The 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 2005 American League playoffs, matched the Central Division champion Chicago White Sox against the West Division champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The White Sox, by virtue of having the best record in the AL during the 2005 season, had the home-field advantage. The White Sox won the series four games to one to become the American League champions, and faced the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series; as a result of the 2005 All-Star Game played in Detroit, Michigan at Comerica Park on July 12, the White Sox had home-field advantage in the World Series. The series was notable both for a controversial call in Game 2 of the series, and the outstanding pitching and durability of Chicago's starting rotation, pitching four consecutive complete games; the 2⁄3 of an inning Neal Cotts pitched in the first game was the only work the White Sox bullpen saw the entire series.
The White Sox and Angels were victorious in the AL Division Series (ALDS), with the White Sox defeating the defending World Champion and wild card qualifier Boston Red Sox three games to none, and the Angels defeating the Eastern Division champion New York Yankees three games to two.
Chicago won the series, 4–1.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois
In the series opener, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won 3–2 in their third game in as many nights and as many cities. The Angels took the lead in the second inning on a Garret Anderson leadoff home run. Next inning, Steve Finley and Adam Kennedy hit back-to-back leadoff singles and advanced one base each on Chone Figgins's sacrifice bunt. Orlando Cabrera's single and Vladimir Guerrero's groundout scored a run each. José Contreras allowed no more runs, going 8 1⁄3 innings. In the bottom of the inning, Joe Crede's home run off of Paul Byrd put the White Sox on the board. Next inning, Carl Everett singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's single to make it a one-run game. However, neither team would score for the rest of the game. It was the first time in six tries that the Angels won a Game 1 under Mike Scioscia, despite the fact that they won the World Series in 2002. This was the only game the White Sox would lose in the entire postseason.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois
Before the game then-senator and future President of the United States Barack Obama threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch. Behind a complete game from Mark Buehrle and a now infamous strikeout in the bottom of the ninth, the White Sox evened the series at a game apiece. In the bottom of the first, Scott Podsednik reached second on an error, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Jermaine Dye's ground out. Jarrod Washburn and two relievers held the Sox scoreless over the next seven innings while Robb Quinlan's fifth inning home run tied the game. Then with the score still tied and two out in the bottom of the ninth, with two strikes, A.J. Pierzynski swung at a low pitch from Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar and missed, for strike three. Josh Paul, the Angels catcher, rolled the ball to the mound and left the infield. Pierzynski realized strike three had been called but he had not been called out, and he ran to first base in case the umpire had ruled that the Angels catcher had not legally caught the strike three pitch (see Uncaught third strike rule). In a controversial call, home-plate umpire Doug Eddings ruled that the ball hit the ground and then went into the catcher's glove, so the pitch was considered uncaught and Pierzynski was safe at first. A pinch-runner, Pablo Ozuna, replaced Pierzynski and stole second base. Third baseman Joe Crede delivered a base hit three pitches later, scoring Ozuna for the winning run.
Friday, October 14, 2005 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
Chicago jumped to a 3−0 lead in the first inning off of John Lackey when Scott Podsednik hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Jermaine Dye's single before Paul Konerko's two-run home run capped the scoring. Tadahito Iguchi singled to lead off the third, moved to second on a walk, and scored on Carl Everett's single. Two innings later, Iguchi doubled with one out and scored on Paul Konerko's two-out single to put Chicago up 5−0. A two-run home run by Orlando Cabrera in the sixth cut the lead to 5−2, but it would not be enough for the Angels as the White Sox took the series lead, two games to one, with Jon Garland pitching a complete game.
Saturday, October 15, 2005 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
Chicago again jumped to a 3−0 lead in the first when Ervin Santana walked Scott Podsednik and hit Tadahito Iguchi before Paul Konerko, after a disputed check swing on a 2–2 pitch, homered for the second straight game. The Angels cut it to 3−1 in the second when Darin Erstad walked with one out, moved to third on Casey Kotchman's single and pitcher Freddy Garcia's throwing error to first, and scored on Bengie Molina's single. With men on first and third, Steve Finley hit a ground ball to second for an inning-ending double play, but argued that White Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski had interfered with his swing. The White Sox got that run back when Jermaine Dye reached on shortstop Orlando Cabrera's throwing error to first, steals second, and scores on Carl Everett's single with Everett being tagged out at second to end the inning. A.J. Pierzynski's home run next inning made it 5−1 Chicago. In the bottom of the inning, Garrett Anderson singled with one out and scored on Coachman's two-out double, but in the fifth, Scott Podsednik drew a leadoff walk and after Scot Shields relieved Santana, stole second and scored on Everett's single. Esteban Yan walked Everett to lead off the eighth and allowed a subsequent double to Aaron Rowand. After Pierzynski struck out, Joe Crede's two-run single put the Sox up 8−2. Freddy García pitched their third straight complete game, helping put them one win from their first World Series visit since 1959.
Sunday, October 16, 2005 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
Chicago struck first in Game 5 when Aaron Rowand hit a leadoff ground-rule double in the third off of Paul Byrd, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Joe Crede's sacrifice fly, but the Angels tied it in the third when Juan Rivera hit a leadoff double, moved to third on pitcher Jose Contreras's pickoff attempt error, and scored on Adam Kennedy's single. In the top of the fifth, Juan Uribe doubled with one out and after a walk and fly out, scored on Jermaine Dye's single, but in the bottom of the inning, Adam Kennedy hit a leadoff single and scored on Chone Figgins's double. After moving to third on a groundout, Figgins scored on Garrett Anderson's sacrifice fly to put the Angels up 3−2. Crede's leadoff home run in the seventh off of Kelvim Escobar tied the game. Next inning, Escobar walked Rowand with two outs and an error moved him to second with Pierzynski at first. Francisco Rodriguez relieved Escobar and Crede greeted him with an RBI single to put the White Sox up 4−3. They get two insurance runs in the ninth when Paul Konerko's double after back-to-back walks and Rowand's sacrifice fly scored a run each. José Contreras pitched the fourth consecutive complete game by a White Sox pitcher, retiring the Angels in order in the ninth. Chicago won their first American League pennant since 1959. This also marked the first time in 77 years that a team threw four straight complete-game victories in the playoffs, and the first time that it was done by four different pitchers since the Chicago Cubs did it in the 1907 World Series.
Paul Konerko was named the ALCS MVP. He finished the series batting .286, with two home runs and seven RBIs. His two home runs came in the first innings of Games 3 and 4; he is only the third player in major league history to hit home runs in the first inning of consecutive playoff games, the other two having been Dan Ford during the 1979 ALCS and Carlos Beltrán during the 2004 NLCS.
2005 ALCS (4–1): Chicago White Sox over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
All quotes are by Joe Buck of Fox Sports unless otherwise noted.
Escobar, another strikeout..Pierzynski is going down to first. The Angels are already off the field. The home plate umpire never made a call and safe is Pierzynski.
And that's into the left field corner. This ball is off the wall, the White Sox have won, and this only begins what will be an argument.
Ground ball to first, the White Sox have won the pennant!
Swing and a ground ball to first, Konerko has it. He steps on the bag! The White Sox have won the pennant! They won the pennant! A White Sox winner, and they're going to the World Series!