Angels Best White Sox in ALCS Game 1

In the American League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Angels won the first game in the best-of-seven series against the Chicago White Sox, 3-2. The White Sox fell short against what was supposed to be a travel-weary team.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels face off later today in game two of the best of seven American League Championship Series. During game one last night, the Angels beat the White Sox 3-to-2. That victory is a setback for Chicago and its quest to win a World Series for the first time in 88 years. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY reporting:

The night was festive from the beginning. As the White Sox ran onto the field, fireworks lit up the sky celebrating the division champs' next step to the World Series. It was a moment Sox fan Rod McKennell(ph) says the city has been waiting for since 1917, the year the White Sox last won the World Series.

Mr. ROD McKENNELL (White Sox Fan): Give this city a championship. That's what we need, one baseball championship. And who better else than the White Sox? You know, we don't make excuses for losing, we don't have curses. We just go out and play and this is what it's all about. We got to win this right now. We got to win this series.

CORLEY: And that's become a mantra of even the smallest White Sox fan, like eight- and nine-year-old cousins Jessica Tambreau(ph) and Patrick Hennessey(ph). In the front row, right behind the Sox dugout, they sounded like tiny announcers as they ticked off all the reasons why they thought the White Sox should win the game and eventually the series.

Unidentified Child #1: The Angels are having...

Unidentified Child #2: Yeah.

Unidentified Child #1: ...trouble--their best pitcher is not pitching...

Unidentified Child #2: Not here.

Unidentified Child #1: They don't have a very good bullpen.

Unidentified Child #2: Yep, so it's--and we really want an award.

CORLEY: Chicago put its top pitcher, Jose Contreras, on the mound, but the night belonged to the LA Angels and pitcher Paul Byrd. Despite the team's strenuous travel schedule, the battle against Chicago was the Angels' third game in three nights in three different cities. Angels' manager Mike Scioscia says it was all a blur but didn't negatively affect the team.

Mr. MIKE SCIOSCIA (Angels' Manager): The playoffs--just an experience I found here since 2002, sometimes they're painfully slow with things developing with the off days, with every game, every pitch being--with the intensity it brings. This is almost a breath of fresh air to play this many games and just go out and play baseball 'cause that's where the fun is.

CORLEY: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says he knew the Angels' schedule would make little difference. He says unlike the White Sox, Los Angeles simply executed its game plan better.

Mr. OZZIE GUILLEN (White Sox Manager): Obviously, we're disappointed. I think we'd like a chance to play better than we not do what we do all year long, but I know we're going to...(unintelligible) and come back and play hard and just keep preparing our self every day. You know, I don't have anything to say about the boys. The boys are playing good and they're playing better than we did.

CORLEY: For White Sox fans looking forward to a possible World Series bid, the Angels' win is simply a slight delay. Tom Law(ph), standing with two of his friends in White Sox jackets, says it's no surprise that Los Angeles is a team to be reckoned with.

Mr. TOM LAW (White Sox Fan): Sooner or later, we have to play a good team. We want--everybody wanted the Yankees. I don't the Yankees were as good as the Angels and that proof fared out, didn't it? Angels beat them. So we got to beat a better team. Maybe then we have to be stronger, don't we?

CORLEY: And just how strong will be evident tonight when the White Sox and the Angels continue their best of seven series for the American League Championship. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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