But "after seven curtain calls, it was no big deal," Konerko said after the White Sox gave a zealous sellout crowd of 40,717 a wide spectrum of achievements to relish in a 14-2 humbling of defending World Series champion Boston in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series at toasty U.S. Cellular Field.
"Wow," Crede said.
The White Sox won their first postseason home game since Game 1 of the 1959 World Series with relentless hitting. They doubled their entire run total from their last postseason appearance, a three-game sweep by Seattle in the 2000 division series.
They also outslugged the AL's top hitting team with five home runs, ranging from Konerko's solo shot in the third inning to Scott Podsednik's three-run shot in the sixth that capped a four-run inning and was Podsednik's first homer since Sept. 30, 2004, at St. Louis.
The five home runs, including two from A.J. Pierzynski and a two-run shot by Juan Uribe in the fourth, tied a division series record set last year by St. Louis.
That was more than enough support for Jose Contreras, who extended his impressive post-All-Star run by limiting Boston's formidable lineup to two runs over 72/3 innings.
"Everyone is focusing on 14 runs," Konerko said. "I'm focusing on two runs. That's the difference."
Contreras limited the hard-hitting twosome of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to two hits in eight at-bats and kept leadoff batter Johnny Damon hitless in four at-bats.
"I think he exorcised all the demons," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said after Contreras became the first White Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez in 1993 to win a playoff game.
Contreras was 2-4 lifetime with an 11.67 ERA against Boston entering Tuesday's game but pitched up to his 11-2 second-half record by keeping Boston's hitters off balance with a Bruce Sutter-like split-finger fastball to complement his 94-m.p.h. fastball.
Contreras didn't walk a batter and threw 70 of his 100 pitches for strikes. He should be reasonably fresh to start Game 5 if the series goes the distance.
"He was tremendous," Cooper said. "By beating the Red Sox, the slate is all clear for him. He knows where he's at and what he's doing as far as the run he's on and the confidence he's got."
The White Sox feel the same way about their once-struggling offense that took advantage of Matt Clement's lack of command.
They "small-balled" their way to two first-inning runs, utilizing two hit batsmen, a sacrifice, a stolen base and two singles. Pierzynski's three-run homer capped the five-run inning, the largest postseason outburst by a White Sox team since the third inning of Game 1 of the '59 World Series, when the White Sox scored seven runs.
"If this team has a weakness, it's not the lack of talent," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "It's a lack of discipline. I'm happy for them. They did well.
"I saw it in their eyes the last two days. They seemed more focused about what they wanted to accomplish. If we're disciplined and we get a pitch in the strike zone, we're a pretty good hitting team."
Perhaps it was a tribute to the Sox's discipline and Contreras' control that the White Sox drew more walks than Boston3-0even though the Red Sox led the AL in walks while the White Sox ranked 11th.