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Angels gain in wild card, beat White Sox

September 22, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Dan Haren improved to 12-11, limiting the White Sox to two runs on six hits over six innings.
Dan Haren improved to 12-11, limiting the White Sox to two runs on six hits… (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty…)

Something was done Saturday night that caused a manager to be ejected from Angel Stadium.

It wasn’t a blown save to increase the Angels’ major league lead in the category, a dubious base-running decision or another loss to weaken their playoff hopes.

No, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia is officially off the reported hot seat and coming back to Anaheim next season, owner Arte Moreno announced Saturday — the club saying the matter was never in doubt internally.

By beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2, Scioscia’s team, in fact, moved within 2 1/2 games of the Oakland Athletics for the American League’s second wild card spot with 10 games remaining.

It was White Sox Manager Robin Ventura who got the boot, capping his frustrating early portion of the game by arguing with first base umpire Ed Hickox over a fourth-inning balk call.

The Angels scored all their runs in the first inning against White Sox starter Jose Quintana (6-5) with three walks, an error, a run-scoring double by Albert Pujols, an RBI single by Torii Hunter and a two-run single by Mark Trumbo.

Pujols’ ground-rule double to left was his 500th career double, making him one of 19 major leaguers in history with at least 500 doubles and 400 homers.

Pitcher Dan Haren (12-11) went six-plus innings to gain his fourth  victory in five starts and closer Ernesto Frieri rallied from back-to-back losses to gain his 20th save. The Angels (83-69) will send ace Jered Weaver to the mound Sunday trying to sweep the A.L. Central leaders.

Moreno announced on the team’s website before the game that Scioscia “will 100 percent return” next season, and that General Manager Jerry Dipoto “will be back,” for a second season.

Team spokesman Tim Mead said Saturday that Moreno’s position “was and has been” to bring Scioscia and Dipoto back in 2013 despite a turbulent season that has them outside playoff position in the late-going.

The decision to say it publicly followed speculation by some national baseball reporters that Scioscia and Dipoto were in trouble for failing to direct a roster with a $155-million payroll  to the playoffs.

"These reports, wherever they're coming from, are [false]," Moreno said. “Fans and writers can guess on whether you're making the right decisions or not the right decisions. That is everybody's opportunity. That's the great part of the game.

“But when they start writing about information that is incorrect, it makes me upset.”

Scioscia is under contract through 2018 and Dipoto was given a five-year deal last October.

Mead noted with “the multiyear contracts for both, everyone is focused on the season, accomplishing our goals and objectives.

“We’re focused on the present. There’ll be a time to look back. That time is not now.”

Moreno’s announcement preceded Scioscia’s pre-game conference with reporters.

The manager spent some of his time reflecting on the season’s difficulty that opened with free-agent slugger Albert Pujols going homerless in April while the team kept most valuable player candidate Mike Trout in Triple-A Salt Lake for much of the month.

“When you look at 22 blown saves … our inability to get these guys on board … cost us some games,” Scioscia said.

Angels’ starters also were scarred for a 6.90 earned-run average during 15 games in August.

“The arms are there, and we’ll continue to move forward,” Scioscia said.

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