The White Sox suffered their second consecutive loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
Like the Friday-night loss, this one also came at the hands of the White Sox starting pitching. And, it was compounded in the ninth.
Friday night, Carlos Rodon has a tough outing that resulted in a three-run Shohei Ohtani home run. On Saturday, the trouble belonged to James Shields who gave up two home runs to two-time MVP Mike Trout.
On Friday, the Sox held Trout under control by holding him to one hit and intentionally walking him twice. But, the same could not be said for the decisions made on Saturday. Trout’s first home run went to center field in the first inning while David Fletcher was on base. The third run of the inning came from Justin Upton plating Ohtani with a single.
The second set of three runs came in the third inning. This time Trout was able to get two baserunners home off of a home run to left field. This time Kole Calhoun was on base with Fletcher. Those six runs were enough for the Halos.
What the Sox did
The Sox offense tried to catch up, but they just couldn’t get enough runs home. Carlos Sanchez earned an RBI off of a double that scored Yoan Moncada in the first. Avisail Garcia also got in on the action by earning an RBI after a single that scored Sanchez. Kevan Smith showed that he is still a valuable asset to the team by also doubling and earning an RBI. His came in the fourth inning and plated Tim Anderson.
By the time Shields was finished, he pitched 4.1 innings that gave the Angels nine hits and six earned runs. Aaron Bummer, Juan Minaya, Caleb Frare, and Ian Hamilton all put up zeroes in the run column in their combined 3.2 innings. But, Jace Fry could not hold back the consistent bats at the top of the Angels lineup.
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The unfortunate ninth
Sadly, Fry – who has had recent success closing White Sox games – gave up three more runs in the ninth. Anderson’s throwing error helped Calhoun get on base. Unfortunately, Fry then walked Fletcher. And, Trout got his fifth hit (of five at-bats) of the night on a fly ball single. Then, Ohtani showed why he received so much attention in the off-season. He hit a triple to right field and the speedy men on base cleared them to bring the score to 9-3.
Rick Renteria replaced Fry with Thyago Vieira, who got one out, then threw a wild pitch that gave Ohtani the room he needed to score. Then, he walked Andrelton Simmons. Things never really calmed down and the Angels ended up scoring six runs in the top of the ninth.
The White Sox tried to rally in the ninth. Ryan Cordell had a 10-pitch at-bat against veteran closer Jim Johnson but eventually grounded out to third. Jose Rondon came in to pinch hit for Tim Anderson who has only recorded one hit so far in this series against the Angels. Rondon, too, was unsuccessful and struck out on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.
Smith had the last at-bat of the game. Johnson only needed seven pitches to strike out Smith, which fortunately put this game out of its misery. The Sox will need strong starting pitching from Reynaldo Lopez on Sunday as the bullpen has been heavily used lately. Lopez will face Andrew Heaney. The Sox must figure out a way to contain Trout and Ohtani who have completely owned this team so far this weekend with their combined 11 RBI in two games.