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Sunday, May 19, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, White Sox 2

By Dan Arritt
Special to ESPNChicago.com



ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Chicago White Sox walked six more batters Sunday, two of which forced in runs, and the offense found few holes in the defense of the Los Angeles Angels, who earned a split with the 6-2 victory at Angel Stadium.

How it happened: The strike zone seemed to be a moving target for White Sox pitchers as the series unfolded. After they issued 10 walks in Saturday’s 12-9 loss, Jake Peavy walked a season-high five in the first four innings Sunday, the last two forcing in runs to give the Angels a 4-0 lead. Peavy, who was trying to win five straight decisions for the first time since April 2008, also issued leadoff walks in the third and fourth innings and both came around to score. Angels catcher Chris Iannetta walked to start the third and Los Angeles failed to move him over with both a hit-and-run and a sacrifice attempt, but No. 9 hitter J.B. Shuck laced a two-strike single to center that Alejandro De Aza bobbled just enough to put runners on the corners with no outs. Erick Aybar then drove a two-run double down the right field line for a 2-0 lead. The Sox pushed across one run in each of the final two innings on an Alex Rios double in the eighth and a De Aza sacrifice fly in the ninth.

What it means: The White Sox finished 4-3 on the road trip, a bit of a downer considering it included a season-long four-game winning streak. With the Cleveland Indians completing their three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners, the loss dropped Chicago to six games back in the American League Central. As for the good news, Rios’ RBI double extended his hitting streak to 14 games and Adam Dunn returned to the lineup after leaving Saturday’s game with back spasms. Unfortunately, he didn’t make contact, striking out three times and walking in his other plate appearance.

Outside the box: Peavy has posted 125 victories in his career but none have come against the Angels. He fell to 0-4 against the club, the only team he hasn’t defeated when making at least five career starts. He’s now 0-3 at Angel Stadium, a bit surprising since he pitched so well while playing in Southern California from 2002-09 with the San Diego Padres. His five walks and seven strikeouts were also off kilter. He entered the game with a 6.38 walk-to-strikeout ratio, fourth best in the American League.

Off beat: The White Sox came in hitting .317 over their last six games, so Sunday’s poor offensive showing may seem like a step back. However, they didn’t swing the bat as poorly as the numbers would indicate. Rios lined out to Aybar at short to end the first, Conor Gillaspie lined out to center to end the second and the Angels’ infield snared line drives by Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko to begin and end the fourth. Mike Trout also made a diving catch on Jeff Keppinger's bullet in the right-center field gap to save a run in the seventh.

Up next: The White Sox head home to begin a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox beginning Monday. Chicago will send right-hander right-hander Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27 ERA) to the mound against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.