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Sox still a mess out west
The Anaheim Angels have come to expect this kind of production from Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson.
Anderson hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning and Guerrero had a three-run homer, leading the Anaheim Angels to a 7-5 victory over the White Sox on Friday night.
"We certainly depend on all the guys in our lineup -- but when guys are on base, I don't think there are two guys we want up there more than Vlad and G.A.," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Tonight was their night. They had big hits, and we needed them."
The Angels, who rallied to win for the 38th time this season, pulled to a game of first in the AL West after Oakland lost to Cleveland, 4-3 in 12 innings. Anaheim remained five games back of Boston, 13-2 winners over Seattle, in the wild-card race.
David Eckstein, who began the game on the bench because of a 4-for-30 slump, led off the eighth with a single against reliever Jeff Bajenaru (0-1). He was sacrificed to second before Damaso Marte came in and intentionally walked Guerrero with two outs and Eckstein at third.
Guerrero stole second before Anderson, the Angels' MVP in each of the last three seasons, drove in both runners when he lined a 2-2 pitch off the glove of third baseman Joe Crede.
Guerrero gave the Angels a 5-2 lead in the seventh with his 30th home run, a three-run shot that capped a four-run rally. It was the sixth time he reached the 30-homer mark in the majors, and increased his RBI total to 107.
"He's one of the top three players in the game, so anybody that picked him up was going to greatly improve their chances." White Sox's first baseman Pual Konerko said. "But as their team showed a couple of years ago, it's more than just one guy. That's what won the World Series for them."
The White Sox tied it with three in the eighth against reliever Francisco Rodriguez (3-1) after second baseman Adam Kennedy made a fielding error on Carlos Lee's leadoff grounder.
Konerko singled and Ross Gload followed with a run-scoring ground-rule double. One out later, Timo Perez tied it with a two-run single to left.
Rodriguez was credited with the victory despite allowing three runs and three hits. Troy Percival pitched a scoreless ninth for his 28th save in 33 attempts, tying him with Tom Henke for 13th place on the career list with 311 saves.
"We came back, and that's what matters," Guerrero said as teammate Jose Molina translated for him. "We didn't lose any concentration. We just tried to come back and win the game."
The White Sox started the night eight games behind Minnesota in the AL Central and have six games left with the Twins. But Konerko said this defeat didn't even make his top 10 list of tough losses this year.
"We showed some heart by battling back," Konerko said. "But that's why they're a good team. A lot of teams would just crater after blowing a three-run lead late like that, the way they did."
Chicago right-hander Jon Garland, who was charged with two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, walked Bengie Molina leading off the seventh and departed after pinch-runner Dallas McPherson was sacrificed to second by pinch-hitter Eckstein.
Neal Cotts came in and walked Chone Figgins before Darin Erstad's bloop single to center scored McPherson, who was making his big league debut. Guerrero then greeted Jon Adkins with a towering drive just inside the left-field pole on the first pitch to give the Angels their first lead.
Angels starter John Lackey allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings and worked with runners on base in each of the first five innings.
Chicago opened the scoring on an RBI single by Perez. Third baseman Figgins prevented another run when he made a diving stop of Crede's grounder in the hole and started an inning-ending double play while on his knees.
The White Sox made it 2-0 in the third when Aaron Rowand doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a bloop single to right field by Lee.
The Angels scratched out a run in the bottom half when Erstad walked, took third on Guerrero's single and scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Anderson.
Notes: Angels LF Jose Guillen went 3-for-4, but left the game for a pinch-runner in the seventh because of strained nerve in his right arm.