CHICAGO -- Standing in front of his locker with an icepack on his left shoulder, Aaron Rowand carefully removed his wristbands following Wednesday's 2-1, walk-off victory over the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field. The way that Rowand gingerly moved for such a basic act indicated a warrior who had survived another battle but was desperately in need of a day off before further fights could take place.
Rowand will get his wish with Thursday's break in the action, but the White Sox travel to California knowing they are now three wins away from their first World Series appearance since 1959. In the latest installment of his journal, done exclusively for MLB.com, Rowand talks about the stunning way in which his team won and the importance of going back to the West Coast even in the series.
It's a first, I can give you that much. It will rank up there, that's for sure. But we will take them any way we can get them, to get the momentum on our side.
I thought the ball bounced on A.J's third strike. I saw Josh [Paul] roll it back, and I really didn't think there would be much controversy from the start. I thought the ball bounced, and to be honest, I wasn't watching the umpire [Doug Eddings]. That's just a heads-up play on A.J.'s part.
A.J. took off, and I knew they weren't going to get him. I almost thought he was going to go for two. It was definitely a good feeling, getting a guy on base, especially after Joe hit the ball off [Kelvim] Escobar in his last at-bat in the seventh. Even at 0-2 in the ninth, Joe saw the ball well off of him. He hit a slider in the seventh and a splitter in the ninth. It's definitely a good feeling the way it happened.
There's nobody better than [Crede] in the clutch. He's been doing it his whole career, over and over again. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time, either.
When I tried to score after I doubled leading off the second, I didn't even see the ball when it rolled away. I just saw [third baseman] Robb [Quinlan] take off and [third-base coach] Joey [Cora] yelled, 'Go, go, go.' I tried to get back on my horse as soon as I could because I was out of gas.
I turned around and started to run for home. I thought I got my hand in there, but the umpire [Eddings] didn't see it that way. I look at [the ninth inning] as a make-up call for everything else. Sliding into home, I hurt my [left] shoulder. It's nothing a day off can't cure.
We had some balls hit hard and some close plays and what not. We came up empty for a little bit, but Joe came up with the right hit at the right time.
This was a huge finish. If we go in there 0-2, playing in Anaheim, with that crowd, having to take two out of three there would have put a lot of pressure on us. We definitely have momentum on our side, but it's a long road ahead of us.
All these games will be just like these first two, 3-2 and 2-1 finals. They will all be battles and all decided by one or two runs. It's up to us to come out on top.
Aaron Rowand's postseason diary appears as told to Scott Merkin a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.