Pickin' up where they left off

It was like the White Sox never had left Angel Stadium after winning the American League Championship Series.

An Angel Stadium sellout crowd of 43,940 booed villain A.J. Pierzynski on Friday night but wound up witnessing a pounding reminiscent of the Sox's three-game sweep here last October.

The Sox took charge with eight runs in the second and third innings, right fielder Jermaine Dye hit an impressive homer and made two exceptional catches and Freddy Garcia became the winningest Venezuelan major-league pitcher en route to an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

The only significant difference from the playoffs was that the Sox bullpen was used, and Brandon McCarthy gave up two runs in the seventh. But Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks got the final seven outs.

Cotts was the only Sox reliever who appeared in the ALCS, pitching two-thirds of an inning in Game 1.

Although the Sox (15-7) won for only the 16th time in their last 55 regular-season games in Anaheim since 1995, they looked like a seasoned team as they evened their record to 2-2 on this eight-game trip while staying 1½ games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central.

Garcia (4-1) pitched well enough to win his fourth consecutive start and surpassed former Sox left-hander Wilson Alvarez by winning his 103rd big-league game. Garcia, who beat the Angels in a complete-game effort in Game 4 for the ALCS, overcame a rocky first inning to improve his lifetime record against the Angels to 12-3.

"For a while I thought no one would break that record," manager Ozzie Guillen said of Alvarez's milestone. "But Freddy has worked hard. We have a lot of [Venezuelan] pitchers in the majors now, so it will be broken again."

Garcia was aided by a five-run second in which the Sox scored all their runs with two outs. Struggling rookie center fielder Brian Anderson drew a bases-loaded walk off Jeff Weaver to score the first run.

Leadoff batter Scott Podsednik hit a two-run single and Tadahito Iguchi highlighted a three-hit game that snapped a 2-for-14 rut by ripping a two-run double over the head of Garret Anderson and off the left-field fence.

"We've been great in the clutch this year," Guillen said.

The Sox added three more runs in the third to knock out Weaver and provide valuable insurance. Dye hit a two-run, line-drive homer that was clocked at 99 m.p.h. as it sailed over the center-field fence. Dye's homer was his third in three games and he has driven in 18 runs in his last 14 games.

Pierzynski hit a single up the middle and scored on Juan Uribe's double that snapped an 0-for-15 slump and knocked Weaver out of the game.

The Angels never let up despite their large deficit. Garcia walked Chone Figgins to start the third and Figgins stole second despite trailing by six runs. He ended up scoring on Vladimir Guerrero's groundout.

Dye bailed out Garcia in the sixth after he had allowed one-out hits to Anderson and Tim Salmon. Dye made a diving catch in shallow right to rob Darrin Erstad of a hit and then robbed Casey Kotchman of an extra-base hit with a running catch near the right-field wall before smashing his left knee into the wall.

"When he first hit it, I thought it was gone," Dye said.