Decided four days later by a run scored from second base on an infield hit. Set up when an Angels pitcher tagged “out” a runner — with an empty glove. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week A series that ended with the Chicago White Sox advancing to the World Series for the first time in 46 years. And for only the second time since the 1919 Black Sox scandal. It was weird. Bizarre. Wacky, even. And about as everyday as Halley’s Comet. No way did the Angels deserve to win the American League Championship Series. But the way they lost it? It strains credulity to describe how they contrived to pull that off. We’ll assume you recall the Forever Infamous Third Strike in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2. The scandalously blown call by home plate umpire Doug Eddings that allowed Chicago to extend the inning, score the winning run and even the series. ANAHEIM — Now there’s something you don’t see every generation: A series that pivoted on an inning-ending strikeout that didn’t end an inning. There was goofiness in White Sox victories in Games 3 and 4, as well, including a few more blatant mistakes by the wretched umpiring crew. But that pales before Game 5, the White Sox clincher before 44,712 drizzle-soaked spectators at Angel Stadium. We’ll skip over the beer-swilling Angels fan whose greed to grab a souvenir left Chone Figgins with a double, instead of a triple, and go right to the eighth inning. Tie ballgame, 3-3. Reliever Kelvim Escobar pitching. Two outs, bases empty. Escobar walks Scott Rowand. And here comes that man, A.J. Pierzynski, official Angels nemesis. The man who stole first base (and a victory) back in Game 2. Who got away with catcher’s interference at a critical moment in Game 4. (Double play instead of Steve Finley awarded first base.) Pierzynski hit a ground ball that ricocheted off Escobar and died on the grass near the first-base line. Escobar was on the ball quickly, and all he had to do was toss it to Darin Erstad and the inning is over. Instead, Escobar charged at Pierzynski, who was steaming toward first. Escobar reached out with his gloved, left hand, and tagged Pierzynski. Escobar, however, was carrying the ball in his right hand. Escobar then tried to lob the ball to Erstad, but the throw was off, and Pierzynski was already there, and a sure, inning-ending out was, again, a free base. Here’s where it gets even weirder. First base umpire Randy Marsh called Pierzynski out! Would the Angels get a bogus break, just as the White Sox did in Game 2? In this series? Of course not. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen charged out of the dugout, the umps convened in the infield, just as they did back in Game 2, but this time they got it right, and reversed the call — which worked in the White Sox’ favor. Naturally. Joe Crede, the man who beat Escobar with the double-after-the-phantom-K last Wednesday, followed with a nondescript chopper past new pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. It was so unimpressive that second baseman Adam Kennedy made a diving stop on it on the shortstop side of the bag. But Rowand, running from second with two outs, easily scored before Kennedy could get to his knees and chuck the ball the 120 feet or so to the plate. And there was your decisive run in an eventual 6-3 White Sox victory that, presumably, touched off celebrations in the streets of sports-crazed Chicago. “They outplayed us and deserve to move on,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the White Sox. “We had great expectations coming in that didn’t pay off. We did everything we could, but they played at a very high level.” And the Angels didn’t. Their hitters, in particular, stunk it up. Demonstrating one last time that the 2005 Angels were two, maybe three real hitters shy a legitimate offense. They hit a ridiculous .179 in the series. And worked only four walks in 163 plate appearances. The futility centered on Vladimir Guerrero. The team’s 2004 Most Valuable Player was the 2005 postseason’s Most Vilified Player. Vlad the Imploder went 1-for-20 with one RBI, on a ground ball, and zero walks. He didn’t get the ball out of the infield Sunday. Then there was Figgins, leadoff man, who failed to score a run until Game 5 and was 2-for-17 in the series. And Bengie Molina, erstwhile five-hole hitter, who also went 2-for-17. And well, just about everybody in an Angels jersey who approached the batter’s box with wood in his hands embarrassed himself. It’s over now. And was it ever strange. The 2005 Angels were rather like the little curl with the girl. They could be very good. But then they were bad, as in this series, they were truly awful. So awful, they boosted the White Sox into the World Series for the first time since bobby sox. Paul Oberjuerge’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. He can be e-mailed at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!