A May 14 loss to Baltimore might have served as a wakeup call for Freddy Garcia.
Since then, Garcia has steered his season back on course. He pitched eight strong innings Wednesday night to lead the White Sox to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In his last two starts, Garcia has allowed only two earned runs in 15 innings. Before Wednesday's game, manager Ozzie Guillen raved about Garcia's last start, when he scattered five hits in seven innings against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
But Garcia was nearly as dominant this time as he improved his lifetime record against the Angels to 11-3.
Garcia's performance allowed the Sox (33-14) to match the best 47-game start in franchise history, set by the 1951 team.
"When we made the trade for Freddy, this is what we expected," Guillen said. "He takes the pressure off the next guy."
Dustin Hermanson pitched the final two-thirds of an inning to convert his 11th save in as many opportunities. Hermanson extended his streak of scoreless innings to 21.
Hermanson relieved left-hander Damaso Marte, who opened the ninth by allowing a leadoff single to Garret Anderson and inducing Steve Finley to hit into a force play at second. Marte had thrown two perfect innings in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Angels in 11 innings.
Garcia's transformation followed a two-game losing streak. His worst outing of the season came against the Orioles, when he failed to hold a 5-2 lead and allowed a season-high seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a 9-6 loss.
"They told me to be more aggressive," Garcia said. "They told me to throw my fastball more."
In the past, Garcia has suffered from a lack of run support. He entered Wednesday's game with an average of 4.3 runs per start. But Paul Konerko staked Garcia to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first by launching a three-run homer off left-hander Jarrod Washburn that struck the back wall of the Angels' bullpen.
Konerko's homer was his 12th of the season and his second in four games.
Chris Widger, starting for the first time since May 15, went 3-for-4 and hit a solo homer in the second to give Garcia a 4-0 lead. Widger last caught Garcia on April 11, when Garcia pitched eight innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win at Cleveland.
Widger is 10-for-19 with four doubles and a homer in his last five starts.
"That kid makes me look like I know the game," Guillen said. "This guy stays in the game even when he's on the bench."
Garcia had ample defensive help. In the fourth, Konerko made a quick stop of Anderson's hard grounder to start a double play.
And Pablo Ozuna, starting in left for only the fifth time, made a diving catch to rob Chone Figgins of a hit to start the sixth. Ozuna was starting in place of Scott Podsednik, whom Guillen wanted to rest.
Garcia allowed a run in the third on Adam Kennedy's double but held the Angels scoreless until the eighth.
With two out, Figgins singled off the glove of second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and scored when Darin Erstad ripped a double past Konerko. Garcia threw a wild pitch that advanced Erstad to third but gained redemption when he struck out Jeff DaVanon.
Garcia (5-3) improved to 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA on the road this year. And the Sox improved to 9-5 in games against left-handed starters.
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