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OC Register: Late rally comes up short in Angels loss to White Sox


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ANAHEIM — At least the Angels showed some life late in their 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

When a team isn’t hitting, it tends to look lifeless and flat, as the Angels did while managing just one hit in the first seven innings.

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Although it was too little and too late by the time they rallied, it was something to at least provide some entertainment for those who hung around at Angel Stadium.

Beyond that, though, it was the Angels fifth loss in their last six games, as they fell two games under .500 for the first time all year, dropping to 50-52. They lost two in a row to the White Sox (36-64) because their offense showed much of the difficulty it has all year against lefties.

Against Carlos Rodon, they had one hit through seven innings, and their only rally died in the sixth when Andrelton Simmons rounded first too far after the Angels’ first hit, getting tagged out and leaving Mike Trout on deck.

From that ugliness, the Angels woke up just in time to at least provide some drama.

With the Angels down 4-0, Ian Kinsler led off the eighth inning with a double. Two outs later, Kole Calhoun worked a walk. David Fletcher then pulled a double down the left-field line, driving in Kinsler.

Simmons was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases for Trout. With the fans on their feet, Trout fought back from an 0-and-2 count to draw a walk, pushing in a run and bringing the Angels within 4-2. Justin Upton hit a popout to leave the bases loaded.

In the ninth, the Angels came up empty against closer Joakim Soria.

Prior to that rally, the Angels hadn’t done much, and they’d wasted their best chance with the kid of over-aggressive baserunning that often accompanies a team hitting slump.

Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the sixth, Fletcher drew a walk. Simmons then bounced a single up the middle, with Fletcher hustling to third and beating a throw. Simmons rounded first hard on the throw to third, but then third baseman Yolmer Sanchez fired the ball to first baseman José Abreu, nabbing Simmons before he could get back to the bag.

Trout was left on deck.

While the offense did little, Felix Peña gave the Angels a chance by allowing just two runs in six innings.

He gave up both runs in the third. With one out and a runner at second, he allowed an infield hit to Moncada and then he walked Sanchez and Abreu, forcing in a run. Another run scored on a sacrifice fly.

Peña got through the next three innings without allowing a run, the first time he’d finished six innings. The 84 pitches were a new high, after six big league starts.

As a starter, Peña has a 2.73 ERA, with 32 strikeouts in 29-2/3 innings.

Peña has continued to cement his role as a competent major league starting pitcher, which is an accomplishment considering the Angels got him in hopes that he could be a multi-inning reliever.

Injuries forced him into the rotation, and now there doesn’t appear to be anyone waiting to take his job for at least a month, when they may get back Shohei Ohtani or Matt Shoemaker.

“I think he’s starting to get into that starter mentality better,” Manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “It’s a little different when you always pitched out of the bullpen. There is a lot on his plate getting, an opportunity to get in the rotation for the first time. But I think he has got a lot of confidence. He goes out there and makes his pitches. He’s been pitching really good baseball for us.”

More to come on this story.

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