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Blinding sun, poor pitching contribute to Angels' loss to White Sox

The Angels misplay multiple balls and starter C.J. Wilson, who was battling a stomach virus, walks six batters in less than four innings of a 6-1 loss. Mark Trumbo has a career-high four hits.

May 17, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

The Angels lost Thursday because they couldn't see into a blinding sun and because pitcher C.J. Wilson couldn't seem to find home plate.

The Chicago White Sox took advantage, using sun-caused misplays and six walks in less than four innings by under-the-weather Angels starter Wilson to earn a 6-1 victory at Angel Stadium.

Wilson, battling a stomach virus he said nearly caused him to pass out in the first inning, fell behind, 1-0, in the third on a two-out walk to Paul Konerko and a run-scoring single to right field by A.J. Pierzynski.

The walk to Konerko was Wilson's fourth of the day, matching the total he had in 24 1/3 innings during spring training.

"I couldn't get it going, couldn't find it," Wilson said. "After every pitch, I was trying to adjust. Trying to find the strike zone was like trying to catch a chicken running on the ground."

The sun made its impact — twice during one at bat — during a three-run White Sox fourth inning that sealed the Angels' fate.

First, a catchable fly ball hit foul down the right-field line by the White Sox' Dayan Viciedo was lost by Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Even wearing sunglasses, Trout also lost a second fly ball off Viciedo's bat — this one bouncing off the top of Trout's glove for an error.

Wilson then walked his fifth and sixth batters of the game, loading the bases. One out later, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn stroked a two-run single to right field.

"It was one of those full-moon games, except … ," Wilson said.

Except it was a full sun.

That ended Wilson's day. He threw 88 pitches — 43 of which were balls.

"You try to button up and just go get 'em, but I just didn't have it today," Wilson said.

Wilson was replaced by rookie right-hander David Carpenter, but the sun didn't relent. Soon, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick was kicking himself, too.

The fourth inning appeared to be coming to an end when, with two outs, Konerko popped a high fly toward the outfield grass behind second base. But Kendrick — his sunglasses resting on top of his cap — couldn't find the ball and it fell a few feet in front of him as Alejandro De Aza trotted home for a 4-0 lead.

"If I had them on, I make those plays," Kendrick said. "We can't allow that to happen."

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia agreed, as hopes for a third consecutive victory vanished.

"This is disappointing; we're trying to get momentum," said Scioscia, whose team's record fell to 17-22. "We didn't give ourselves a chance."

Angels designated hitter Mark Trumbo did his part, extending his hitting streak to eight games with a career-high four hits. Trumbo has 16 hits in his last 28 at-bats.

Even so, White Sox starter Chris Sale (4-2) kept the Angels scoreless through five innings with seven strikeouts.

Angels slugger Albert Pujols was one of those strikeout victims, but he responded in the sixth inning with his second home run in as many days, a line-drive solo homer to center off Sale.

Viciedo homered off Angels reliever David Pauley in the eighth for the White Sox.

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