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Angels hope win vs. White Sox will ignite streak

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox found themselves in similar situations on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Off to frustrating starts, both came into a three-game weekend series hoping to spark a hot streak by winning for a second straight time. The Angels got the job done with a 7-5 victory backed by 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and an offensive outburst that featured 11 hits.

"You have to put together the parts of a game to build momentum," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You've got to create your own momentum and start every game. On the offensive side, we're still leaving too many guys on base, but we scored seven runs. On the pitching side, even though it wasn't perfect we held the lead. Those are the components you need to start to build momentum (in a season)."

After starter Barry Enright was roughed up for four runs in the White Sox fourth, the Angels bullpen took over and shut the door the rest of the way. Mark Lowe stranded runners at the corners to end the fourth and threw 1 2/3 innings before Michael Kohn (1-0) tossed a scoreless inning to get credit for the win.

Dane De La Rosa tacked on two more scoreless innings of relief and Ernesto Frieri closed it out in the ninth for his sixth save.

"The length that we needed plus the effectiveness, those guys stepped up big," Scioscia said. "I think we had about as good a performance as you could expect. We got a lead and we held it."

That was after blowing a four-run lead when Enright was still on the mound. Powered by the inspiring bullpen performances, the Angels (13-22) eventually surged back ahead for good, 7-5, in the seventh -- scoring twice off two hits and Conor Gillaspie's error that ignited the rally.

The flub on a grounder to third put Hank Conger on first with no outs and continued a disturbing trend for Chicago (14-19), which came into the game with 22 errors -- tied with the Angels for fourth-highest total in the American League.

After committing two more errors, the White Sox surpassed Los Angeles and further frustrated their manager, Robin Ventura.

"It's almost starting to be almost like a broken record," he said. "Anytime you're giving a lineup like (theirs) extra chances, it doesn't work. It just doesn't work."

Mike Trout's RBI single brought home Conger with the eventual winning run in the seventh, and J.B. Shuck scored from third off a passed ball to make it 7-5.

It was the first time the Angels had won two games in a row since sweeping the Detroit Tigers from April 19-21 in a three-game series, which they're hoping is the start of something positive.

"They're all important," said Angels shortstop Brendan Harris, who went 3-for-4 with his second home run in as many nights and two runs scored. "If we can get a few (wins) in a row and just get a little momentum, let everybody kind of exhale a little bit it lends itself to everybody really getting on a roll as we get into May."

Dylan Axelrod (0-3) started and took the loss for the White Sox, despite bouncing back from a four-run third to keep the Angels off the scoreboard after his teammates battled back to tie it 5-5 with the four-run fourth.

Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-4 and led the game off for Chicago with a solo home run. Left fielder Dayan Viciedo went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in his first game back from a stint on the disabled list because of an oblique strain.

Aside from Harris' big game, Trout went 2-for-5 to lead an offensive outburst that featured eight of nine Los Angeles hitters getting at least one hit.

The Angels got to Axelrod in the third for a 4-1 lead by scoring four runs on five hits and an error on Albert Pujols' double to left center that scored Trout and Harris. Conger, who doubled to lead off the inning, also scored on Shuck's sacrifice fly to right center -- which nearly went for extra bases if not for a great running catch at the fence by Alex Rios.

Harris added his homer with two out in the fourth off Axelrod, his third of the season, but Chicago got to Enright in the fourth. Viciedo's two-run double highlighted that inning, scoring Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko, and the Sox also got a clutch two-out, RBI single by Tyler Flowers that tied the game.

"The whole game, I felt really good," said Axelrod, who gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings. "It's just an unfortunate thing that they got some runs in the third. That's the frustrating part, where you feel great out there and still give up some runs."

Enright, a reliever by trade, made the start in place of rotation regular Tommy Hanson, who was scratched from the start and placed on the restricted list Friday afternoon while dealing with a death in the family. Enright looked good early but two key walks led to his undoing in the fourth, while trying to protect a 5-1 lead.

NOTES: Viciedo started in left field after being sidelined April 20 in Toronto with a left oblique strain. Outfielder Jordan Danks was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to make room on the 25-man roster. ... Second baseman Gordon Beckham (fractured left hand) took 100 swings off a tee before Friday night's game and said it went well. Beckham hopes to get sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment within a week and potentially return to the Sox lineup in a couple of weeks if all goes well. ... Ventura is tiring of his team's habit of poor fielding this season. "It's getting better as far as attention to detail, but the small things, I think, are very important and they have to understand that I think it's very important." ... Angels manager Scioscia spent much of his pregame session with reporters talking about the incident from Thursday night's game in Houston, in which the Astros were illegally allowed to use a relief pitcher. Major League Baseball suspended the crew chief, Fieldin Culbreth, for two games and the Angels' protest was rescinded because Los Angeles won the game. "We don't have to make too much of this. I don't think there's an apology necessary," Scioscia said. "It's just an isolated, unfortunate incident as far as application of the rules. ... but that's done." ... Left-hander Scott Downs (foot) and SS Erick Aybar (hamstring) both left Thursday's game in Houston with injuries, but aren't expected to be placed on the disabled list for the Angels.
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