CHICAGO — The Angels have taken pride all season in their resiliency, their ability to bounce back from crushing defeats, but they're getting far too much practice at it lately.
In fact, if the Angels are to reach the playoffs, a goal that grew even more elusive with Sunday's emotionally draining 13-12 loss to the Chicago White Sox before 22,020 in Comiskey Park, they may have to lead the American League in rebounds.
The Angels hit five home runs Sunday, including Troy Glaus' franchise record-setting 40th of the season to break Reggie Jackson's 1982 mark of 39, and still lost.
Starter Ramon Ortiz was bombed for nine runs in the first inning, and the Angels were still in position to win, erasing a 9-4 deficit to take an 11-9 lead in the sixth on Tim Salmon's three-run home run and Glaus' solo shot.
But Chicago designated hitter Frank Thomas, who doubled twice and knocked in three runs in the first inning, homered in the sixth, and after Darin Erstad hit his second homer of the game in the top of the seventh, the White Sox scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning to make it 12-11.
Carlos Lee then doubled with one out in the eighth, Herbert Perry lined an RBI triple to right to tie the score, and Paul Konerko lifted a sacrifice fly to right off Angel reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa for the go-ahead run.
White Sox closer Keith Foulke retired the side in order in the ninth for his 27th save, striking out Erstad to end it. Erstad slammed his bat to the ground and cursed into the air, his final act punctuating the Angels' frustration.
That completed a three-game series sweep for the White Sox, who erased a six-run deficit in the seventh inning to win Friday night, and pushed the Angels six games behind Seattle in the West and 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the wild-card race.
"These games do take a lot out of you, but look at how we're battling," Salmon said. "No one expected us to be here. We're just going to battle until the end. If it happens, great. We have an opportunity, so let's make the most of it."
That window of opportunity will close quickly if the Angels don't get better pitching. They've given up 46 runs in their last four games, all losses, and their four-run outburst in the first, which included Erstad's 12th career leadoff homer and Garret Anderson's two-run double, was wiped out by Ortiz's inability to get out of the first.
"We need to get the pitching down the stretch to match the offense we're getting," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Ortiz didn't get into any rhythm at all today. I didn't see the aggressiveness I've seen from him before."
White Sox leadoff batter Ray Durham had two hits and two runs in the first, and Chicago scored six of the runs with two outs.
Thomas capped the rally by crushing a two-run double over the head of Anderson in center. Scioscia finally came to the mound to fetch Ortiz and bring the carnage to an end, and reliever Al Levine got Magglio Ordonez on a fly to left to end an inning that dragged on for 46 minutes.
"I have eight guys behind me playing defense, and they caught the ball only twice," Ortiz said. "I was saying, 'Oh my God, what's going on here?' Everything I threw was hit pretty well. It was one of those games."
The Angels did not fold, though. Scott Spiezio sparked the comeback when he followed walks to Anderson and Glaus in the third with a three-run home run to center off White Sox starter James Baldwin, pulling the Angels to within 9-7.
Salmon then followed walks to Kevin Stocker and Mo Vaughn in the sixth with a three-run homer to center off reliever Matt Ginter to give the Angels a 10-9 lead. After Anderson's groundout, Glaus lofted a fly ball over the right-field wall for his record-setting homer and an 11-9 lead.
The White Sox pulled to within 12-11 in the bottom of the seventh, an inning that included Glaus' throwing error and his inability to squeeze pinch-hitter Harold Baines' foul popup as he reached over the railing in front of the camera well.
But it also included a run-saving play by left fielder Orlando Palmeiro, who short-hopped Durham's liner with runners on first and second and threw to second in time to force Josh Paul.
That prevented the White Sox from loading the bases for Jose Valentin, whose single to right scored one run instead of two. Hasegawa got Thomas to fly to the warning track in left on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning, but the ultra-reliable right-hander suffered his second loss in three games in the eighth.
Glaus Can't Enjoy Record
A bitter weekend in Chicago kept Troy Glaus from celebrating passing Reggie Jackson with his 40th home run for the Angel single-season record. Page 11