Angels win second straight, top White Sox 6-2

Joe Haakenson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A two-game winning streak typically isn't something to get excited about, but when you're the Los Angeles Angels these days, any victory is a big one.
Jason Vargas threw seven scoreless innings, and the Angels made the most of their seven hits on the way to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
The victory marked only the fourth time all season the Angels have won as many as two in a row, and the last time they did it at home was a month ago (April 19-21), when they swept three from the Tigers.
"There's no doubt we're going to get better as the season moves on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And not only the season, but this month, we've got a lot of things on the horizon that's going to make us deeper in important areas. In the meanwhile, we need to do what we did today. Get leads and hold them and win games. It felt good to do that."
Injuries to the pitching staff have hurt the Angels, but key pitchers -- Jered Weaver and Sean Burnett in particular -- are getting close to returning. In the meantime, the Angels need more performances like the one Vargas gave them Sunday.
Vargas (3-3) allowed only four hits -- all singles -- while striking out six and walking three. The White Sox managed to get a runner into scoring position only twice against Vargas, who is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his past four starts.
"It's just being able to execute, sometimes they hit 'em and sometimes they don't," Vargas said. "I think just being able to get ahead with the fastball early (was key). They really weren't swinging at a whole lot of off-speed pitches. Just trying to get ahead and stay ahead."
The Angels had only seven hits themselves, four against White Sox starter Jake Peavy (5-2). The big hits were Erick Aybar's two-run double off Peavy in the third inning that gave the Angels a 2-0 lead, and Howie Kendrick's two-run double in the eighth that gave the Angels some breathing room.
In between, Chris Iannetta, who walked four times in Saturday's game, drew two more walks on Sunday, including one with the bases loaded in the fourth inning that gave the Angels a 3-0 lead. Aybar's bases-loaded walk later in the fourth made it 4-0.
"It wasn't like his velocity was down, he looked strong," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Peavy. "He might have had some stuff flatten out when normally he has a little sink to it. But again, it is uncharacteristic. It's just one of those days."
Dane De La Rosa relieved Vargas to start the eighth inning but gave up an RBI double to Alex Rios, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Lefty Scott Downs came in to face one batter -- left-handed hitting Adam Dunn -- and struck him out. Ernesto Frieri gave up a run in the ninth but got the final four outs for his ninth save.
Jeff Keppinger had two hits for the White Sox, who still managed to have a winning road trip (4-3) despite losing the last two games of the series to the Angels.
"It was good to see the offense getting going a little bit," Ventura said of the trip. "You take what you can get. You want to get one of these last two, but you just keep going."
NOTES: Angels' infielder Chris Nelson was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, one day after the Angels claimed him off waivers from the Yankees. Nelson began the season as the opening day starter for the Colorado Rockies before being traded to the Yankees. In 31 games for the Rockies and Yankees, Nelson hit .235 (24 for 102). To make room on the roster for Nelson, the Angels optioned infielder Luis Jimenez to Salt Lake. ... Angels LHP Sean Burnett (forearm) felt fine Sunday one day after he gave up one run in one inning of a rehab appearance for the Class A Inland Empire 66ers. Burnett is expected to be activated later this week, possibly as early as Tuesday. ... Dunn was in the starting lineup Sunday, one day after coming out of the game because of back spasms. Dunn was stretching in the on-deck circle in the fourth inning of Saturday's game when his back tightened up. ... White Sox INF Gordon Beckham (fractured bone in left hand) went 2-for-4 with three runs scored Saturday in his first rehab game for Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday. He had three more hits in a rehab game on Sunday. Beckham has been on the disabled list since April 10.

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