Angels 5, White Sox 2
CHICAGO (AP)—Maicer Izturis homered and drove in another run before leaving with an injury, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia got ejected after an unusual double play.
At the end of this painful, bizarre day, there was a victory for the Los Angeles Angels.
“All my pitches were working pretty good,” Escobar said. “The biggest thing was getting ahead in the count. You can throw all your pitches with more confidence and get up on the strike zone.”
Former Angel Darin Erstad hit a two-run homer in the third, but Escobar (2-1) held the White Sox in check after that, striking out three and walking one. He left after walking Ryan Sweeney with two out in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez came in and struck out Erstad, then pitched the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances as the Angels took two of three.
Izturis led off the fourth with his first homer of the season and Guerrero followed with his seventh to tie it at 2. And Izturis drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the fifth before leaving with tightness in his right hamstring. Erick Aybar replaced him at second base in the bottom of the inning.
In his second start since his no-hitter against Texas, Mark Buehrle (2-1) allowed nine hits over six-plus innings, walked one batter intentionally and tied a season high with eight strikeouts.
He left with runners on first and third and none out in the seventh after Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr. singled. David Aardsma came in, and Orlando Cabrera lifted a fly toward the left-field line. Ryan Sweeney made a diving catch and Willits broke for home—too soon, apparently. What looked like a sacrifice fly turned into a double play when Joe Crede took the throw from Sweeney and stepped on third.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued vehemently, got ejected by plate umpire Adam Dowd and came out of the dugout to argue some more before leaving.
“Reggie’s body was in motion, but his foot was in contact with the bag,” Scioscia said. “You’ve got to be 1,000 percent sure he left early to make that call. … Fortunately, we were able to absorb it, but at the time, it’s a big play. I didn’t think there was any way he left early, and I don’t believe he did.”
Willits said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was yelling and Aardsma was pointing at third as he crossed home. The call caught Willits off guard.
“It was a weird play all around because of where the ball was hit,” Willits said. “It’s not where you can just look with your eyes. I had to turn my whole upper body. I haven’t seen a replay, but I’m guessing that’s what he saw—my upper body move.”
Erstad, who was 4-for-8 in the first two games, gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead with two out in the third when he drove a 3-2 pitch to the seats in right, just beyond the Bullpen Sports Bar. It was his second homer, and the way Buehrle was pitching, that looked like enough.
Instead, Izturis and Guerrero helped the Angels tie it in the fourth. It was the second time the Angels hit consecutive home runs this season.
“When we get two runs against a guy like Escobar and then I go and give it right back up, it’s kind of uncalled for,” said Buehrle, who struck out five in the first two innings. “The first couple innings, I couldn’t hit a spot and I was getting them out. The last couple innings, they got some cheap base hits and broke things open.”
Buehrle ran into trouble again in the fifth, after striking out the first two batters. This time, Cabrera singled, stole second and came around on Izturis’ single to center to make it 3-2.
Erstad’s homer aside, the White Sox got nothing going against Escobar. They started the day tied for last in the majors with a .229 average after the Angels’ Jered Weaver and three relievers combined to beat them 3-0 Saturday— Chicago’s second shutout loss.
And after Sunday’s game, manager Ozzie Guillen lamented “another wasted good pitching” effort.
“The hardest thing in baseball is to pitch and pitch well,” he said. “And we’re wasting good pitching. Those guys are going out and pitching well and we’re not helping them. The hitters know. They’re frustrated.”
Scioscia said the Angels will activate infielder Chone Figgins, who broke two fingers in his right hand during spring training, on Monday. They sent third baseman Brandon Wood to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game. … A sore right hip kept LF Garret Anderson out of his second straight game, but Scioscia is optimistic that Anderson will avoid the disabled list. … The White Sox sent OF Brian Anderson to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.