ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — For seven innings, Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox were in complete control.
Then Mike Trout and the eighth inning happened.
Trout hit a game-tying grand slam off Sale in the bottom of the eighth, Josh Hamilton had three hits and scored the go-ahead run, and the White Sox blew a five-run lead and fell 6-5 to the Los Angeles on Saturday night.
“I don’t really remember much from it,” Sale said. “I just remember that ball going over the fence and wanting to rip my own head off.”
Sale took a three-hit shutout into the eighth and the White Sox held a commanding 5-0 lead.
That’s when everything went terribly wrong.
Erick Aybar led off with a double and scored on Chris Iannetta’s single to end the shutout bid.
Colin Cowgill reached on an error by shortstop Alexi Ramirez and Howie Kendrick poked a single through the right side to bring Trout up with the bases loaded and no outs.
The Angels outfielder worked the count full and then belted a changeup deep over the left-center field fence to tie it up and send the home crowd into a frenzy.
“When you put as much effort, and kind of your heart and soul into a game and it unravels like that, more than anything I’m just kind of disappointed,” Sale said. “I threw a good pitch to a better hitter, and things happen.”
Trout’s blast, his 12th homer of the season, ended Sale’s night. The Angels weren’t done.
Hamilton and C.J. Cron hit back-to-back two-out singles off reliever Jake Petricka (0-1), and Aybar poked a 2-2 fastball into center field to score Hamilton and give the Angels their first lead of the game.
“We never quit,” Trout said. “Down 5-0 we could easily just put our heads down and stop fighting, but you never know. Everybody contributed. It was a team win for sure.”
Cory Rasmus (1-0), who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game, pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the win.
The White Sox opened the scoring in the third on back-to-back RBI singles by Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham, and Alejandro De Aza smacked an RBI double into the right-center field gap in the fourth to extend their lead to 3-0.
Adam Dunn led off the sixth with a solo homer deep to center field, his third consecutive game with a home run.
The blast, which easily cleared the 396-foot marker in center, ended the night for Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
Shoemaker surrendered nine hits and four runs, three earned, while striking out six.
De Aza brought home another run on a sacrifice fly later in the sixth to give the White Sox a seemingly comfortable 5-0 lead.
“They’re fighters,” Sale said. “No one in this league gives up. They’re professionals. They’re big leaguers. It doesn’t get any easier. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done up until then, it matters how you finish it, and they finished it.”
NOTES: Chicago rookie Jose Abreu went 0 or 4 with four strikeouts, the first four-strikeout game of his career. … Hamilton’s fifth inning single was the first hit by left-handed batter against Sale this season. … The Angels optioned outfielder Grant Green to Triple-A Salt Lake before the game. … The Angels celebrated Albert Pujols’ joining the 500-homer club in a pregame ceremony. Tony La Russa was among the speakers.
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