On a beautiful Sunday afternoon that doubled as a getaway day, John Hirschbeck brought a wide strike zone to speed up affairs.
That Jake Peavy still walked a season-high five batters underscores just how off he was. Peavy lost the strike zone in the third and fourth innings. The Angels took advantage of it for a pair of 2's, and they wouldn't need anything more.
It started with a dreaded leadoff walk to Chris Iannetta (his fifth consecutive walk). J.B. Shuck singled him over to third, and Erick Aybar drove them both in with a double to the right-field corner. Aybar helped Peavy get back on his feet by running into a pickle between second and third when the throw was cut off, and his attempt to draw an A.J. Pierzynski-style interference call was unsuccessful.
But the effects didn't last. Peavy started the fourth with a walk to Mark Trumbo, and that was the first of four in the inning. After a first-to-third single, Peavy issued a second to load the bases, and a third to make it 3-0. After Shuck popped out, Aybar drew the fourth for a 4-0 lead. Mike Trout popped out to end the damage, but the Sox could never climb back in.
Jason Vargas benefited from some at-'em balls early, but he didn't need the help in the middle innings. The Sox didn't mount their real first palpable threat until the seventh, which was Vargas' last inning. Conor Gillaspie led off with a double, and, two batters later, Jeff Keppinger hit a sinking line drive to right center that Trout snared with a diving catch. Gillaspie took third, but he stayed there when Tyler Flowers grounded out to end the inning.
They were finally able to get on the board in the eighth, with Alexei Ramirez drawing a one-out walk and scoring on Alex Rios' double down the left-field line. The rally ended there, but at least Rios' 14-game hitting streak lives on.
Likewise, the Sox drew three walks against Frieri in the ninth with one out -- including another four-pitch walk to Keppinger -- but Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez each hit flyouts to right. De Aza's scored a run; Ramirez's didn't help, and the Angels were able to salvage a split.
The Sox sure can pick uninspiring ways to end road trips, but they'll return to Chicago with the bullpen in better shape than it was following Saturday's loss. Peavy was able to rediscover his command and last six, and Brian Omogrosso was the only reliever needed after a rough day for the bullpen. Not that Omogrosso was great himself --- he threw a 1-2-3 inning, but gave up a pair of runs in the ninth to put the game out of tying-run-to-the-plate reach.
- Adam Dunn left Saturday's game with back spasms, so it was surprising to see him in the lineup today, especially with a lefty starting. It didn't work out well -- he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk.
- Keppinger reached base three times, raising his OBP to .205.