CHICAGO – Chicago is getting ready for the big celebration following the White Sox's World Series (search) win last night — their first in 88 years.
The White Sox (search) are flying back to a welcome by happy fans and the city is working on a big celebration. A city spokesman says details of that plan haven't yet been finalized.
The White Sox completed the sweep of the Houston Astros last night with a 1-0 win as Jermaine Dye singled home the only run of the game in the eighth.
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The Chicago White Sox are World Series champions again at last, and yet another epic streak of futility is not just wiped away but swept away.
Just a year ago, the same story line captivated baseball when the long-suffering Boston Red Sox (search) swept St. Louis to capture their first title in 86 seasons.
Who's next, the Chicago Cubs (search), without a championship since 1908?
"It's unbelievable, unbelievable," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
It was the third title for the White Sox, following wins in 1906 and 1917. And it was the first since "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the "Black Sox" threw the 1919 Series against Cincinnati.
In the Windy City, where the Cubs have long been king, Chicago's South Side team for once trumped its North Side rival, no small feat for the Sox.
Owner Jerry Reinsdorf once said he'd trade all six of the Chicago Bulls' NBA titles for a single Series ring. No swap is needed now: He's got the prize he dreamed of since he was a kid growing up in Brooklyn.
"I hope this is not a dream," he said, holding the trophy under his left arm like a kid clutching his first baseball glove.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said during the regular season that he might retire if his team went on to win the Series, and now he'll have to reveal that decision. He hinted after the game that he wanted a new contract.
"Now I'm going to make my money," he said playfully, looking at Reinsdorf.
Chicago's sweep, its eighth straight postseason win and 16th in 17 games overall, made it only the second team to go through the postseason 11-1 since the extra round of playoffs was added in 1995, joining the 1999 Yankees. But the White Sox fans didn't get to enjoy a single celebration in person: the division title and all three rounds of the postseason were won on the road.
"I wish we were in Chicago tonight," Reinsdorf said. "It's surreal."
Houston, which finally won a pennant for the first time since it joined the National League in 1962, became the first team swept in its Series debut.
"They played well all year long," Astros manager Phil Garner said of the White Sox. "They played well against us. They deserve to be world champions this year."
On a night when pitching dominated, winner Freddy Garcia and Houston's Brandon Backe pitched shutout ball for seven innings, with Backe allowing four hits and Garcia five. They each struck out seven.
Brad Lidge, Houston's closer, came in to start the eighth, and Chicago sent up Willie Harris to bat for Garcia.
Harris lined a single to left leading off, and that led to Houston's downfall. Scott Podsednik bunted a difficult high pitch in front of the plate, and the speedy Harris took second on the sacrifice. Carl Everett pinch hit for Tadahito Iguchi and grounded to second, moving Harris to third.
Dye, the Series MVP, swung and missed Lidge's next pitch, took a ball, then grounded a single up the middle, clapping his hands as he left the plate. Harris trotted home from third, and the White Sox celebrated in the third-base dugout.
But it wasn't quite over yet.
Cliff Politte relieved to start the bottom half and hit Willy Taveras on the hand with one out. Politte bounced a wild pitch on his first offering to Lance Berkman, moving Taveras to second, then intentionally walked Berkman, nearly throwing away the next pitch.
Morgan Ensberg flied to right-center, dropping him to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the Series, and Chicago brought in left-hander Neal Cotts to face pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino, who hit a broken-bat grounder to shortstop.
Juan Uribe charged in, backhanded the ball by the grass and threw hard to first, beating Vizcaino by half a step.
After Chicago wasted a leadoff double by Pierzynski in the ninth, Jason Lane lofted a 3-2 pitch off Bobby Jenks into short center for a single leading off the bottom half.
Brad Ausmus sacrificed and pinch-hitter Chris Burke fouled out to Uribe, who fell into the left-field seats as he leaned in to make the grab. Uribe ran to the mound with the ball and gave Jenks a slap.
Orlando Palmeiro then pinch hit, and grounded to Uribe at shortstop for the final out, with Paul Konerko gloving the ball a half-step before Palmeiro landed on the bag. A postseason filled with umpires making questionable calls ended with them getting it right.
"It means a lot not only to us in the clubhouse but to the organization, the fans, the city. It's a great feeling," Dye said. "We're just happy to be able to bring a championship to the city of Chicago. It's really special."
Chicago players poured out of their dugout and jumped around on the mound. Astros players were stone-faced, then came out to wave to their fans and throw caps into the seats.
Houston was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position on the night and 10-for-48 (.208) in the Series, and the Astros were shutout for the final 15 innings, stranding 18 runners.
Jenks got his second save, while Lidge fell to 0-2 in the Series and 0-3 in the postseason.
After Chicago's 14-inning, 7-5 win that lasted a Series-record 5 hours, 41 minutes and ended at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, the crowd was more subdued at Minute Maid Park. The fans had to know that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 Series deficit.
Chicago stranded runners in three of the first four innings, including Podsednik after a two-out triple in the third, but Backe's changeup got stronger, and he struck out five straight — one short of the Series record — following Dye's leadoff single in the fourth.
He retired 11 batters in a row before Aaron Rowand's two-out single in the seventh, and Joe Crede followed with a drive high off the out-of-town scoreboard in the left-field fence, missing a home run by a few feet. Rowand, who had slowed slightly just before getting to second, was held up at third.
After a conference at the mound, and with Everett on deck as a potential pinch-hitter, Houston elected to pitch to Uribe, the No. 8 hitter, instead of intentionally walking him and forcing Chicago to decide whether to bat for Garcia. Backe fanned him on his final pitch and skipped off the mound before high-fiving teammates.
Houston, meanwhile, went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the first six innings. The Astros stranded runners on second base in the first two innings. With two on and one out in the sixth, Ensberg struck out and after Mike Lamb was intentionally walked to load the bases, Garcia struck out Jason Lane.