CHICAGO (AP) — After a slow start, Mike Trout is showing signs of getting back to his dominant 2012 form.
Trout hit a two-run homer and Jerome Williams pitched into the seventh inning to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Saturday night.
Williams (2-1) allowed two runs and scattered seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. After eight appearances out of the bullpen, Williams made his second start after he replaced the struggling Garrett Richards, who was filling in for injured Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver.
Alberto Callaspo led off the game with a bloop single, two pitches later, Trout put the Angels ahead with a two-run shot to left for his sixth of the season. The home run was Trout’s fourth in 10 games.
“It was about 130 games last year he was pretty good. You’re not going to be locked in all the time, but there is no doubt he is finding a comfort zone in the box and it is good to see him drive the ball,” said Scioscia.
White Sox starter Jose Quintana (2-1) allowed three runs in the loss. He gave up five hits and struck out five.
The Angels tied a season-high three-game winning streak, but are currently nine games behind the Rangers in the AL West and are finally showing signs of getting back to the top of the standings.
“Everything is getting back to normal, playing like how we are supposed to be playing baseball. Everybody is doing their jobs, shut down innings and everyone is swinging the bat. Everything is turning around now,” said Williams.
Scott Downs got one out in the seventh, Richards pitched a perfect eighth and Ernesto Frieri pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
“I think the one thing you can point to is our bullpen. Our bullpen has responded to the challenge of getting outs that we need,” said Scioscia.
It was Williams’ first win as a starter since June 1, 2012 against the Rangers.
“I didn’t really have my best stuff but I battled through it any way possible,” said Williams.
The White Sox, who committed three errors, have lost eight of its last 12 games.
“Everybody’s working. It’s a tough thing sometimes,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “This year, it’s been the mistakes we make, the hits we don’t get. It’s coming from a place of trying too hard.”
The White Sox loaded the bases in the second inning. With two outs, Tyler Greene hit a slow roller to shortstop Brendan Harris. Harris fielded the ball while moving to his left, but his throw to first was off-balanced and late, allowing Paul Konerko to score. Alejandro De Aza followed with an RBI single to right to tie the game, Jeff Keppinger tried to score from second on De Aza’s single but was thrown out at the plate by Josh Hamilton.
The Angels got the lead back in the third inning thanks to an error and a passed ball.
With two outs, Hamilton hit a routine grounder to Greene at second base. Greene made a lackadaisical throw to first base that got away from Dunn. Albert Pujols, who was on first, advanced to third on Greene’s throwing error. Pujols later scored when catcher Tyler Flowers couldn’t keep Quintana’s pitch to Howie Kendrick in front of him. On Flowers’ flip, Quintana had a shot to tag Pujols at the plate, but Pujols avoided the tag with his slide.
The three errors in the game for the White Sox tied the Angels for most errors in the American League with 27.
“I don’t think that’s anything mental. Not being in the right position or things like that. Physical stuff, you get. But you know it’s just one of those that you do have to do it better. It’s that simple,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
NOTES: White Sox INF Conor Gillaspie was scratched from the White Sox lineup due to an upper respiratory infection. Keppinger moved to third base and Greene started at second base. … Angels reliever Ryan Madson (Tommy John recovery) threw one inning in an extended-spring training game on Saturday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was encouraged with Madson’s velocity, which was between 91-94 mph. He will pitch again on Monday then receive his minor league rehab assignment. … INF Erick Aybar missed his second straight game with tightness in his right hamstring. … By taking the first two games of the series, the Angels won its third series of the season. … Dunn struck out three times to drop his average to .137.
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