The Los Angeles Angels are trying to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season.
Consistent production from Josh Hamilton would surely help, and facing the Chicago White Sox may keep him going in the right direction.
Hamilton will try to build on his recent success and help the Angels capitalize on a three-game series against the last-place White Sox on Friday night.
Los Angeles (12-22) continues to be one of the biggest disappointments in baseball, and a 5-13 road record isn't helping.
The Angels have followed each of their road wins with at least two defeats, but they're hoping to change that after beating Houston 6-5 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Manager Mike Scioscia was pleased after seeing his team rally to win by scoring three times in the eighth inning.
"It's a great character game for our guys," Scioscia said. "I feel good for them. The clubhouse feels good. We held on. We kept pressuring them and got some key hits as the game went on."
Hamilton may be gaining confidence, hitting home runs in each of the last two games after going 20 straight without one. Hamilton, who hit a career-best 43 homers last year, also doubled Thursday but is still batting .213 on the season - .171 on the road. Each of his four homers and six of his 11 RBIs have come against the Astros, who occupy the AL West cellar.
Perhaps facing another last-place team can get Hamilton and the Angels rolling.
Los Angeles has won 11 of 16 versus the White Sox (14-18) over the last two seasons, and Hamilton is a .346 hitter in 24 career games against them with eight homers and 23 RBIs. The five-time All-Star has a .379 average over his last eight visits to U.S. Cellular Field, and he's 2 for 3 with a homer versus Chicago scheduled starter Dylan Axelrod .
The Angels were set to start Tommy Hanson on Friday, but the right-hander was scratched as he continues to deal with a recent death in his family.
Instead, they'll go with Barry Enright (0-1, 9.00 ERA). The righty made a pair of relief appearances in late April for the Angels, but this will be his first major league start since pitching for Arizona in 2011.
He was 1-2 with a 9.61 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this season.
Those poor numbers may not matter against Chicago, which is among the worst teams in the majors with a .227 average. However, the White Sox are coming off one of their best offensive displays of the season in Wednesday's 6-3 win over the New York Mets .
They matched a season high with 13 hits, including three doubles and two homers, after being one-hit by the Mets a day earlier in a 1-0, 10-inning loss.
Konerko is batting .224 overall, including 4 for 23 over the last five.
"He's fighting and working through on it," manager Robin Ventura told the team's official website. "It's not where he wants to be, but you can see glimpses of coming out."
Konerko went 5 for 24 with one homer over the final two three-game series with the Angels last season.
Axelrod (0-2, 3.60) is familiar with Chicago's offensive shortcomings.
The right-hander has been backed by 11 runs over his six starts, while he's held opponents to three runs or fewer in five of them. That includes all three starts at home, where he has no record but a 2.04 ERA.
Axelrod got no help in Saturday's 2-0 loss at Kansas City, as all of the scoring in his 7 2-3 innings came on a two-run triple in the first.
"That's my goal: to get a quality start," Axelrod said. "Every time out, give your team a chance to win. I'm trying to build off that."
|Los Angeles Angels|
|April 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|April 27, 2013||Sean Burnett||15-Day DL||Left forearm irritation|
|April 20, 2013||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Neck stiffness|
|April 20, 2013||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Neck stiffness|
|April 13, 2013||Kevin Jepsen||15-Day DL||Right triceps tightness|
|April 12, 2013||Alberto Callaspo||15-Day DL||Right calf tightness|
|Chicago White Sox|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|May 02, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|April 28, 2013||Gavin Floyd||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|April 22, 2013||Hector Gimenez||Day-to-Day||Left shin|
|April 19, 2013||Dayan Viciedo||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|April 10, 2013||Gordon Beckham||15-Day DL||Fractured hamate bone, left wrist|
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels aren't nearly where they want to be. At least they're making progress.
Mike Trout had two hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, to lead the Angels to a 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. Los Angeles' bullpen pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings for the win, and helped the Angels to their first consecutive victories since beating the Tigers three straight April 19-21.
They also improved to 6-13 on the road. Their seven runs were the most since they scored eight in a 10-8 loss April 29 at Oakland.
"They're all important," said Brendan Harris , who had three hits and a home run. "So if we can get two in a row and just get a little momentum, and everybody can exhale a little bit, it's going lend itself better to really getting on a roll to really get going as we get into May."
The Angels got their second win in a row thanks to a big third inning when they scored four times, and a bullpen that helped Los Angeles survive after expected starter Tommy Hanson was put on the restricted list early Friday.
In his first start of the season, Barry Enright replaced Hanson, lasting 3 1-3 innings, giving up four hits and five runs. Relievers Mark Lowe , Michael Kohn (1-0), Dane De La Rosa and Ernesto Frieri then combined to blank the White Sox, who have lost four of six.
Lowe relieved Enright and worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings, Kohn went an inning, De La Rosa two, then Frieri finished by striking out the side in the ninth for his sixth save in seven tries.
"I think the length that we needed, plus the effectiveness, those guys stepped up big," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Los Angeles, which won Thursday in Houston despite an umpiring error that led to a two-game suspension for crew chief Fieldin Culbreth, fell behind early.
Alejandro De Aza gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the first with a leadoff home run. The home run was De Aza's seventh of the season and seventh career leadoff homer. He's done it three times this season, including on Wednesday at New York. De Aza is the first Chicago player to start consecutive games with a home run since Kenny Lofton in July 2002.
The Angels scored four times in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Albert Pujols had a two-run double and Mark Trumbo an RBI single.
Los Angeles built a 5-1 lead after Harris homered in the fourth, but the White Sox rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the inning to tie it.
After that, the Los Angeles bullpen stifled the White Sox. Because of Hanson's status and injuries to the Angels bullpen, De La Rosa figured Friday might be a long night.
"When I do get the ball I'm willing to throw however many innings they actually need me," he said.
In the seventh, Hank Conger reached on Conor Gillaspie 's error to start the inning and scored on Trout's sharp single to right off reliever Matt Lindstrom that gave the Angels a 6-5 lead. J.B. Shuck then scored on a passed ball.
"We battled back and you give them multiple opportunities and you're going to pay for it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's just the name of it right there. You just can't give these guys a lot of opportunities."
In six-plus innings, Chicago starter Dylan Axelrod allowed six runs and seven hits. Axelrod (0-3) left after Gillaspie's error in the seventh.
"The whole game, I felt really good. It's just an unfortunate thing that they got some runs in the third. That's the frustrating part, where you feel great out there and still give up some runs," Axelrod said. "I can't be that disappointed in my effort because I felt I executed pretty well and they just happened to score."
Scioscia, meanwhile, saw his offense score seven runs and his bullpen finish off a needed win, both of which are some of "the components that you need to start to build momentum."
"It feels good to get this one and move onto tomorrow," he said.
NOTES: Scioscia was asked Friday if owner Arte Moreno needed to give him a public vote of confidence and said "not for what I do. Not for my benefit." Los Angeles entered Friday having lost five of its last seven, fueling speculation about the job security of the Angels manager, who's in his 14th season. ... White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham took 100 swings off a tee before Friday's game. Beckham is on the disabled list after breaking his left hamate bone April 9 in Washington and having surgery on April 16. ... Angels infielder Erick Aybar was not in the lineup after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring Thursday in Houston. Scioscia said Aybar and reliever Scott Downs , who injured his right foot Thursday, are both day-to-day.