2000 American League Division Series 2
How They Got There
After finishing 77-86 and second to the Cleveland Indians for the 4th straight season in 1999, little was expected of the Chicago White Sox heading into the 2000 season. The team proved all of the experts wrong by finishing 95-67, the best record in the American League. It was the team's first division title in 7 years, they settled 5 games ahead of the Indians. The White Sox's success was primarily due to their offense, as the team scored 978 runs (6.04 per game) and slugged 216 home runs in 2000. The pitching staff also deserved credit for the team's success, posting a 4.66 ERA, 4th in the league.
Likewise, the Seattle Mariners were not projected to be a playoff team in 2000, either. On February 20th, the Mariners made one of the most memorable trades in major league history, shipping superstar Ken Griffey, Jr. to the Cincinnati Reds for Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko, Antonio Perez, and Jake Meyer. The Mariners were in first place in the AL West for most of 2000, but they could not hold off a late surge by the Oakland Athletics, and despite holding a division lead as late as September 28th, the M's ultimately succumbed to Oakland and wound up winning the American League Wild Card instead, finishing the year 91-71, 1/2 game behind Oakland.
- Games 1-2: Charlie Reliford, Kerwin Danley, Mike Reilly, Mike Winters, Rick Reed, Doug Eddings
- Game 3: Tim McClelland, Paul Schrieber, Al Clark, Jeff Nelson, Tim Welke, Chuck Meriwether
Game 1 @ Comiskey Park
Mariners: 7, White Sox: 4
SEA | 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 | 7 13 0 CHI | 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 | 4 9 0
The Mariners struck off White Sox pitcher Jim Parque in the top of the 1st, scoring on an Alex Rodriguez single and a John Olerud fielder's choice. The M's tacked on a third run thanks to a Joe Oliver homer in the 2nd. For Parque, the game was the beginning of the end. He pitched with low velocity and was later found to have a career-ending shoulder injury.
The White Sox answered with two of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. Chris Singleton was responsible for both runs as he drove home Paul Konerko with a triple and then scored on a Freddy Garcia wild pitch.
The Sox took the lead in the 3rd after Ray Durham hit a home run and Magglio Ordonez smacked an RBI triple. The score remained 4-3 until Mike Cameron knocked in the tying run on a single in the top of the 7th.
The defining moment of the series came in the top of the 10th inning when Lou Piniella visited Cameron at first base with one out. The content of their conversation is unknown, but Cameron stole second base following the visit. A rattled Keith Foulke then surrendered consecutive home runs to Edgar Martinez and Olerud. The Sox had no answer in the bottom of the inning, and the Mariners won Game 1 by a score of 7-4.
Game 2 @ Comiskey Park
Mariners: 5, White Sox: 2
SEA | 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 | 5 9 1 CHI | 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 | 2 5 1
It was the White Sox who struck first in Game 2. Back-to-back doubles by Ray Durham and Jose Valentin gave the Sox a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st. Valentin stole third, but the Mariners never let him cross home, thus escaping the inning with minimal damage.
White Sox starter Mike Sirotka ran into trouble in the 2nd, loading the bases on a double, hit batsman, and a Valentin error. David Bell tied the game with a run-scoring single and Dan Wilson gave the M's a lead with a sacrifice fly. The Sox evened the game at two apiece in the 3rd after Valentin stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a Carlos Lee sacrifice fly. That was the last of the runs for the White Sox, as starter Paul Abbott and relievers Arthur Rhodes, Jose Mesa, and Kazuhiro Sasaki shut down the Sox for the remainder of the game.
The Mariners jumped ahead 3-2 with a Jay Buhner home run in the 4th. They scored again in the 5th on an Alex Rodriguez ground out, and once more on a walk and a pair of singles in the top of the 9th. Sasaki picked up his second save of the series, securing a 5-2 Mariners victory.
Game 3 @ Safeco Field
Mariners: 2, White Sox: 1
CHI | 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 | 1 3 1 SEA | 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 | 2 6 0
James Baldwin and Aaron Sele locked horns in a classic pitchers' duel to conclude the best-of-five series. White Sox veteran Harold Baines scored the game's first run on a Herbert Perry sacrifice fly ion the 2nd. It was the only run the Sox scored all day.
The series came to an end after an eventful bottom of the 9th. John Olerud started it off with a liner that hit White Sox reliever Kelly Wunsch. Wunsch failed to field the ball and Olerud advanced to second on the error; he was then replaced by pinch-runner Rickey Henderson. Keith Foulke replaced Wunsch on the hill for the Sox. Javier advanced Henderson to third on a bunt. With one out and Henderson on third, Foulke walked David Bell. Carlos Guillen hit for Joe Oliver and laid down a nearly perfect bunt, scoring Henderson. Upon review, it appeared as though Guillen may have stepped on the plate, which would have resulted in an out. He was ruled safe and the Mariners won the series three games to none.
The win was the second postseason series win in the history of the Seattle Mariners. They had previously won the 1995 ALDS against the New York Yankees before losing the 1995 ALCS to the Cleveland Indians and the 1997 ALDS to the Baltimore Orioles.
The White Sox lost their 5th straight post-season series, dating back to the 1919 World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds. They had also lost the 1959 World Series to the [^1959 Dodgers|Los Angeles Dodgers]], the 1983 ALCS to the Orioles, and 1993 ALCS to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ultimately, the Mariners' strong pitching outmatched the White Sox's strong hitting. Seattle's staff had a 4.50 ERA during the regular season, second-best in the American League. They held the White Sox to just 1 home run and 7 runs and a .185 team batting average in the 3 games.
|Major League Baseball American League Division Series