- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2005

HOUSTON — As late night morphed into early morning and the scoreboard operator kept putting up more zeroes and more and more people turned off their televisions and went to bed, a strange thought went through Paul Konerko’s head.

“The more the game went on, the more it felt like a regular-season game,” the Chicago White Sox first baseman said. “You were in a trance after a while.”

This, however, was no regular-season game. This was Game3 of the World Series, and never before had the Fall Classic entered this territory.

When Chicago’s Geoff Blum homered off Houston Astros reliever Ezequiel Astacio in the 14th inning Tuesday night — er, make that Wednesday morning — the longest game in World Series history had its defining moment.

The White Sox’s 7-5 victory lasted five hours, 41 minutes, nearly an hour longer than any previous Series game. It tied the record for longest game by innings played, matching the Boston Red Sox’s 14-inning, 2-1 win over the Brooklyn Robins in Game2 of the 1916 Series.

There was plenty of research being done on that epic contest from three generations ago during the wee hours of this latest classic. The differences between the two 14-inning games were staggering.

• The White Sox and Astros used a combined 17 pitchers Tuesday night (another World Series record). The Red Sox and Robins used two: Brooklyn’s Sherry Smith, who took the loss after 131/3 innings, and Boston’s Babe Ruth, who earned the win with a complete-game effort.

“I couldn’t have done that,” Chicago’s Mark Buehrle said. “I’d like to, but there was no chance.”

• The 1916 game lasted two hours, 32 minutes, less than half the time it took to play the same number of innings Tuesday.

• Ruth and Smith combined to strike out six batters in the 1916 game. The White Sox and Astros struck out a combined 25 times.

There were plenty more oddities to Tuesday night’s game. Like Chicago’s Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez walking four batters in one inning of work (throwing 20 of his 28 pitches for balls) without surrendering a run. Or that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen needed to turn to Buehrle (his Game2 starter) to record the final out in the 14th.

The Astros, who blew an early four-run lead despite the presence of ace Roy Oswalt on the mound, were upset after losing this one. They produced one hit over the game’s final 10 innings.

“That’s some pretty poor hitting, absolute rotten hitting,” manager Phil Garner said afterward. “I don’t know how you win a ballgame when you can’t hit the ball. … I’m really ticked off.”

Ozzie’s last stand?

Earlier this season, with his team in the thick of a heated pennant race, Guillen suggested he might retire if the White Sox won the World Series.

He wouldn’t rule out that possibility yesterday afternoon before Chicago won its first title in 88 years.

“I was not joking,” Guillen said. “That particular time … I had just signed a new contract, and I said I’m not coming here for the glory, not for the money. I come here to win. If we win the World Series, give me an opportunity to say I can go home with the gold.”

Others around the game don’t want to see Guillen, 41, walk away so soon. Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox called late Tuesday night and implored him to stick around.

“He said, ‘You’ll never retire from baseball,’” Guillen said. “‘Make them retire you.’”

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