for this game

Upton, Rays power past White Sox, advance to first ALCS

Oct 7, 2008 - 5:02 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- While the Tampa Bay Rays are in uncharted territory, it was the same old refrain for the Windy City.

B.J. Upton belted two homers and Carlos Pena drove in two runs as the Rays advanced to the American League Championship Series for the first time with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox in Monday's Game Four of the division series.

"We're pretty good celebrators," Rays manager Joe Maddon said from the locker room as one champagne shower after another rained down on players and coaches. "It's quite an achievement to get here from where we have come from over the last couple of years, to get to this point so soon. It speaks for the entire organization.

"It's a group that's together."

Andy Sonnanstine hurled 5 2/3 strong innings for the Rays, who now will play for a spot in the World Series against defending champion Boston Red Sox. Boston posted a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game Four of their series Monday.

Three relievers tossed the remaining 3 1/3 innings - including Grant Balfour, who hurled the final two frames for Tampa Bay, which has made a splash in its first postseason.

"What I keep on saying is the reason that we're successful is we're focused on the present," Pena said. "We're extremely good at that. That's unusual because we're an extremely young team.

"We focus on this pitch. I guess that's why it looks like we've been there before."

The loss marked the end of a promising season for the White Sox, who now will join the crosstown rival Cubs at home for the rest of October. The best team in the National League, the Cubs were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

Angst is nothing new for Chicago 's baseball teams, which had little to celebrate before the White Sox ended an 88-year championship drought with a title in 2005. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908.

"It's not the nice way to leave after we clinched (the AL Central)," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think every day we came here we just played hard. We went through some tough times and we overcame tough times."

The Rays, for their part, have not had the opportunity to suffer postseason problems. Tampa Bay had not won more than 70 games prior to this campaign.

"They've done a lot of great things this year, and it's continued in the playoffs," said White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, who provided half his team's offense with a solo home run in the sixth inning. "They've got a great young nucleus over there, especially with the pitching staff.

"They're not playing like they've never been in the playoffs before. They're playing like a veteran club."

Upton homered in the first inning to start this one off with a bang for the Rays, who were able to finish off the resilient White Sox by jumping on starter Gavin Floyd. Upton homered to left with one out.

"They don't call this the Windy City for no reason," said Upton, who had also homered in the seventh inning of the Rays' loss in Game Three. "I kind of got it up in that jet stream, and it carried out of the ballpark for me."

Upton added another solo shot off Floyd in the third to stake Tampa Bay to a 2-0 lead.

"We pitched well, we caught the ball on defense; once again, we had some timely hits," Maddon said. "B.J. rose to the occasion."

Cliff Floyd delivered another blow one inning later, when he lined a double into the left-center field gap which scored Carl Crawford from first to make it 3-0.

During the play, Dewayne Wise threw the ball home to try and cut down Crawford, but the throw bounced past catcher A.J. Pierzynski, allowing Floyd to make it to third. He then scored on Dioner Navarro's RBI single that gave the Rays' a four-run advantage and caused Guillen to pull Gavin Floyd.

"I was expecting to go out there and give us as many innings as possible," said Gavin Floyd, who led Chicago with a 17-8 record. "I wasn't as sharp as I usually am. It's disappointing. Our bullpen did real well, kept us in the game, but whatever happened with me it just wasn't enough.

"I think I was pretty locked in at the beginning of the game. I kind of faded away a little bit. I wanted to keep pounding the strike zone and I ended up getting behind a lot."

Pena added run-scoring singles in the fifth and seventh innings, the second of which was the result of a marathon at-bat. He celebrated his accomplishment with a hearty fisted pump toward the Rays' bench that symbolized the beginning of the end for the White Sox.

"This is history - history for this franchise, and I am proud to be a part of it," Pena said.

Paul Konerko had homered for Chicago's first run in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 4-1. Dye's homer in the sixth ended Sonnanstine's night as he recorded his first win in any game since August 18. Sonnanstine, who allowed just three hits while walking one and striking out four, had entered the contest with three losses and four no-decisions in his last seven starts.

"I feel like I used my fastball to get ahead of a lot of hitters," Sonnanstine said. "And that kind of puts them in a little bit of a defense mode. So, I think the fastball really helped me out and helped me have success today."

Chicago won three straight games - including a one-game playoff - to reach the postseason for the first time since its championship three seasons ago. The White Sox beat Detroit in a makeup game last Monday, and then defeated Minnesota on Tuesday to claim the AL Central Division crown.

"They got the big hits; we didn't," Guillen said. "They had huge hits. We got what, three, four hits today, two runs? You are not going to win that many games in the short postseason like that."






  • 25
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    SuketoKetchi Added 5 roots

    Rays 6, White Sox 2  FinalOct 6 10:24 PM
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    Rays 6, White Sox 2  FinalOct 6 8:21 PM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 6 10 0
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - ANDY SONNANSTINE, J.P. HOWELL (6TH), GRANT BALFOUR (8TH) AND
    DIONER NAVARRO
    CHA - GAVIN FLOYD, CLAYTON RICHARD (4TH), OCTAVIO DOTEL
    (7TH), MATT THORNTON (7TH

    Oct 6 8:20 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS PENA SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C PENA ON FIRST, B UPTON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 6
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.308, 0-FOR-3)

    Rays 6, White Sox 2  Top 7, 0 OutsOct 6 7:24 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JERMAINE DYE (1) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF ANDY SONNANSTINE.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 5, CHI WHITE SOX 2
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J THOME (.143, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 5, White Sox 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsOct 6 7:00 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS PENA SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C PENA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 5
    CHI WHITE SOX 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.333, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 5, White Sox 1  Top 5, 0 OutsOct 6 6:36 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAUL KONERKO (2) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF ANDY SONNANSTINE.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4, CHI WHITE SOX 1
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: K GRIFFEY JR (.286, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 4, White Sox 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsOct 6 6:25 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED CLIFF FLOYD.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D NAVARRO ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G GROSS (.333, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Rays 4, White Sox 0  Top 4, 0 OutsOct 6 6:13 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CLIFF FLOYD SCORED CARL CRAWFORD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C FLOYD ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.417, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 3, White Sox 0  Top 4, 0 OutsOct 6 6:12 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY B.J. UPTON (3) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF GAVIN FLOYD.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2, CHI WHITE SOX 0
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.429, 1-FOR-1)

    Rays 2, White Sox 0  Top 3, 0 OutsOct 6 5:52 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 2 0
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: TAM - ANDY SONNANSTINE
    CHA - GAVIN FLOYD

    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: O CABRERA (.167, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    A PIERZYNSKI (.500, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    J DYE (.385,

    Rays 1, White Sox 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsOct 6 5:16 PM
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    Rays vs. White SoxOct 6 1:54 PM
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    Rays vs. White SoxOct 6 10:59 AM
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    Rays vs. White SoxOct 6 10:52 AM