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Angels can't fight the power in loss

White Sox shrug off injury to slugger Quentin to hit three home runs, two by Uribe, and win, 10-2.

September 06, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The Angels' magic number to clinch the American League West championship was reduced to five Friday night, thanks in no part to the Angels.

Despite a clunker of a 10-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, the Angels moved closer to their fourth division title in five years because the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers, their closest pursuers, who remained 17 games back.

A Chicago club that leads the AL Central but lost Carlos Quentin, the league's home run leader, to a fractured wrist earlier Friday showed it still has plenty of pop, racking up 15 hits, including three homers, two by No. 9 hitter Juan Uribe.

White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who had a career 1-5 record and 4.76 earned-run average against the Angels, gave up three hits in six shutout innings for his first win over the Angels since Aug. 8, 2001.

Angels right-hander Dustin Moseley, filling in for injured starter Jered Weaver, lasted only 1 1/3 innings, getting roughed up for four runs and six hits, and both runners he walked eventually scored.

"I was just behind in the counts with my fastball," Moseley said. "That wasn't the start I was looking for, not at all."

The ball did not bounce the Angels' way -- literally.

With two on and two outs in the first inning, Chicago's Paul Konerko chopped a grounder toward third that hit the lip of the grass in foul territory, about two feet outside the line, and kicked fair for a single. Ken Griffey Jr. followed with a two-run single.

"I've never seen a ball bounce like that," third baseman Robb Quinlan said. "If it didn't hit the lip, it might have rolled over by their dugout.

"It hit the perfect spot. Sometimes, that's how it goes."

After Moseley walked Nick Swisher to open the second, Manager Mike Scioscia -- not pitching coach Mike Butcher -- came to the mound.

"I was trying to reinforce to Dustin that his stuff looked OK, but any time you're down 2-0 and 3-1 in the count, it puts pressure on you to make a pitch," Scioscia said. "He had to get the ball in good zones earlier in the count."

A lot of good that visit did. Uribe, who entered with a .237 average, five home runs and 29 runs batted in, hit a 1-and-1 curve for a two-run homer to left-center to make it 4-0.

Konerko hit a solo shot and Uribe had another two-run shot, a laser to left off reliever Darren Oliver, in the third for a 7-0 lead. Another quirky play led to two White Sox runs in the sixth.

With runners on first and second and one out, Griffey hit a towering popup that catcher Mike Napoli failed to glove, the ball dropping in front of the plate.

Napoli threw to Quinlan, thinking he'd forced out Jim Thome at third, and Quinlan threw to second baseman Chone Figgins, thinking he'd forced out Konerko.

But umpire Gerry Davis correctly called Griffey out on the infield fly rule, a play on which runners can advance at their own risk. Had Quinlan tagged Thome or Figgins tagged Konerko, those runners would have been out.

Instead, the Angels got only one out on the play, and Alexei Ramirez followed with a two-run single to center off Darren O'Day to give the White Sox a 9-0 lead.

"They were under the assumption the ball was in play," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Quinlan and Figgins. "You've got to tag the runners. We had a chance to tag two, but our guys didn't recognize that the infield fly was called."

The Angels made some noise in the seventh, scoring on an error and Garret Anderson's RBI single, but Chicago right fielder Jermaine Dye made a diving catch of Mark Teixeira's drive to the gap with two on to end the inning.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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