- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 15, 2005

ANAHEIM, Calif. — No doubt about this one. Paul Konerko made sure of that.

Konerko hit a two-run homer deep into the left-field seats during a three-run first inning, Jon Garland pitched a four-hitter, and the Chicago White Sox silenced the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 last night to take a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.

“I was strong. I was really strong,” said Garland, who struck out seven and walked one in his first outing since Oct. 1. “The offense took the pressure off me in the first inning.”

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

There weren’t any discussions of dubious decisions by the umpires, unlike Wednesday night in Chicago when umpire Doug Eddings set off days of debate with a controversial call in the ninth that led to the White Sox’s winning run.

Not that umpires had a quiet night.

The sellout crowd of 44,725 at Angel Stadium repeatedly booed the umpires and Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski, who ran to first with two outs in the ninth Wednesday after he swung and missed strike three, a pitch Eddings ruled hit the dirt.

Replays seemed to show Angels backup catcher Josh Paul grabbed the pitch in the air, and the Angels were furious, especially after Joe Crede hit an RBI double late in the inning for a 2-1 Chicago win.

Before last night’s game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia insisted there wouldn’t be any carry-over.

“Our guys have moved on. I feel the same way,” Scioscia said.

But the White Sox found new punch against John Lackey, scoring as many runs in the first three innings as they did in the first two games.

Ervin Santana, the 22-year-old rookie who won the first-round clincher against the New York Yankees, will attempt to tie the series for the Angels today when he pitches against Freddy Garcia.

Eddings, who worked the right-field foul line, was the focus of fans as the game began in twilight with an unusually warm 89-degree temperature. Behind the plate, one spectator held a bright yellow sign referring to the number on the sleeve of Eddings’ shirt: “Eddings 88. 87 other guys were busy so we got you!”

Fans booed loudly when Pierzynski was introduced, when the umpires walked out to home plate, when the umps ran to their positions in the field and again when the umps were introduced. A profane chant aimed at Eddings followed briefly.

In the middle of the first, a red banner was draped over the front of the right-field bleachers: “Eddings go home.” Fans booed when foul balls were hit near him and mocked him with cheers when he made obvious calls. In the sixth, fans pointed their Thunder Stix toward first base after Vladimir Guerrero struck out, even though Garland’s pitch wasn’t near the dirt, and booed loudly in the seventh when Eddings signaled on Garret Anderson’s line drive that clearly was foul.

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

Scott Podsednik singled on an 0-2 pitch leading off, Tadahito Iguchi sacrificed him to second and Jermaine Dye doubled to right-center to put the White Sox ahead. Lackey, who allowed just 13 homers during the regular season, then made a mistake on a 3-2 offering to Konerko, who came into the game just 4-for-20 in the postseason. Catcher Bengie Molina set his target low and outside, the pitch went high and inside and there was no doubt when Konerko connected,

The mostly red-clad crowd was stunned. Garland, from nearby Valencia and pitching in front of friends and family, never let Los Angeles back into the game.

Pitching against a team he nearly was traded to and taking the mound for the first time since Oct. 1, Garland allowed three runners in the first five innings. Darin Erstad had the first hard-hit ball, a second-inning, two-out double, but was thrown out trying for third.

Garland gave up no runs until the sixth, when Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer down the left-field line. Garland then retired his final 10 batters.

Lackey didn’t have his sharp breaking pitches. He lost for the first time since Aug. 25 and only the second time since the All-Star break, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings.

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

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