CHICAGO — Jarrod Washburn wasn't about to take any chances Wednesday night. When the Angel left-hander came off the U.S. Cellular Field mound after his eighth scoreless inning and saw Manager Mike Scioscia heading toward him in the dugout, Washburn bolted in the opposite direction.
"He had no chance of getting me out of that game," Washburn said. "He tried to come talk to me after the eighth. I ignored him and walked away."
Washburn had been down this path before. He had thrown eight scoreless innings a few times, only to grudgingly hand the ball off to a reliever before he thought his job was done.
But for the first time in his five-year career, Washburn went the distance Wednesday night, throwing a four-hit shutout to lead the Angels to a 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox in front of 21,378.
Washburn's 121-pitch, six-strikeout gem, which came in his 146th career start, was the crowning achievement on a night of Angel milestones that included Garret Anderson's 200th career home run, Jose Guillen's fourth multihomer game and a career-high five runs batted in, and Bengie Molina's sixth-inning triple play, the ninth time in franchise history an Angel has hit into a triple play.
"It was a good day at the ballpark, huh?" Washburn said.
Molina might dispute that, but being on the receiving end of Washburn's shutout, which gave the Angels their second victory in a row and a sense they might be emerging from their five-week funk, must have eased the sting of grounding into a triple play for the catcher.
Washburn delivered what Scioscia called "the best game I've ever seen him pitch." Washburn (9-4) spotted his fastball on both corners and mixed in a nice changeup and split-fingered fastball. He pitched aggressively, getting ahead of most batters. He retired 13 of the last 14 hitters, and only one White Sox runner reached third base.
"A shutout in this park, against this club, with a good right-handed-hitting lineup, is something special," Scioscia said. "It's a great accomplishment. It's a goal of every pitcher to take the ball from start to finish. A shutout is the ultimate."
No pitcher in Angel history had made more starts than Washburn without throwing a shutout.
"I was joking with the guys," Washburn said. "I didn't want to be home 25 years from now, watching the 'Did You Know?' segment on 'SportsCenter,' and see that I was the answer to the question, 'What pitcher had the most career starts without a shutout?' "
That shutout No. 1 came against White Sox left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, one of Washburn's best friends, a teammate for three years in the Angel farm system and five years in the big leagues before a trade sent Schoeneweis from Anaheim to Chicago last July, "was pretty ironic," Washburn said.
That it came in a lopsided victory was hardly a surprise. The Angels scored 112 runs in Washburn's first 16 starts, an average of seven a game, and they had a 6-0 lead in the third inning Wednesday, thanks to Guillen's opposite-field two-run homer off Schoeneweis in the second and his three-run shot to left in the third.
"It was one of those funny days," said Guillen, who was left off the American League All-Star team despite a .301 average, 15 home runs and 63 RBIs. "I felt tired after batting practice and came in to get some treatment on my lower back, which was hurting. It was one of those days where you're lucky. You swing, you make contact, and everything is going your way. I'll take it."
Guillen doubled to deep center field and scored on Tim Salmon's single in the sixth, and Anderson stroked a two-run home run to right off reliever Felix Diaz in the seventh, his seventh homer of the season and 200th of his career.
The usually stoic Anderson didn't put too much stock in his milestone.
"It doesn't mean anything," he said. "I don't think about something that's already been done before."
A fan in the right-field bleachers threw the ball onto the field, and the Angels were able to retrieve it and give it to Anderson, who has no special plans for it. "I'll throw it in the garage with all the rest of them," Anderson said.
Washburn probably won't do the same with his game ball, which will be prominently displayed somewhere in the home he's building in Wisconsin. "Every time I go out there, the goal is to throw a shutout, and I finally did it," Washburn said. "It feels good."