Jerome Williams gave the Angels six innings in which he gave up just two earned… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
It's early, but it's not that early. The Angels began the second quarter of the season with another ugly loss Thursday night, committing two errors plus a crucial mental mistake, throwing a wild pitch that scored a run and issuing a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to a .185 hitter who had not drawn a free pass all season.
The 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox dropped the Angels to 15-26, their worst 41-game start since 1976, and 12 games behind Texas in the American League West.
There is still time for the Angels to make up ground, but the task ahead is daunting. They'd have to go 75-46 over the final 121 games to reach 90 wins, which would put them in the playoff hunt.
BOX SCORE: Chicago White Sox 5, Angels 4
Considering the injuries, inconsistent pitching, shaky defense and shoddy baserunning that have marred the first seven weeks, that goal seems unattainable.
“You've got to start a streak somewhere, because we're going to need to do something pretty special to get back into the race,” slugger Mark Trumbo said. “You let enough of them slide, you're not going to be able to do that. It's not make or break, but it's getting close to the time we need to start making a push.”
Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and the Angels took 4-2 lead in the sixth on Howie Kendrick's two-run double, which put Jerome Williams, who gave up two runs and five hits in six crisp innings, in line for a win.
Reliever Dane De La Rosa preserved the lead by striking out Tyler Flowers with runners on second and third to end the seventh, but the Angels crumbled in the eighth.
Alejandro De Aza led off with a single, and Alexei Ramirez singled to right-center. De Aza easily took third on Ramirez's hit, but Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who had no play, airmailed a throw over the cutoff man that allowed Ramirez, the tying run, to take second.
“He knows he was too aggressive there,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout.
De La Rosa struck out Alex Rios with a breaking ball that bounced to the backstop, allowing De Aza to score. Adam Dunn's run-scoring single to center made it 4-4.
Scioscia replaced De La Rosa with Michael Kohn, who got Paul Konerko to ground out. But Kohn walked the next three batters, including Jeff Keppinger on four pitches to force in the winning run. It was Keppinger's first walk in 141 plate appearances this season.
“We're not going to bury our heads in the sand — we know the challenge in front of us,” Scioscia said. “It's going to be rough if we're not able to hold leads.”
Williams gave up Rios' solo homer in the fourth and a run in the fifth when Conor Gillaspie doubled, took third on a groundout and scored on shortstop Erick Aybar's error.
Williams, making his third start after moving from the bullpen, was pulled after Paul Konerko's leadoff single in the seventh, his pitch count at 74. The right-hander threw more than 90 pitches in his previous two starts and said he felt “strong, like I could compete.”
But Scioscia said Williams “isn't as stretched out as he eventually will be — he's definitely gotten tired as his pitch count has risen.”