Angels stretch winning streak to three with 3-2 win over White Sox

Jerome Williams gives up two runs in 6 2/3 innings, Mike Trout hits a two-run home run and the Angels clinch series against Chicago.

May 11, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
  • Angels' Mike Trout reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago White Sox.
Angels' Mike Trout reacts after hitting a two-run home run against… (David Banks / Getty Images )

CHICAGO — What's that thing called when you score more runs than the other team for a few days in a row? Oh yeah, a winning streak.

The Angels reacquainted themselves with the concept Saturday night with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox in U.S. Cellular Field to extend their winning streak to three, matching a season high.

Jerome Williams survived a five-hit second inning to throw 6 2/3 strong innings, giving up two runs and seven hits; Mike Trout hit a two-run home run in the first, and the bullpen combined for 21/3 innings, as the Angels won their first road series of the year.

BOX SCORE: Angels 3, Chicago 2

No contending team would get excited about three straight wins, but it seems like a monumental achievement for a club that has struggled to generate any kind of positive momentum and is still 14-22 and nine games behind Texas in the American League West despite its brief run of competency.

"I like where we're at right now," slugger Mark Trumbo said. "You don't take anything for granted because this game can change one a dime, but it's a good feeling. We won three in a row. We want to stay on it."

The common thread in the run is the success of an injury-ravaged bullpen that struggled most of the season but has not given up a run in 14 2/3 innings over the last five games.

Scott Downs struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the seventh inning Saturday, Garrett Richards retired the heart of the lineup in order in the eighth and Ernesto Frieri, pitching for the third consecutive night, threw the ninth for his seventh save.

"At times, we haven't held leads, but the one constant with these games is the effectiveness of our bullpen," Scioscia said. "Our guys feel good if we can get some early runs, keep pressuring them and not have to kill the ball every night."

The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Alberto Callaspo singled and Trout followed with a 408-foot home run, his sixth, to left-center field.

The White Sox bunched five singles for two runs in the second, Tyler Greene and De Aza knocking in runs. But Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton prevented further damage by throwing out Jeff Keppinger, who was trying to score from second on De Aza's hit, at the plate to end the inning.

"That was a great throw from Josh to get us out of that," Scioscia said. "It was big to minimize some damage."

An error and some aggressive baserunning by Albert Pujols, who has been slowed by plantar fasciitis in his left foot and a sore right knee, led to the winning run in the third.

With one out, Pujols singled to left, and after Trumbo flied out, Greene, the White Sox second baseman, threw wild past first on Hamilton's routine grounder.

Pujols took third on the play and scored when he got a great jump on a passed ball and avoided pitcher Jose Quintana's tag with a head-first dive into the plate. Pujols was spiked and cut his right hand on the play but remained in the game.

"He got a good read and got his hand in there," Scioscia said. "He reacted well on that play."

The Angels swept a three-game series from Detroit on April 19-21 but gained no momentum from it, losing 12 of their next 16 games. But they seemed more confident Saturday that they can sustain their winning ways.

"It's starting to feel more like normal," Williams said. "We're playing like we're supposed to be playing, everyone's doing their job, we're getting shut-down innings, guys are swinging the bats. Things are turning around."

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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