Jose Quintana couldn't have gotten off to a sadder start -- he walked the leadoff man, mishandled a sac bunt, and gave up a ground-rule double to Albert Pujols and a single to Torii Hunter. A two-run single to Mark Trumbo later, the Angels had a 4-0 lead.
But, to his credit, Quintana settled down. The guy who looked removable after two-thirds of an inning went on to complete five, working out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the fourth inning. Throw in three scoreless innings of relief by Nate Jones and Brett Myers, and it's hard to get too down on the pitching.
The offense needs to do something. They went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and an inability to post a crooked number in the seventh is symbolic of their larger struggles during what is now a four-game losing streak, and over the month in general.
Trailing 4-1, Alex Rios greeted Dan Haren with a single to knock him out of the game. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a ground-rule double off lefty Nick Maronde to the right field corner. Mike Scioscia countered with Garrett Richards, and so Mark Parent (Robin Ventura was ejected, see below) countered with Dewayne Wise.
Wise did his part, hitting a grounder to second that scored Rios and moved Pierzynski to third. But Richards sawed off Alexei Ramirez, and his weak grounder to third couldn't get Pierzynski home. With two outs, Gordon Beckham hit a chopper to short and was thrown out easily. The Sox trailed 4-2 after that, and that held up as the final score.
Adam Dunn only went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position, but he had the most miserable night of all, striking out three times and grounding into a double play.
*Ventura was ejected after Quintana was called for a balk on a tricky pickoff move. Paul Konerko was playing off the bag, and they tried to lull Chris Iannetta into a false sense of security. Quintana lifted his leg, then threw to first as Konerko moved toward the bag. The play fooled Iannetta, but first base umpire Ed Hickox apparently ruled that Konerko hadn't moved to the bag before Quintana let go of the ball. A pickoff throw to a stationary target playing off the bag is called not throwing to a bag. Ventura unsuccessfully argued at length and was given the thumb. That balk ended up setting up that fourth-inning jam that Quintana escaped.
*The Sox committed two errors, and both were by pitchers failing to handle Erick Aybar bunts. Quintana fumbled the transfer after fielding the ball, and Jones didn't stay down on it, and it went between his legs. Jones came back by getting Pujols to ground into a double play.
*Konerko hit his 24th homer of the year, a solo shot off Haren in the second inning.
*It was a busy day for Alexei Ramirez, who had nine assists (starting one double play) and a putout.