Angels show resolve with sweep of White Sox

Angels show resolve with sweep of White Sox

Angels show resolve with sweep of White Sox
ANAHEIM -- Perhaps this is all too little, too late for the Angels. Perhaps it won't matter how well they finish out the season because the A's Cinderella story won't include enough losses. Perhaps, in the end, the holes the Angels dug -- by losing 14 of the first 20 games of the season, then 22 of the first 36 after the All-Star break, then six of 10 going into this weekend set -- will prove too deep.

But it seems they're not going down without a fight.

The Angels continued to prove that on Sunday, when a workman-like outing by Jered Weaver and some timely hitting against Gavin Floyd gave the Angels a 4-1 victory and a three-game, rejuvenating sweep over the American League Central-leading White Sox at Angel Stadium.

But the A's won, too, keeping the Angels 2 1/2 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot with nine games to go -- none of which are against the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race.

In the end, the scenario is the same: The Angels are a team in desperate need of help.

"Obviously there's a little bit of scoreboard watching as we dwindle down here, and it kind of sucks that we don't get to play Oakland here at the end," Weaver said after setting a new career high with 19 wins. "That'd be pretty exciting. But we have to do what we have to do, and that's win ballgames. We can't worry about what other teams are doing. We just have to go out there and keep winning. This is a good start."

By sweeping the White Sox, the Angels are at least giving themselves a chance.

And on an afternoon that started out rough, Weaver did that for his offense by battling an escalating pitch count to keep the White Sox scoreless through the first six frames and give way to a four-run bottom of the sixth.

Mike Trout drew a one-out walk, representing only the fifth baserunner allowed by Floyd, Torii Hunter laced a single to put men on the corners and Albert Pujols lined a double to left field, allowing Hunter to score from first base after a misplay by left fielder Dayan Viciedo. That gave Pujols 101 RBIs on the season, representing the 11th time in 12 seasons he has reached triple-digits in that department.

The next batter, Kendrys Morales, hit a 2-1 fastball over the right-center-field fence to give him 22 homers on the year and give his team a four-run lead.

"I tried to execute pitches like I had been doing the past five innings," Floyd said, "and I think I just missed location there being aggressive early and they happened to get hits."

"The big innings are helping us right now," Trout added. "We've been having these three- or four-run innings. Their pitching staff is good. They shut us down for a couple of innings and we just started a little rally."

Weaver eventually rallied, too. But first he had to overcome a rough start.

He began the game by loading the bases with one out, but struck out Alex Rios on a changeup -- to cap a 12-pitch at-bat -- then got A.J. Pierzynski to bounce into a fielder's choice. That began a streak that saw the Angels' ace retire 17 of 19 hitters leading into the top of the seventh, when he gave up a run on a sacrifice fly and exited with 112 pitches.

"The best pitch he threw all day was that pitch to Rios in the first inning," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I mean that thing just came up there and stopped."

With a three-run lead and eight outs to go, Scioscia went rather unconventional with how he used his bullpen. Kevin Jepsen, who didn't pitch Saturday and will join the rest of the team by taking Monday off, pitched 1 2/3 innings to get them to the ninth. Then Garrett Richards got Rios to ground out to third, lefty Scott Downs got Orlando Hudson -- pinch-hitting for the lefty-hitting Pierzynski -- to ground out to shortstop and Ernesto Frieri got Alexei Ramirez to fly out after walking Viciedo to end the game.

And the Angels lived to fight another day.

"We have to win out, personally," said Trout, whose team hosts a three-game series against the Mariners on Tuesday. "Take it one game at a time, but we're going to do our job, and that's win games. Whatever happens at the end of the year, that's the way it goes."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.