Angels starter Dan Haren pitched six innings, giving up four hits and one… (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press )
CHICAGO -- The struggles of the Angels bullpen may have reached crisis levels Sunday after reliever Jason Isringhausen, summoned to protect a one-run lead in the seventh inning, gave up a two-run, pinch-hit home run to A.J. Pierzynski, which keyed the Chicago White Sox’s 4-2 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Angels relievers have now given up 23 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings in seven games against the Texas Rangers and White Sox, suffering four losses and three blown saves.
And, well, there appears to be little relief in sight, with veteran left-hander Scott Downs (shoulder strain) and hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden (nerve problem in neck) each at least a week and, in Downs’ case, probably two weeks, away from returning.
Angels starter Dan Haren threw six strong innings Sunday, giving up one run and four hits, and the right-hander was in position to win when Torii Hunter’s two-out run-scoring single to left in the top of the seventh scored Peter Bourjos to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.
But Isringhausen replaced Haren in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Dayan Viciedo and the homer to Pierzynski, his 21st of the season.
Pierzynski, an object of scorn among Angels fans since the 2005 American League Championship Series, became the seventh player in White Sox club history to homer in five consecutive games. The last to do so was Paul Konerko in 2011.
Gordon Beckham followed with a single to left, and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia pulled Isringhausen in favor of Jerome Williams, who got out of the inning but gave up a run in the eighth when Konerko singled and Alexei Ramirez hit an RBI triple to right-center off the glove of the diving Hunter to make it 4-2.
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Maicer Izturis (infield single) and Bourjos (bunt single) advanced on Bobby Wilson sacrifice bunt, and Izturis scored on Mike Trout’s sacrifice fly.
They loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on singles by Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo, but Izturis grounded into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
Chicago then tied the score in the bottom of the sixth when Kevin Youkilis lined his 13th homer of the season to left, a shot that was hit so hard and so low that Youkilis was sprinting around first base before noticing the umpires had signaled home run.
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