ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver pitched his best game since coming off the disabled list three starts ago and, backed by a solo home run from Carlos Perez, led the Angels to a third straight win over the White Sox on Wednesday night. Weaver allowed five hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking none to outduel Jeff Samardzija in a 1-0 Halos win.
"I feel pretty good," Weaver said. "I still feel like I can gain some strength back and get the velocity up, but even if I stay where I'm at, I'm totally comfortable out there. And everything's coming out of the same slot, which I was having problems with before. I'm throwing the ball the way I want to, which is nice."
Samardzija turned in a seven-inning, 116-pitch effort in which he struck out seven and allowed only Perez's sixth-inning homer. The White Sox right-hander pitched out of multiple tight spots, including a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. He stranded nine baserunners and held the Angels hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"What had been getting me in trouble [in previous starts] was giving up little hits and letting them get to me and then it snowballs," Samardzija said. "I wanted to go out there and stay in control of the game and continue to make good pitches. Regardless of the results, just keep doing that."
Angels setup man Joe Smith and closer Huston Street had both pitched on three straight nights entering the game, but it was Smith who got the call in the ninth inning. Smith gave up a leadoff single and a one-out walk, but recorded a huge game-ending double play to notch his second save and keep the Angels a half-game up on the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Light that baby up ... eventually: With runners on first and second and one out in the ninth, Smith got Adam LaRoche to roll over a sinker to C.J. Cron at first base. Cron turned and fired to shortstop Erick Aybar, covering second, for one out, and Aybar relayed to Smith, covering first, for the potential game-ending double play. But Smith's footwork was slightly off, he had to stab for the base with his right foot as the ball arrived in his glove, and first-base umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that LaRoche had beat Smith to the bag. Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged the play, and after a three-minute, 36-second review, the call was overturned and the game was over.
"Out of my hand, 'Oh God, you left it up,' was the first thought," Smith said of the pitch LaRoche put in play. "And then, 'Oh my goodness, he rolled it over.' And I was just like, 'Get to the bag. Get to the bag. Get to the bag.' And then, once I knew I was getting close to the bag, I was like, 'Catch the ball. Catch the ball. Catch the ball.'"
"You could see if his foot's on there, it beat him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a tough one." More >
Perez ends power outage: Not only did Perez's home run -- off a 95-mph Samardzija fastball -- break the scoreless tie, it was only the rookie catcher's third career long ball, and his first since May 30. Perez went 118 at-bats between home runs, and his 41-game drought was tied with Aybar for the second-longest by an Angels hitter this season.
"I'm more disappointed in falling behind, 2-0, than the pitch that happened and the result," Samardzija said. "You are in attack mode there, [game tied] 0-0, you want to be ahead in the count or at least 1-1."
Shark swims free in the second: The Angels loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning, but Samardzija was able to escape. Perez popped out to second, Kaleb Cowart struck out swinging and Adam Eaton made a nice running catch of Johnny Giavotella's blast to center to save three runs. Perez would get Samardzija in the sixth, but Samardzija also danced out of jams in the third, fourth and fifth. More >
Trying to steal a run: Missed scoring opportunities came for the White Sox in the first inning, when they had runners on first and third with one out, and in the fifth, when Carlos Sanchez opened with a double. In the seventh, J.B. Shuck led off with a single, and one out later tried to steal second against reliever Trevor Gott and Perez. He was thrown out at second, a move that was all the tougher when Sanchez singled in the ensuing at-bat.
"Carlos Perez, great night," Scioscia said. "And not only the home run -- he caught a great game and threw out J.B. Shuck. That was a big caught stealing in the seventh."
"In a 0-0 game, you just want to stay on the gas as a pitcher and keep them in the defensive mode. I gave him the green light there by being 2-0 and then leaving one up over the plate for him." -- Samardzija, on the count to Perez contributing to the game-winning homer
"If he locates his stuff, he makes guys look pretty foolish, and it's kind of fun to watch. … That's Weaver, he can do that stuff because he knows his stuff. He knows how to pitch. I mean, he's freezing guys on mid-80s fastballs inside. You know, you're like, 'How can you do that?'" -- Smith, on Weaver's effectiveness despite limited velocity
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Mike Trout lined a first-inning single to center field off Samardzija, snapping an 0-for-12 streak spanning four hitless games. It was Trout's longest hitless stretch of the season, and just the third four-game hitless streak of his career.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Jose Quintana gets the call in Thursday's series finale at Angel Stadium. The Chicago lefty has 10 losses, but he has the second-lowest ERA among pitchers with double-digit setbacks, only trailing the Indians' Corey Kluber. First pitch is set for 9:05 p.m. CT.
Angels: Right-hander Nick Tropeano will make his third spot-start of the season for the Angels in the 7:05 p.m. PT matchup. Tropeano, the team's No. 7 prospect, is starting in place of Matt Shoemaker, who was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday to work on fastball command and other parts of his game.