Youkilis' two homers not enough for White Sox

Youkilis' two homers not enough for White Sox

Youkilis' two homers not enough for White Sox
CHICAGO -- The recent U.S. Cellular Field magic temporarily disappeared for the White Sox during Saturday night's 6-5 loss to the Angels in 10 innings before 28,571 energized fans.

Despite Gavin Floyd's wildness digging the White Sox (58-48) a three-run hole in the first inning, they were able to pull even in the seventh. But even was as close as they were meant to get on this night, as their American League Central lead dropped to 1 1/2 games over the Tigers, who defeated the Indians, 6-1, in Detroit.

"We're in a good spot. We're playing hard, playing the right way," said White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham of the team's second loss in its last 13 home games. "It just didn't work out for us tonight.

"We definitely gave ourselves a chance to win in a game we were behind. We just kept scrapping and kept battling. Next thing you know, we're in extra innings."

In that extra inning, the Angels (58-50) pushed across the deciding run against Matt Thornton (4-7) after Thornton retired the first two hitters. Alberto Callaspo doubled to left-center on a 3-2 slider, and with first base open, the White Sox elected to face Howie Kendrick instead of Vernon Wells.

Kendrick delivered a single to right, with Callaspo easily scoring before Kendrick was thrown out trying to go to second on the throw. Manager Robin Ventura said that his full trust was placed in Thornton to get Kendrick in that situation.

"It's one of those, you pick one or the other," said Ventura of facing Kendrick or Wells. "It doesn't guarantee anything."

"That wasn't a bad pitch. It was up and in and he just pushed it to right," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of Kendrick's game-winner. "Howie's a good hitter. His numbers aren't there this year like they've been in the past, but that was a ball up and in and he fought it to the right. That's what he does best, just put it in a perfect spot."

Down by a 5-3 margin in the bottom of the seventh after Albert Pujols' homer in the top of the frame, the White Sox rallied to tie the game against Angels reliever LaTroy Hawkins. Alejandro De Aza singled and Kevin Youkilis drove out his second home run of the game on a 1-1 pitch.

Youkilis also homered in the first inning off Angels starter Ervin Santana, giving him 10 multi-homer games and his first since Sept. 28, 2009, against the Blue Jays.

"Kevin's a tough out in the batter's box and he's got power and knows how to get on base," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's a good situational hitter and he fits perfectly in their lineup.

"He's been a good addition for them. We missed some spots and he doesn't miss the ball. If he gets a pitch that he likes, we've seen if for years in Boston. He usually squares it up pretty good."

Pierzynski also went deep as part of the comeback, connecting against Santana in the sixth. It marked Pierzynski's first season with 20 homers and his fourth straight game with a long ball, matching his career high set May 14-18, 2005.

As for that hole dug early by Floyd, it came in the form of a 41-pitch inning, of which just 20 went for strikes. He hit Mike Trout to start the game on a 1-2 pitch, walked three straight to force home a run and gave up two hits in the frame. But Floyd settled down after the first, allowing just one run until Pujols went deep.

"I give him credit because he saved our bullpen by giving us 6 1/3 innings," said Pierzynski of Floyd, who allowed five runs on eight hits, while striking out six and walking three. "It got really ugly, but he battled and fought. Something I told him he should be proud of, because while it wasn't his best start, he saved everyone else on the team by going as deep as he did and giving us the innings he gave us."

"When it's happening like that, you just keep telling yourself one pitch at a time, you can easy get out of this," Floyd said. "I found a groove eventually but obviously it'd be nice to do it from the beginning."

Another run for the White Sox could have scored in the second if not for a sensational defensive play by Trout, who also had two hits and two runs scored. Trout leaped over the fence in left-center field to take a home run away from Beckham.

After the game, the White Sox were full of praise for the soon-to-be 21-year-old sensation. The White Sox were able to collectively tip their caps, even in the face of this tough weekend setback.

"One at-bat, I told him, I'm like "You're really good, man,' because he does it all," said a smiling Pierzynski. "He makes those catches in the outfield look so good. He hits for power, he can run as fast as anyone I've seen in a long time. He plays the game right, plays the game hard, has a smile on his face. The Angels are lucky to have him and he's one of the best I've seen in a long time."

"This is not anything new for us," added Ventura of his team dropping to 5-6 in extra innings. "That's just the way we play, we play a lot of close games. They're not always going to go your way."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.