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Iguchi does bit of everything in Game 3

Iguchi does a little bit of everything in Game 3

ANAHEIM -- On more than one occasion this season, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has called Tadahito Iguchi the team's Most Valuable Player.

In Friday's 5-2 victory in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Angels, Iguchi showed why.

If the second baseman can't do it all, he sure comes close.

"I can't say enough good things about Iguchi," White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik said. "He does it with the bat, he does it in the field. I can't think of a word for what he means to us offensively. The guy can handle a bat and he can pretty much do anything he wants with a bat."

Iguchi finished 2-for-4, including a double. His two strikeouts will likely be forgotten. His sacrifice bunt in the first inning that moved Podsednik into scoring position will not. Jermaine Dye followed with a double that scored Podsednik to put the White Sox ahead, 1-0. Paul Konerko hit a two-run home run in the frame to give Chicago a lead it would not relinquish.

"Today was a normal day," Iguchi said through his translator. "I am very happy my manager is happy with the way I have played. My role for the team is connecting and pushing along Scotty. There is room for improvement."

In his second at-bat, Iguchi hit a single through the hole at shortstop. He eventually scored his first of two runs in the game on a single to left field by Carl Everett to extend the White Sox lead to 4-0. In the fifth, he hit a one-out double and scored the White Sox fifth run on Konerko's single to center field.

Iguchi struck out to end the seventh inning.

"Iguchi was a three-hole hitter when he was in Japan who drove in runs," Everett said. "He was not a guy who sacrificed himself, but that's what the team has asked him to do and he has come over here and did his part. That's the way [it is with] this team. Do your part and don't worry about the other guys job."

The infielder also shined on defense.

With the White Sox leading, 3-0, in the bottom of the third inning, Angels first baseman Darin Erstad hit a ball to the right field corner with two outs to set off a chain of events that would leave Dye, Iguchi, and third baseman Joe Crede with smiles on their faces.

On the play, Dye picked up the ball in right field and fired it to Iguchi with Erstad on the run. Erstad had already rounded second base when Iguchi caught the relay and threw a perfect strike to Crede in time to tag Erstad and end the inning.

An inspired Jon Garland retired the next five batters before giving up an infield single to Vladimir Guerrero. Garland went on to sit down the next five batters in order until an Adam Kennedy single in the sixth snapped the streak. One out later, Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run home run, but the Angels would not score again.

"What I did was normal," Iguchi said. "It was a normal play."

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

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