The White Sox faced the Angels in the third game of the four-game weekend set Saturday afternoon on what was "Service Day," as the team honored those who serve our country by wearing camouflage hats and jerseys.
While the game Saturday afternoon could've gotten off to a worse start, it certainly could've went better, too. The name of the was wasted opportunities.
In the first, second, and third innings the White Sox had two runners reach base. In fact, in each of those innings the team recorded two base hits and had runners on first and third twice (second, third innings) and first and second base once (first inning). But none of them were able to cross the plate, as starter Hector Santiago and the Sox went into the fourth inning knotted up at zero with the Halos.
In the fourth inning, the inning started off with more good guys reaching base as Dayan Viciedo walked and Hector Gimenez singled. After two quick outs were made and Alexei Ramirez was hit by a pitch, Alex Rios doubled home two runs and then Adam Dunn singled home another pair as the Sox took a nice 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning.
To that point, starter Hector "Screwgie" Santiago had been throwing the ball pretty well, but the wheels fell off quickly in that inning. Mark Trumbo lead off the inning with a mammoth home run and then Screwgie just continued to scuffle.
A single, three walks, and a wild pitch later, Santiago's day was done after just 3.1 innings and two runs in for LA. Nate Jones came in and did his job, allowing one more run to score on a sacrifice flyout before whiffing Mike Trout to end the inning and preserve the team's lead (4-3) for at least a bit longer.
For the second straight inning, Tank and Gimenez led off with a walk and a single, but this time the team couldn't bring anybody home. They did load the bases after a Tyler Greene popout when Dewayne Wise walked, but then Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios struck out to end the threat.
Though it was nice to see the team with four runs home already, it was less encouraging when you consider the fact that they'd had 15 base runners to that point. Plus, Adam Dunn, who's been red hot of late, was pulled in the fifth inning with back spasms, bringing fans back the feeling of bad luck we've been plagued with before about the past week of White Sox baseball.
Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo doubles to lead off the fifth inning for the Halos gave them their first lead of the game as they went up 5-4. But then, things finally quieted down. Nate Jones finished that inning well and worked a quick sixth and seventh inning to get the team into the eight inning still down one run.
But then, in the seventh and eighth innings, things escalated quicly.
The Halos scored five runs to go up 10-4 in the seventh inning led by an Alberto Callaspo 3-run home run and the Sox responded with five runs of their own immediately after. Hector Gimenez's 3-run bomb of his own was the main force in the team's comeback effort.
Three more Angels runs off of Donnie Veal and Matt Lindstrom made it 12-9, as LA had enough get the win in this somewhat bizarre game.
It was nice to see the Sox have fight and an at-times potent offense on a day when their pitching just was not nearly good enough. It's hard to be mad at that staff since after all, they do have the American League's best ERA. Saturday just wasn't their day.
Tomorrow, the Sox and Halos square off for the final time, as Jake Peavy (5-1, 2.96 ERA) face Jason Vargas (2-3, 4.03 ERA). Hopefully, the team can keep some positive momentum going as they head home to face Jon Lester and the surprising Boston Red Sox.
Of course, our own Matt Hoeppner will preview the series before it gets underway. Stay tuned for that and much more on GrabSomeBench.com in the meantime.