HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros played their first home World Series game in their existence, grinded through the most time-consuming game in World Series history, exhausted their bullpen, tied the game in the eighth inning when they trailed by a run with nobody on base and were down to their final four outs, used everybody on the bench except their backup catcher, and had their starting pitcher for tonight's game throwing hard in the bullpen at a quarter after one in the morning.
And what does their manager, Phil Garner, do in the first moments after the White Sox punched them in the gut by beating them in the 14th inning of Game 3, 7-5?
He rips his team.
Beautiful. Mind you, the guy says nothing to his team after the game. But he does march into the official interview room and drop these bombs for the media:
"Absolute rotten hitting.''
"We might have played 40 innings and it didn't look like we were going to get a runner across the bag.''
"It's embarrassing to play like this in front of our hometown.''
"I'm really ticked off.''
Way to bail on your team, Mr. Manager.
Not once did he credit the Chicago pitchers, especially the relievers, for holding his hitters to a 1-for-33 showing after Jason Lane hit his home run that wasn't in the fourth inning. (The umpires blew another call. Please label it as evidence No. 463 that the commissioner of baseball needs to conduct a full review of postseason umpire assignments as soon as this World Series is over.)
Not once did the manager accept any blame or responsibility himself. But remember, this is a guy who showed up Brad Ausmus in the 10th inning by throwing a public fit when Ausmus flied out on a pitch when Orlando Palmeiro had second base stolen. And it's the same guy who showed up his entire team by flinging a chair against the dugout wall when Geoff Blum hit his game-breaking home run in the 14th.
Way to show you're in control, skipper.
Remember when the Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle in two close games in the 2000 ALCS? Then-Seattle manager Lou Piniella went to the interview room and promised the series would come back to Seattle. It didn't, but the manager took the focus off his players and at the same time tried to create a sense of confidence for them.
Garner did the exact opposite. He jumped ship. Never can I remember a manager deserting his team with the stakes so high.
This just in, Phil: your team has not hit all season. You finished 11th in a bad National League in runs scored this year. The Arizona Diamondbacks scored more runs than your team. Do not be surprised when your team does not hit against the best pitching staff in the American League. (Actually, Skip, your team is scoring more runs per game in the World Series, 4.66, than it did during the regular season, 3.76.)