik bluffs a tag. Lane's throw nearly goes over everything and into the crowd, but it hits the wall and bounces back to third. Had that gone in the crowd, Podsednik would've gotten third. Instead he's standing on second. Dye fans. The Astros walk Konerko and Timo Perez will hit and grounds out.
Bobby Jenks rumbles to the mound to face Biggio. Jenks strikes out Biggio. Jenks plunks Taveras in the head...with a curve. Jenks against Berkman. Spare tire versus an extra chin. Berkman wins that one by drawing a walk. Ensberg pops up a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Palmiero grounds back to Jenks for the third out.
They should call this for the night and pick it up at noon tomorrow. Looks like Barbara Bush has called it a night. She stuck it out for 11 innings. Rowand strikes out. Crede grounds out. Uribe pops out.
Still tied 5-5 in case you forgot
Lane pops out to Podsednik for the first out. Jenks fans Ausmus and Everett. Widger coming up for the Sox.
Widger walks. Or is it Walker widges? I have no idea at this point. Podsednik bunts, Ausmus bare-hands it in front of the plate and starts a 2-6-3 double play. Brother. Iguchi strikes out.
Damaso Marte to pitch and Geoff Blum to play second enter this tilt. I've got to get up and walk around before thrombosis sets in. Jose Vizcaino walks. Marte gets Biggio looking and I'm eating ancient Girl Scout cookies I found in my cubicle just to stay awake. Taveras goes down looking, too. Everyone involved is ready for bed. Except Berkman, who's probably all jacked up on Twinkies. Berkman grounds out to Uribe.
Time for some rules changes. Someone on the board suggested a hand of Texas Hold 'Em between Guillen and Garner to decide this and someone else mentioned a home run derby. I'm thinking a coin flip. The Astros have another pitcher and his name is Ezequiel Astacio. Dye gets a hit. A hit! Konerko rips it down the third-base line and Ensberg make a great play and starts a double play. Kidding me? Blum sends one deep to right for a home run. You read that right. Unreal. Rowand beats out an infield single--I think--and Mark Buehrle is up in the pen. Crede cues one down the third-base line. Ensberg lets it go and it hits the bag. Fair ball. Uribe bats with two on and two outs. Astros fans are either waving the white towel are trying to fire their team up. It's hard to tell. Uribe walks and it's easy to see why Astacio is the last guy in the Houston pen. It's 1 a.m. and half the lights just went out in here. It's safe to say I've never been here this late. Astacio walks Widger and the second run of the inning scores. That's it for Astacio. I forgot about Wandy Rodriguez. Someone on the message board thought he already pitched tonight. He may have. Podsednik strikes out and we pray for a quick bottom half of whatever inning we're in.
White Sox 7, Astros 5
Greenies anyone? Marte remains with Buehrle warm in the pen just in case. Ensberg goes down swinging on three pitches. Marte walks Palmeiro. Ugh. Tomorrow's starter Brandon Backe runs out to the Astros' pen as the tying run comes to the plate in the form of Jason Lane...who quickly pops out. Ausmus grounds to short and Uribe boots it. Did I mention Ugh? Here comes Buehrle, who at least works quickly. Everett pops it up and Uribe takes care of it. Whoa, got a little touchy there but the White Sox hang in there and win it in 14 innings.
Final: White Sox 7, Astros 5
Bed time, Sox fans. In mere hours the Sox will go for a World Series sweep. Fox's pregame show is up next.
Thanks for reading, posting and staying up, everyone. Take care and get some sleep.