Game 1 of the 2005 World Series: Clemens vs. Contreras, White Sox win, 5-3
Because of an Albert Pujols three-run homer off of Houston closer Brad Lidge in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, the Astros had to use ace hurler Roy Oswalt in Game 6 to close out the series. The NLCS MVP was unavailable for Game 1 against the White Sox, putting Roger Clemens on the mound.
Clemens lasted only two innings before being replaced by Wandy Rodriguez, as the right-hander was hampered by a hamstring pull.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf: "I remember thinking how happy I was that the Astros had to use Oswalt against the Cardinals because of the Pujols home run. He couldn't start Game 1. I was pretty confident we would get to Clemens."
Reinsdorf: "I think he got hurt and had to leave before we really got enough runs against him. I don't even remember how we won the game. I don't have any great memory of that game other than Clemens. I was happy he started, and I was sad he had to leave before we really beat him up."
It wasn't until the White Sox beat the Angels behind four straight complete games from Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras that Reinsdorf believed his team could win it all.
Reinsdorf: "You always know you have a chance. Beating the Red Sox [in the American League Division Series], I think was important because we had, every other year that we'd been in the playoffs, we went out right away. Whatever the first round was, we went out. Beating the Red Sox, all of a sudden, we advanced a round. I don't like to anticipate. It was only when we won the AL pennant that I realized we probably were going to play a team that wasn't as good as we were. We could win."
Next up: Paul Konerko's grand gesture.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.