Angels beat White Sox; AL Central lead down to half-game

Associated Press
9/23/2012 1:31:54 AM
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Two straight wins have the Los Angeles Angels still in the thick of the playoff race.

Four consecutive losses haven't derailed the Chicago White Sox's chances either.

Dan Haren earned his first win at home in more than a month, Mark Trumbo capped a four-run first inning with a two-run single and the Angels won 4-2 on Saturday night, trimming Chicago's AL Central lead to a half-game over Detroit.

"We're really positive," Haren said. "It's really a testament to the leaders on the team. Torii (Hunter) has gotten his point across that we're not going to give up until we're eliminated or we win."

Haren (12-11) allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings, struck out four and walked one for his first win in Anaheim since beating Tampa Bay on July 27. He had been 0-3 with an 8.77 ERA in three home starts since then.

"Two double plays were big," Haren said, crediting the defence. "For the most part I was keeping the ball down. That's a really good lineup."

Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth to earn his 20th save in 23 chances after giving up a go-ahead home run in each of his previous two outings.

"Ernie had a couple of rough outings and tonight he found another gear," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The Angels have won six of nine and are 2 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card. They moved to a season-high 14 games over .500.

"Every guy has a ton of fight left in them and that's really what you want," Trumbo said.

Jose Quintana (6-5) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, struck out three and walked five for the White Sox, who have scored just 10 runs in their past five games. Chicago struck out 12 times in a 6-2 loss in the series opener Friday.

"This is baseball and guys should be having fun doing it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was ejected in the fourth.

"There's stress and stuff like that because you want to win games, but we'd rather be doing this than trying to ruin somebody else's post-season chances."

Ventura was tossed by first base umpire Ed Hickox for arguing a balk called on Quintana with the White Sox trailing 4-1. The Angels had runners at the corners with none out when Quintana made an attempted pickoff throw to first baseman Paul Konerko, who was playing way off the bag against the right-handed hitting Mike Trout. Quintana led Konerko to the bag with his throw, and was called for his second balk of the season.

"I don't even know exactly how that went about because it was a designed play, so I was a little surprised that the balk was called," Quintana said through a translator. "I still don't understand it. I would have to look at the video. But it's a play that we have. It's not one that we've tried all the time, but we definitely practiced it in spring training."

Hickox told a pool reporter that Quintana didn't throw directly to first base, but 8 to 10 feet toward second baseman Gordon Beckham.

"Konerko was not breaking until after the pitcher threw the ball and then he was just trying to catch the ball. So in my judgment, there was no attempt to retire the runner," the umpire said. "My view and my judgment is that Konerko just went to try to catch the ball from going down the line."

The Angels failed to score in that inning after loading the bases.

They tied a season high with four runs in the first. Albert Pujols' ground-rule double -- the 500th of his career -- scored Trout, who walked. Hunter added an RBI single before Trumbo's two-run single with two outs made it 4-0.

Chicago's first run came on Konerko's 24th homer leading off the second. They added another run on pinch-hitter DeWayne Wise's groundout to second off Garrett Richards.

NOTES: Pujols became the 19th player in major league history to record at least 500 doubles and 400 homers in his career. His 45 doubles are the most since he had that many in 2009. ... The White Sox have hit a major league-leading 94 homers since the All-Star break. ... It was Chicago's fourth losing streak of four or more games this season. ... It was Ventura's fourth ejection in his first year as a manager. His last was on Aug. 25 against Seattle. ... Konerko's homer was the first extra-base hit of his career against Haren, who had previously given up six singles to Konerko.

A.J. Pierzynski White Sox (Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)


(Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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