Angels 4, White Sox 3: Again, unearned runs prove costly

The White Sox were at a disadvantage from the get-go, sending sixth starter Phil Humber to the mound against Los Angeles Angels ace and longtime nemesis Jered Weaver.

Perhaps thanks to a rain delay, the Sox handled Weaver well enough. The tougher opponent was, once again, themselves.

Humber was OK. He didn't have his best stuff, but while he needed 94 pitches to get through five, he only issued one walk and one HBP. It was a big walk, though - a one-out one to Vernon Wells in the fourth inning. He moved to second on a duck-snort single, then scored on a single back through the box (Humber had his back to home plate for some reason), to tie the game at 1.

But Brent Morel hurt Humber's case more. Hank Conger hit a squibber along the third-base line, which would have brought in a run, so you can't say Morel lost the lead when he threw the ball away after charging it. But he forced Humber to record four outs, and he could only record three before Maicer Izturis delivered the big blow - a double to the right-center gap that made it a 4-1 game.

That seemed to be enough for Weaver, who was dealing. He had allowed just the one run in the third inning on an RBI single by Gordon Beckham (remember that). But an error by his own third baseman may have knocked him off his game. Either that, or it was the 30-minute rain delay. One way or another, Adam Dunn poked a hanging curve into the right field seats to make it a one-run game.

Unfortunately, that gave Ozzie Guillen the idea to play for one run in the eighth -- in the worst way possible.

Facing Fernando Rodney, Juan Pierre got the job done by floating a single to right, leading off the inning. For whatever reason, Guillen made Beckham bunt, and he jabbed one out just in front of the plate. Conger made the throw to second, negating the purpose of the bunt. Why he was doing it in the first place, I have no idea.

(OK, I have an idea, but it never makes sense. I wrote a two-part post (Part One | Part Two) about Guillen's tendency to bunt over Juan Pierre in the late innings last year. Wish they weren't applicable anymore.)

The Sox worked around a bad Brent Morel bunt in the third, but they couldn't score with only two outs in the eighth. They moved runners to second and third with two outs, but Carlos Quentin let loose on 3-0, and hit a harmless flare to right. Jordan Walden then shut down the Sox for a 1-2-3 ninth to close it out. Those two unearned runs made the difference.

At the very least, it was a nice night for the bullpen. Making his White Sox debut, Jeff Gray threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He nearly pitched around a pair of singles in the eighth, but a two-out walk brought the red-hot Izturis to the plate. Guillen countered with Will Ohman, and it was the right move. Izturis, who was 3-for-4, ended up 3-for-5 after swinging at a slider in the dirt for strike three.

Notes:

*Juan Pierre got back on the defensive horse, robbing Bobby Abreu of a homer with a leaping catch at the wall. It wasn't the typical wall-climber - he drifted back and timed his jump perfectly.

*There was a three-minute rain delay later in the game. Tom Hallion called for the grounds crew when sheets of rain came down, but after pulling the home plate tarp out, the rain stopped.

Record: 7-6 | Box score | Play-by-play

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