CHICAGO — Carl Crawford's night couldn't have ended any better, the longest-serving Ray drenched in beer and champagne talking in borderline disbelief about playing for the AL championship.
And it couldn't have started any worse as he was struck on the side of the face by Dioner Navarro's bat during pregame warmups, was doubled over and bleeding, then rushed into the clubhouse for medical attention.
"Navi accidentally hit me, but he just got me in the lip," Crawford said. "It wasn't going to do anything about the way I played. I was spitting up blood on the field. It's just one of those things."
And for Crawford, it was another thing in his interesting season, as he missed seven weeks with a tendon injury to his right hand that required surgery, then made an unexpected return for the AL Division Series.
"I can't put into words what it means to be here right now," Crawford said. "I didn't even think I'd be playing now and was just happy to be back in the lineup."
PRAISE FROM THEIR BOSS: White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who once considered moving his team to St. Petersburg and was on the expansion committee that awarded the Tampa Bay franchise, said he was glad to see the Rays doing well.
"They were patient and they went about it the right way," Reinsdorf said. "Vince (Naimoli, former managing general partner) initially went after some of the higher-priced guys, but once they settled down and started building a farm system and developing players, it was just a matter of time.
"I'm shocked at what happened this year, but I did think they were going to be an over .500 team this year."
GAMESMANSHIP WITHIN THE GAME: Manager Joe Maddon suggested before Monday's game some impropriety on the part of the White Sox.
He questioned whether Sox hitters might be "peeking in" at Navarro's pitch-calling or otherwise stealing their signs since they twice stole bases Sunday on curveballs, a pitch Matt Garza doesn't throw that often. "Just curious," Maddon said. "Everybody's entitled to steal signs, that's how the game works."'
Then Maddon said it was "not right" and "pretty weak" for Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski to stick out his bat in an attempt to hinder Navarro's throw on a stolen base. "He shouldn't do that; it's inappropriate," he said.
EVAN NOT SO MIGHTY: After his smashing 3-for-3, two-homer start, rookie 3B Evan Longoria went just 1-for-12 with six strikeouts in the series. "Just take it all in stride," he said. "If they want to pitch around me, pitch around me. When I get the ones I need to hit, I've got to hit them. Just make all the plays on defense and do everything right to help the club win."
MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton is the fourth player this postseason to hit two homers in a game, joining the Angels' Mike Napoli, the Phillies' Pat Burrell and Longoria. … RHP Troy Percival was to throw again in an instructional league game Monday with hopes of returning for the next round. … Maddon said Sunday's Angels' extra-inning win over the Red Sox looked to him "kinda like one of our games; I kinda liked it."