Angels 2, White Sox 1
Salmon hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning, and Washburn pitched 6 2-3 strong innings as the defending World Series champions beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 Wednesday night.
Buehrle (10-12) gave up hits to all three batters he faced in the eighth. Singles by Alfredo Amezaga and Garret Anderson put runners at the corners, and Salmon lined the left-hander’s 98th and last pitch to the wall in right-center.
“I felt fine. I really did,” said Buehrle, who was 8-1 in his previous 11 starts. “I made some good pitches. The first guy bunted, then Anderson pulled a cutter away, and the sinker to Salmon was pretty far outside when he hit it. They just came up hacking in that inning.”
The Angels’ pivotal double play occurred in the eighth, after third baseman Scott Spiezio fielded Tony Graffanino’s sacrifice up the third base line. Second baseman Adam Kennedy took the throw at first, barely keeping his foot on the bag on Spiezio’s wide throw, then threw to third—where shortstop Amezaga tagged out Jose Valentin.
“It was actually pretty smart play by Valentin,” Kennedy said. “He saw Spiez make a tough play and me on the ground, so why not give it a shot? It took a perfect throw.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the double play was actually a busted play. Catcher Bengie Molina was supposed to cover third—not Amezaga.
“We actually had a little breakdown on that play,” Scioscia said. “But Alfredo ran in and got to third base, beat Valentin to the bag in a foot race and made the play. For a young player to do that, that’s a great sign.
“But you’ve also got to give Adam Kennedy a ton of credit. To keep his foot on the bag to make the out at first base, then recover and hit a moving target like Alfredo in time for him to make the tag, it was just an incredible play.”
Washburn, trying to win consecutive starts for the first time since June 4, allowed a run and four hits and was lifted after 107 pitches with the score tied at 1. The left-hander, who has allowed 27 homers this year, has not given one up in 27 innings over his last four starts—his longest such streak of the season.
Buehrle, coming off his second complete-game victory of the season, allowed two runs and 10 hits over seven-plus innings.
The last time he started against the Angels, Washburn beat him 6-1 on May 19 of last season. This was Buehrle’s first outing in Anaheim since Aug. 8, 2001, when he beat Washburn 15-1 with a four-hitter.
“It was the kind of battle you expect with two guys like us. And I don’t think we disappointed,” Washburn said. “I wish I had a little left in the tank at the end. I don’t think there have been three times in my career that I said, `Yeah, I’m done.’ But tonight I said that. I thought we had a better chance with Frankie coming in, because I had nothing left.”
Chicago center fielder Aaron Rowand kept three runs off the board in the second inning. He robbed Molina of a two-run homer in left-center, then charged a two-out single by Shawn Wooten and made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate to retire Spiezio. Sandy Alomar Jr. blocked the plate perfectly and made the tag while on the seat of his pants.
Rowand and Alomar opened the third with singles, and Rowand scored the game’s first run on Roberto Alomar’s groundout after Graffanino bunted the runners over.
The bottom of the Angels’ lineup tied the score in the fifth, as Eric Owens,Wooten and Kennedy singled with no one out.
After the game, the Angels optioned RHP Bart Miadich to Triple-A Salt Lake. They will select the contract of INF Adam Riggs from Salt Lake on Thursday. … Rowand was the victim of a spectacular play in the fifth, when Spiezio dove toward the third base line to grab his bid for a double and threw him out. … The Angels, whose average attendance through their first 62 home dates is 37,609, have to average 35,170 in their remaining 19 games at Edison Field to reach the 3 million mark for the first time in their 43-year history. The club record was 2,807,360 in 1982, when the ballpark seated 65,158. It now has a capacity of 45,030. … The last home run against Washburn came on July 23 at Texas, when Shane Spencer chased him with a three-run shot. Washburn surrendered at least one homer in nine consecutive starts before this droughtbegan.