Crede cracks Sox to Game 2 victory
Third baseman's game-winning double caps wild ninth inning
CHICAGO -- Joe Crede made A.J. Pierzynski's hustle matter on Wednesday night.
The White Sox third baseman connected on an 0-2 pitch from Angels reliever Kelvim Escobar for a double that scored pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna from second base in the ninth inning. The run propelled the home team to a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series front of 41,013 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"He just left a couple of pitches up over the plate," Crede said. "I was able to put good wood on it and it went out."
Ozuna had the chance to run because catcher A.J. Pierzynski reached first base via a disputed call on a third strike in the dirt. Pierzynski struck out swinging but made a mad dash toward first base when he did not hear he was called out. The pitch was ruled to have been trapped.
"The only thing I see, I just put my head down to the right and he was running to the base," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "All of a sudden I see A.J. running and I'm confused, I don't know what's going on. When someone said the ball hit the dirt and then I saw him running and that's it."
Home plate umpire Doug Eddings, along with umpires Rich Reiker and Jerry Crawford addressed the media after the game. Eddings stood by his call.
"Yes, I do," he said. "We saw a couple different angles, and if you watch it, the ball changes direction, so I don't see how you guys [in the media] can say it's clearly a caught ball."
Crede did his part. He has a history of success. He hit the walk-off home run in Game 2 of a three-game home series against Cleveland in late September which gave the Sox their only win of that series. The White Sox were leading the division by only 1 1/2 games before that win.
Afterward, Crede deflected praise as the game's hero. He credited Pierzynski.
"I think that the biggest part is actually getting the opportunity to be in that situation," Crede said. "You have to tip your hat to A.J. It was a heads-up play on his part and he was able to get to first and get there safely."
Pierzynski credited Crede.
"It still came down to Joe getting the hit. It was the biggest hit of the series and the year," Pierzynski said. "He likes the situation. He doesn't get nervous. He enjoys it and he relishes it. He takes pride in getting that hit and has done that for us the last couple of weeks. There is no one I would rather have up there right now."
The Angels head to California with series tied at 1-1. Nobody in the White Sox clubhouse wanted to go to California trailing 0-2 in the series.
Now, that's not a concern.
"I think it definitely helps the momentum going into Anaheim," Crede said. "That's definitely a tough place to win and they have a lot of great fans out there. They pack that place good, and we expect it to be loud and having some kind of a win on our side is definitely an advantage."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.