CHICAGO -- The character on this club is amazing and the best I've ever seen.

We just went through a three-day stretch that could have put us at a tremendous disadvantage, but not once did anyone complain. We showed up today and played hard, and it's a testament to the manager and to the players in this room.

We flew out from Anaheim last night and landed at about 6:30 this morning, got our bags about 7 a.m. But guys were laughing and feeling great this morning. We had just beaten the Yankees and now we were about to take on the White Sox in the ALCS.

It was the next round of the playoffs, so it didn't matter what happened before; we had to go out and take care of business, and we did.

Everyone did what they had to last night on the plane. You have to learn how to block out the noise and everybody has their own way of dealing with it: head phones, eyewear.

I don't sleep well, but what I have learned how to do well is sleep in. So I slept 'til about one in the afternoon.

Winning the first game here was huge. We took one at their park and now they'll have to come to our yard with nothing better than a split.

Our place is crazy right now. The crowd is loud and they're into it. They're beating those ThunderStixx and they're having an effect on the opposition and the umpires. The White Sox will have to deal with that and the Rally Monkey.

I wasn't real pleased with the way I threw tonight. I really wanted to give our team seven or eight innings. I felt I owed it to them for the last outing I had and we really needed it. Our bullpen was tired.

But I had no idea that Scot Shields was going to come in and throw 94 mph at the corners. He was fantastic. That was really a boost and he and Frankie [Rodriguez] really picked me up. But that should be no surprise. This team does that all the time.

[Manager] Mike [Scioscia] came out to get me and it was the right decision. I wanted to stay in there -- I felt I had more -- but you could tell I was tired. I wasn't as sharp with my pitches and I wasn't locating.

But we proved once again that we are a team that finds a way to win. I think most people would not have given us a chance in this game with how tired we could have been. But everyone knew how important it was to open with a win, so we were firing on adrenaline.

I know I'm tired and I'm starting to feel it a little bit now, but we had plenty of gas to get us through and it showed.