White Sox 5, Angels 4

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CHICAGO (AP)—The Big Hurt returned and promptly got hurt again.

In his first appearance in the major leagues since breaking a bone in his left ankle last July 6, Frank Thomas strained a hip flexor and left in the seventh inning Monday as the Chicago White Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-4.

Thomas, who went 0-for-2 with a walk, said his latest injury wasn’t serious.

“I just felt a little twinge in the hip flexor,” he said. “It was just one of those things you don’t want to get out of hand by hitting a line drive and having to leg it out. It’s a day-by-day situation, and I’m feeling good. I didn’t want to go out on the first day and be down for two weeks.”

Thomas, batting third as the designated hitter, had hit just .190 in 11 games during a minor league rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Charlotte. He received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 38,685 in the first inning, his first plate appearance since surgery last Oct. 6.

“That brought a tear to my eye,” Thomas said. “The fans showed me how much they care and that was big for me.”

Thomas popped out in the first, walked and scored in the third and lined out to left in the fifth.

Timo Perez, just 5-foot-9, replaced the 6-5 Thomas in the seventh and hit a two-run single in the ninth that won the game for Chicago.

Perez helped the White Sox snap a three-game losing streak with his hit down the left-field line off Scot Shields (4-2), who blew a save for the second time in nine chances this season.

“It was a good swing and I put it in left field,” Perez said. “It was a great comeback, a good game.”

With the Angels ahead 4-3, pinch-hitter Willie Harris walked to lead off the ninth and stole second, and Joe Crede also walked. Scott Podsednik sacrificed, and pinch-hitter Carl Everett struck out, bringing up Perez.

“I couldn’t throw strikes early,” Shields said. “That’s gotten me in trouble in the past, and lately I needed to cut down on the walks and start throwing a lot more strikes. Walking the leadoff hitter hurts, especially when you walk the first two in a one-run game.”

Chicago led 3-2 heading into the ninth behind Mark Buehrle, who was trying to win his seventh straight decision.

Buehrle left with one out after giving up singles to Bengie Molina and Jose Molina and was replaced by Damaso Marte. Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi mishandled Dallas McPherson’s grounder for an error that loaded the bases. Robb Quinlan hit a tying single and Chone Figgins walked, forcing home the go-ahead run.

Marte struck out Steve Finley, and Cliff Politte (1-0) got Orlando Cabrera to fly out.

“I was really disappointed about today’s game, because Mark Buehrle deserved better,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He pitched the way he’s always pitched and we had a great opportunity to score a lot of runs.”

Buehrle, 6-0 in nine starts since losing April 10 at Minnesota, allowed four runs and nine hits in 8 1-3 innings.

“I was kind of surprised I went back out there in the ninth inning (after) facing these guys nine innings the last game,” he said, referring to his one-run, four-hit performance in a no-decision last week.

Steve Finley had a homer and double in going 3-for-5. Angels starter Jarrod Washburn pitched six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks. Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth.

Chicago loaded the bases with none out in the second, but took only a 1-0 lead on Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly. The White Sox loaded the bases again with no outs in the third after Podsednik’s single and walks to Iguchi and Thomas.

Paul Konerko grounded into a double play, but Aaron Rowand hit two-run double. Finley homered to lead off the fourth to cut it to 3-1.

Chris Widger, Uribe and Podsednik singled in the bottom of the inning, but the White Sox failed to score when Widger was thrown out at the plate by Finley from center with two outs.

The Angels cut it to 3-2 in the sixth when Finley doubled and scored on Cabrera’s single.

Notes

Chicago exercised Guillen’s 2006 option and added two additional guaranteed years and an option for 2009. … The White Sox opened a roster spot for Thomas by optioning RHP Brandon McCarthy to Charlotte. … The White sox honored former SS Chico Carrasquel with a pregame ceremony. Carrasquel, 77, who played for the White Sox from 1950-55, died at his home in Venezuela last Thursday. He was the first Latin American All-Star in major league history.

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