While the Chicago White Sox apparently tried to bring Zack Greinke to the South Side before the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels ultimately wound up with one of the most coveted arms on the market.
Coming off a hard-luck loss, Greinke again tries for his first win with his new team Friday night as the visiting Angels open a three-game set with the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Chicago (57-47) was rumored to be one of several interested teams to miss out on Greinke (0-1, 2.57 ERA), who was shipped from Milwaukee to Los Angeles in a blockbuster deal last Friday. Greinke took the loss two days later in his Angels debut, allowing two runs and seven hits and striking out eight over seven innings of a 2-0 defeat to Tampa Bay.
"Hopefully I'll win a bunch of games and it becomes a fun season," he said. "Everything's just happened pretty fast - traveling here, meeting a bunch of new people, going over things with the catcher and having a day game instead of a night game, which would have made it easier to get adjusted. So a lot of stuff was going on. But once you get on the mound, it's the same game no matter where you're pitching and who it's against."
Despite a couple of impressive outings, the 2009 AL Cy Young award winner went 0-2 with a 5.46 ERA over six starts in July - his first winless month since April 2010. Greinke dominated the White Sox not long before that disappointing stretch began, throwing nine innings of three-hit ball during the Brewers' 1-0, 10-inning road win June 22.
Prior to that gem, Greinke had gone 1-7 with a 7.15 ERA in eight career road starts versus the White Sox. No one in the majors has faced Greinke more than Paul Konerko , who's 9 for 62 (.145) with 17 strikeouts and six walks in their matchups. Alexei Ramirez is 3 for 26 and Kevin Youkilis is 1 for 10.
Greinke will now try to slow down a White Sox club that's hit .321 and outscored opponents 76-36 while winning 10 of 11 at home. Chicago returns to the South Side after winning four of six on a road trip that concluded with Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Minnesota.
Alejandro De Aza went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI and Jake Peavy threw eight strong innings to help the White Sox stay 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Detroit.
"I feel excited to be able to help to this point, but we want to win," Peavy told the team's official website. "It will be a satisfying season in this clubhouse for everybody, no matter what the numbers are at the end, if we find a way to win this (American League) Central and get in the playoffs."
The Angels (57-49) failed to gain any ground on AL West-leading Texas after splitting four games with the Rangers. Los Angeles won the first two games of that set before allowing a combined 26 runs in back-to-back losses, falling 15-9 on Thursday.
"It was kind of a momentum kill from how we played the first two nights to how we played these last two. It's tough," manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels will try to bounce back against Philip Humber (5-5, 5.90), who allowed one run and four hits over six-plus innings Saturday in a 5-2 victory at Texas.
"He was great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You see him getting ahead, really in the strike zone. That's when he's at his best. He's able to command the strike zone throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate."
The right-hander yielded four runs - two earned - over five innings of a 4-3 home loss to Los Angeles on April 15, 2011, his only career start versus the Angels.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|July 30, 2012||Dan Haren||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|July 29, 2012||Mike Trout||Day-to-Day||Left knee contusion|
|July 28, 2012||Scott Downs||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|July 22, 2012||Erick Aybar||15-Day DL||Fractured big right toe|
|July 09, 2012||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Strained right biceps|
|Chicago White Sox|
|July 25, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left ankle|
|July 24, 2012||A.J. Pierzynski||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|July 08, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow tendinitis|
|July 08, 2012||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow tendinitis|
|June 29, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - upset stomach|
|June 25, 2012||Brian Bruney||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
CHICAGO (AP) -- With so many players on the Chicago White Sox having stellar seasons, Alex Rios can tend to go a bit unnoticed.
In reality, he might be having the biggest season of them all.
Rios hit his second homer of the game, connecting for a two-run shot in the 10th inning Friday night that lifted the White Sox over the Los Angeles Angels 8-6.
"He's very underestimated, very undervalued for a lot of people," manager Robin Ventura said. "But for us he's been as solid as anybody in the league."
Rios also hit a solo homer as the White Sox won their third in a row. The Angels lost their third straight, with starter Zack Greinke roughed up in his second start since being acquired from Milwaukee.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia played the game under protest after a baserunning call went against his team in the first inning.
Adam Dunn singled off Hisanori Takahashi (0-3) to open the 10th. Pinch runner Jordan Danks stole second with one out before Rios hit his 18th home run.
Rios raised his average to .318 and he has 67 RBIs, a welcome change from when he hit .227 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs in 145 games last season.
"After last year, what he went through, him and (Dunn), you never want to see anybody struggle like that," said A.J. Pierzynski, who also homered for the White Sox. "For him to bounce back, I couldn't be happier for a guy."
"It's nice to see him get the results he deserves," he said.
Matt Thornton (4-6) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win.
Pierzynski's three-run homer highlighted a four-run first for Chicago. It was his career-high 19th home run, one more than he hit in 2005.
"I guess I just got too fastball happy and I got myself in trouble with Pierzynski," Greinke said. "I didn't think he would be able to do that with that pitch. It was kind of where I wanted, maybe not perfect, but I was really surprised he was able to hit it as far as he did."
Greinke allowed six runs and 10 hits over seven innings.
Albert Pujols hit his fifth home run in four games for the Angels. Mike Trout also connected for Los Angeles.
Alejandro De Aza doubled home Alexei Ramirez in the seventh to make it 6-all. De Aza and Ramirez had three hits apiece.
Scioscia argued a call in the first and then played the game under protest.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Paul Konerko hit a grounder to third base. After getting the out at home, catcher Chris Iannetta threw wide to first, pulling Pujols off the bag.
Scioscia contended that Konerko was not within the base line for the last 45 feet. The umpires convened and upheld the safe call, bringing Scioscia back out for another discussion. After a second umpire meeting, Konerko was still ruled safe, prompting Scioscia's decision to play under protest.
"What took place there was a play at home and the catcher came out and threw to first," crew Chief Dana DeMuth told a pool reporter after the game. "He threw wild. Konerko going down to first was no way interfering with the play at first."
The play loomed large as Pierzynski homered with two outs.
"We're filing with the league and I think it's a very clear case in our favor," Scioscia said. "(Konerko) was inside the line, which it makes it virtually impossible for him not to affect the throw from Iannetta trying to make the throw to first base."
Trout hit a two-run homer, his 19th, in the second. Pujols hit his 23rd in the sixth, a solo drive that chased a struggling Phil Humber.
NOTES: The White Sox sent RHP Chris Devenski to Houston as the player to be named to complete the July 21 trade for RHP Brett Myers . ... Chicago signed OF Dewayne Wise to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte. Wise was released by the Yankees on July 31. He is renowned in White Sox lore for a remarkable ninth-inning catch to preserve Mark Buehrle 's perfect game in 2009. ... Ervin Santana (5-10, 5.97 ERA) will start Saturday for the Angels against Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.28). ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura announced LHP Chris Sale (arm fatigue) will pitch Monday. Sale last pitched July 27 in Texas. ... Angels RHP Dan Haren will pitch on Sunday. Haren was scratched from his Wednesday start due to back stiffness.