Angels 5, White Sox 1
Shields, solid in the bullpen before Appier was released July 30, got his first win since rejoining the starting rotation as the Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1.
Helped by Tim Salmon’s homer, Shields (3-3) worked a career-high 7 2-3 innings, allowing a run and four hits. It was his second win in six career starts, and his first in three outings since he was put back into the rotation.
“Scott is really the guy who forced this opportunity by pitching so well in relief,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “When you release a guy like Kevin Appier, you know you’re replacing him with a guy you have a lot of confidence in. Scot has the stuff, but we’re going to see if he can maintain it and be a starter. That’s why he’s in the rotation now.”
The right-hander struck out five, walked none and allowed only two hits through the first seven innings.
“That’s probably the best I’ve located my off-speed pitch all year,” Shields said. “I was able to get ahead and do what I wanted from there. I had some strikeouts early in the game, but then they started realizing that I was throwing strikes and they started putting the bat on the ball—but hitting it right at guys.”
Scott Spiezio drove in two runs for the Angels, who took three of four from Chicago. The loss dropped the White Sox two games behind Kansas City in the AL Central race.
“Their pitching staff is very good, but we just didn’t find a way to score any runs or get any momentum at all,” Frank Thomas said. “We’ve got offense. We just didn’t show up the last four days.
“To put a rush on the division, we’ve got to find a way to get it going every night,” Thomas added. “We lost more ground tonight, and that’s not good.”
Thomas led off the fourth with a double, but Shields retired his next 11 batters. Brian Daubach broke the string in the eighth with a leadoff single, ending an 0-for-23 drought.
“Shields was tough,” Thomas said. “This was the first time I’ve seen him as a starter. He throws hard, and his ball is constantly moving. He breaks a lot of bats and he works ahead in the count, and you’re going to be successful doing that.”
The White Sox threatened again in the ninth when Brendan Donnelly gave up a two-out double to Magglio Ordonez and a walk to Carl Everett. But Troy Percival relieved, getting the final out when Daubach flied out to the warning track in center field. It was Percival’s 25th save in 26 chances.
The Angels scored a run in each of the first three innings against Jon Garland (8-9), who lost consecutive starts for the first time since May 8-17. Garland allowed four runs—three earned—and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Spiezio singled home the first run after a walk to Jeff DaVanon and a two-out single by Salmon. Adam Kennedy drew a leadoff walk in the second, advanced on Miguel Olivo’s passed ball and scored on a hard-bouncing single over Garland’s glove.
Salmon made it 3-0 with his 16th homer, which gave him five hits in his first seven career at-bats against Garland.
“The pitch to Salmon was my one mistake of the night,” Garland said. “Salmon’s a good hitter and he knew what to do with it. I was making goodpitches, but I had a lot of bad luck.”
Roberto Alomar was 1-for-18 with one RBI and five strikeouts in the series. He entered it hitting .300 in his first 28 games with Chicago since being traded from the New York Mets on July 1. … Olivo’s passed ball was the ninth by White Sox catchers, equaling last season’s total. … The White Sox are 5-30 on the West Coast since the start of last season. They have not won any series in Anaheim, Oakland or Seattle since August 28-30, 2000, when theytook two of three against the Athletics.