CHICAGO (AP) – Scott Podsednik made it two electrifying home runs for the White Sox – and two World Series wins.
Podsednik’s home run off Brad Lidge in the ninth inning gave Chicago a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday night and put the White Sox halfway home to their first World Series title in 88 years.
“Incredible. What a ballgame,” Podsednik said. “I was sitting on a fastball the entire at-bat.”
After yet another disputed umpiring call, Paul Konerko capped a momentous week with a seventh-inning grand slam on reliever Chad Qualls’ first pitch, giving the White Sox a 6-4 lead and sparking the crowd of 41,432 to life on a drizzly, dreary night.
But Game 1 hero Bobby Jenks couldn’t work his magic two nights in a row.
Pinch-hitting for Adam Everett with two outs in the ninth, Jose Vizcaino hit an opposite-field single to left off the burly reliever that drove in two runs and tied the game at 6. Chris Burke just beat Podsednik’s on-target throw to score the tying run, but Podsednik made sure in the bottom half that the game didn’t go to extra innings.
Podsednik didn’t have any home runs in 507 regular-season at-bats. He hit his first of the season in the division series opener against Boston.
He came up with one out in the ninth against Lidge, who hadn’t pitched since Game 5 of the NL championship series against St. Louis, when he gave up a mammoth three-run homer to Albert Pujols that teammates joked rose to airplane cruising altitude.
This one wasn’t as long, but it was just as damaging.
Podsednik lofted the ball to right-center field, and players and fans craned to see whether it would clear the fence. When it did, Chicago players poured out of the dugout to greet Podsednik at the plate.
“Well, we’re not in a good spot,” Houston manager Phil Garner said. “We had a chance to win this ballgame. We have to go home and regroup. We’ll make a series out of this.”
Andy Pettitte had put his hometown team in position for its first World Series win, leaving after six innings with a 4-2 lead built largely by Lance Berkman, who had three RBIs.
Chicago pressured reliever Dan Wheeler on Juan Uribe’s one-out double and Tadahito Iguchi’s walk, and the White Sox loaded the bases when Jermaine Dye was awarded first base on a 3-2 pitch that umpires ruled hit his hand. Houston disputed the call and replays appeared to show the ball striking his bat.
If it had been ruled a foul ball, the count would have remained full on Dye. But he took first, Qualls relieved and he left his first pitch over the plate. Konerko turned on it, and it went deep into the left-field bleachers.