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10/26/05 2:56 AM ET

Garland lays the foundation

Rocky beginning becomes a quality start, setting stage for 'pen

HOUSTON -- Hours before the White Sox completed their 7-5 victory against the Astros in Game 3 of the World Series early Wednesday morning, Chicago starter Jon Garland took the mound determined to give his team a chance to win.

He did. His teammates did the rest.

"It was so nerve-racking," Garland said. "I was able to come out of that game with a lead, but you can't count the Astros out. At that point, it was a battle to see who could last longer."

Garland was charged with seven hits and four runs -- two earned -- over seven innings in the no-decision. He walked two batters and struck out four, rebounding from a tricky beginning to depart with the lead.

He did not get off to a good start.

Garland gave up a double to Craig Biggio to lead off the first inning. Biggio eventually scored on Lance Berkman's single. A two-run third inning increased the Astros' lead to 3-0 and it eventually climbed to 4-0 with Jason Lane's home run in the fourth.

In the seventh, by which time the White Sox had a 5-4 edge, Garland walked Brad Ausmus to start the inning and it appeared to be the beginning of the end.

It was -- for the Astros.

Adam Everett followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance Ausmus to second. White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski fielded the ball in front of home plate and considered throwing to second base for the forceout but changed his mind.

It didn't matter. Pinch-hitter Jeff Bagwell entered. He soon exited after a weak popup Paul Konerko caught on the mound. A brief meeting of the minds with Garland, manager Ozzie Guillen and Pierzynski resulted in Garland staying in the game with Biggio strolling to the plate. It was the right move. Garland got ahead of Biggio with a pair of sliders and put him away with a fastball to end the inning.

It was a job well done by Garland and he trotted off the mound with a 5-4 lead after a five-run fifth inning by the White Sox. He did not throw another pitch.

Eight other White Sox pitchers would.

"Our bullpen did a great job to even stay awake out there," Garland said. "To come in and do what they did was unbelievable."

Mark Buehrle faced one batter in the 14th to end the game and earn the save. Buehrle started Game 2 on Sunday.

"With the pitching staff they have and the pitching staff we had, I thought these games were going to be easier," Guillen said. "I thought they would score that many runs and we would score that many runs. But I think they did everything they could. They left a lot of guys on base, so did we. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn't score. We didn't execute as well."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.