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2008 American League Division Series 2
From BR Bullpen
|2008 American League Division Series|
|Tampa Bay Rays
97 - 65 in the AL
|3 - 1
|Chicago White Sox|
89 - 74 in the AL
|2008 MLB Postseason|
|AL||LAA - BOS||TB - BOS||PHI - TB|
|TB - CHW|
|NL||CHC - LAD||PHI - LAD|
|PHI - MIL|
|<< 2007||2009 >>|
The second American League Division Series of 2008...
 The Teams
 Series results
|1||Chicago White Sox 4 Tampa Bay Rays 6||October 2||Javier Vazquez (0-1) James Shields (1-0)||2:30 p.m.|
|2||Chicago White Sox 2 at Tampa Bay Rays 6||October 3||Mark Buehrle (0-1) Scott Kazmir (1-0)||6:00 p.m.|
|3||Tampa Bay Rays 3 Chicago White Sox 5||October 5||Matt Garza (0-1) John Danks (1-0)||5:05 p.m.|
|4||Tampa Bay Rays 6 Chicago White Sox 2||October 6||Andy Sonnanstine (1-0) Gavin Floyd (0-1)||5:05 p.m.|
 Game 1 @ Tropicana Field
|WP: James Shields (1-0), LP: Javier Vazquez (0-1), SV: Dan Wheeler (1)|
|Home Runs: CHW - Dewayne Wise (1); Paul Konerko (1); TB - Evan Longoria 2 (2)|
- Attendance: 35,041
The Tampa Bay Rays won the first postseason game in franchise history by a score of 6-4 over the Chicago White Sox. Rookie 3B Evan Longoria provided the thunder with two home runs and an RBI single, while Chicago's string of winning important games ended at three.
James Shields started the game for the Rays, facing the much-maligned Javier Vazquez, who only days earlier had been criticized by his manager Ozzie Guillen as being unable to win when it mattered most. However, since Guillen had used his best pitchers in the three preceding do-or-die games, he had no choice but to send Vazquez to the mound. Tampa broke the ice when Longoria hit the first pitch of the 2nd inning for a home run. However, the White Sox replied immediately in the 3rd inning, when LF Dewayne Wise hit a three-run homer of his own. That lead was short-lived as well, because in the bottom of the inning, the Rays scored two runs to tie the game, the second coming on Willy Aybar's sacrifice fly after Aybar had entered the game in the top of the inning as a substitute for 1B Carlos Pena, who was bothered by blurred vision in his left eye. Longoria followed with another solo homer and it was 4-3, Rays.
The Rays built up their lead in the 5th when Longoria collected his third RBI of the day on a single. After Clayton Richard replaced Vazquez in the 6th, it was Carl Crawford's turn to drive in a run. Crawford's hit was especially sweet for Tampa as the game marked his first start after going on the disabled list on August 9th with a finger injury. Richard then settled down by striking out the next five batters he faced, while the Sox mounted another threat in the 7th. Shields loaded the bases with one out and gave way to Grant Balfour, who struck out Juan Uribe and Orlando Cabrera in succession to end the inning, the latter not before Balfour and Cabrera had exchanged angry words.
J.P. Howell pitched a perfect 8th inning and Dan Wheeler came on to pitch the last inning for Tampa Bay. Although he gave up a solo home run to Paul Konerko, Chicago could not tie things. The Rays, owners of the best home record in baseball in 2008, had taken Game 1.
 Game 2 @ Tropicana Field
|WP: Scott Kazmir (1-0) , LP: Mark Buehrle (0-1)|
|Home Runs: TB - Akinori Iwamura (1)|
- Attendance: 35,257
The Tampa Bay Rays continued their dominance at Tropicana Field, taking Game 2 behind their young ace pitcher, Scott Kazmir. Chicago sent veteran left-hander Mark Buehrle to the mound, and took the lead in the early going. Kazmir was nervous in the 1st inning, starting off the game by plucking Orlando Cabrera and walking Nick Swisher. Jermaine Dye followed with a single to load the bases, but Paul Konerko hit an infield fly for the first out. Jim Thome followed with a run-scoring single, and Alexei Ramirez with a sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0 for the Pale Hose. A.J. Pierzynski then hit another single to load the bases again, but Kazmmir struck out Juan Uribe to end the inning, after the shortstop had fouled off three pitches. The Rays were pleased to have escaped with only minimal damage, and they would dominate the rest of the game from that point on.
Willy Aybar singled to lead off the 2nd inning for Tampa and moved to third when second baseman Ramirez threw wildly to first, trying to double him off after snagging Rocco Baldelli's line drive. Aybar then scored when the next batter, Dioner Navarro, poked a single to right. The score remained 2-1 Chicago until the bottom of the 5th, as Kazmir had settled down and was mowing down the White Sox batters with regularity. With Jason Bartlett on first in the 5th, Akinori Iwamura hit a home run to put the Rays in the lead, then in the 6th, the White Sox put Uribe on second base with one out, prompting Rays' manager Joe Maddon to bring in reliever Grant Balfour. The Australian got out of the inning unscathed, but allowed the first two batters to single in the 7th, and in turn left in favor of J.P. Howell. Howell retired the next three batters and stranded the runners, then pitched a scoreless 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Rays put some insurance runs on the scoreboard when B.J. Upton led off with a triple, and Carl Crawford singled him in. That was the end of Buehrle's stint on the mound, but the Sox relievers could not match their counterparts from Tampa. Octavio Dotel retired the next two batters, but still allowed Crawford to move to third on a stolen base and a ground out, then allowed a single to Baldelli to make it 5-2. Matt Thornton relieved him, but was greeted by a Navarro double that made it 6-2. With the game basically in hand, Maddon chose to sent submariner Chad Bradford to pitch the 9th. Dye hit a lead-off single, but was immediately wiped out on Konerko's double play grounder. Bradford then struck out Jim Thome looking to end the game.
 Game 3 @ U.S. Cellular Field
|WP: John Danks (1-0), LP: Matt Garza (0-1), SV: Bobby Jenks (1)|
|Home Runs: TB - B.J. Upton (1)|
- Attendance: 40,142
Four times in the past week were the White Sox faced with a do-or-die game in which a loss would have meant the end of their season; four times did they win, the last instance being in Game 3 of the ALDS. Coming back to U.S. Cellular Field with a crowd dressed completely in black, they sent to the mound John Danks, the pitching hero of their one-game playoff win over the Minnesota Twins. Danks came through once again, facing Matt Garza, the Rays' young starter who had done very well after being acquired from the Twins in the offseason.
It was the Rays who scored first, in the 2nd inning, when Akinori Iwamura drove in a run with an infield single. In the 3rd, Chicago got the run back: Dewayne Wise led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's two-out single. The Sox did their biggest damage in the next inning, however. First, they loaded the bases on a double by Jim Thome, a walk to Paul Konerko, and a single by Ken Griffey. Alexei Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly on which all three runners advanced one base, then Wise followed with a double to the opposite field which scored two more runs for a 4-1 lead. In the 6th, Griffey drew a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Brian Anderson, who stole second and moved to third on an infield out. After another out, Juan Uribe hit a single to make the score 5-1.
Tampa Bay brought the score closer in the 7th when B.J. Upton hit a two-run homer with two outs. Carlos Pena, back in the line-up after leaving Game 1 early, followed with a single that ended Danks' presence. Octavio Dotel came in and struck out Evan Longoria to end the inning. After a scoreless 8th, Ozzie Guillen brought in Bobby Jenks to pitch the 9th, and the big righthander struck out Pena on a curveball for the final out to earn the save and allow the White Sox to live at least another day.
 Game 4 @ U.S. Cellular Field
|WP: Andy Sonnanstine (1-0), LP: Gavin Floyd (0-1)|
|Home Runs: TB - B.J. Upton 2 (3); CHI - Paul Konerko (2), Jermaine Dye (1)|
- Attendance: 40,454
The Chicago White Sox had become seemingly invincible with their backs against the wall over the past 8 days - that is, until they ran into a fired-up young Tampa Bay team in Game 4. The Rays showed how they had managed to finish ahead of the much more fancied Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the AL East by pounding the Pale Hose into submission in a convincing fashion. They scored in 5 of the first 7 innings, and never let their opponents get in the game.
The pitching match-up featured two youngsters - not that Tampa seemed to have anything but youngsters on its roster - Andy Sonnanstine and Gavin Floyd, both of whom had had break-out seasons from the back of their team's starting rotation. But Floyd could not keep the Rays' bats in check, and most specifically that of one B.J. Upton, who homered in both the 1st and 3rd innings to put Tampa Bay ahead. Then, in the 4th, the Rays applied more pressure with two more runs, a double by Cliff Floyd scoring Carl Crawford, and a single by Dioner Navarro pushing Cliff Floyd in, a sequence that chased Gavin Floyd from the game. Paul Konerko hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning, but it was still 4-1 White Sox. In any case, Tampa Bay got that run right back in the 5th when Carlos Pena drove in Akinori Iwamura with a single.
Jermaine Dye, who had been very quiet until then, hit a home run in the 6th inning to bring the White Sox back to within three runs. That ended Sonnanstine's day, but he had only given up a single and a walk besides the two long balls, and was never in any danger of losing control of the game. J.P. Howell, who had been outstanding in his two previous outings, took over for him and was lights out once again. Then Tampa applied the submission hold on the Sox, with yet another run in the top of the 7th, when Pena drove in another teammate, this time Jason Bartlett. All three pitchers used by the Sox thus far had given up runs, and even if Matt Thornton and Scott Linebrink eventually stopped the bleeding, it was too late. Joe Maddon had all the relievers he needed, and in fact needed only Grant Balfour, who gave up a lone walk in two innings of work, to confirm Chicago's elimination and Tampa Bay's advancement to the ALCS.
 Related Sites
|Major League Baseball American League Division Series