White Sox cling to division lead after 4-2 loss
By BETH HARRIS
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Jose Quintana had a wild outing against the Los Angeles Angels, getting roughed up for four runs in the first inning and then being called for a balk that led to White Sox manager Robin Ventura's ejection.
Chicago's fourth straight loss, 4-2 on Saturday night, cut its AL Central lead to a half-game over Detroit.
Quintana (6-5) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, struck out three and walked five. The Angels did all their damage in the first.
"It was definitely a tough inning, and my mindset was just to get through it and work on what I normally do to get guys out," he said through a translator. "I don't put any pressure on myself. I just tried to keep the game close so that our team had a chance to win. I try to approach every lineup the same way, but the Angels are definitely a good offensive team, and I had that in mind."
Ventura was tossed in the fourth by first base umpire Ed Hickox with the White Sox trailing 4-1. The Angels had runners at the corners with none out when Quintana made an attempted pickoff throw to first baseman Paul Konerko, who was playing way off the bag against the right-handed hitting Mike Trout. Quintana led Konerko to the bag with his throw, and was called for his second balk of the season.
"I don't even know exactly how that went about because it was a designed play, so I was a little surprised that the balk was called," Quintana said. "I still don't understand it. I would have to look at the video. But it's a play that we have. It's not one that we've tried all the time, but we definitely practiced it in spring training."
Hickox told a pool reporter that Quintana didn't throw directly to first base, but 8 to 10 feet toward second baseman Gordon Beckham.
"Konerko was not breaking until after the pitcher threw the ball and then he was just trying to catch the ball. So in my judgment, there was no attempt to retire the runner," the umpire said. "My view and my judgment is that Konerko just went to try to catch the ball from going down the line."
Haren (12-11) allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings, struck out four and walked one for his first win in Anaheim since beating Tampa Bay on July 27. He had been 0-3 with an 8.77 ERA in three home starts since then.
"There were a couple of spots where we could have (gotten to Haren), but he got double play balls," Ventura said. "We had something going, but he makes a good pitch and you get doubled up."
Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth to earn his 20th save in 23 chances after giving up a go-ahead home run in each of his previous two outings.
The Angels have won six of nine and are 2 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card.
The Angels failed to score in that inning after loading the bases.
They tied a season high with four runs in the first. Albert Pujols' ground-rule double - the 500th of his career - scored Trout, who walked. Torii Hunter added an RBI single before Trumbo's two-run single with two outs made it 4-0.
Chicago's first run came on Konerko's 24th homer leading off the second. They added another run on pinch-hitter DeWayne Wise's groundout to second off Garrett Richards.
NOTES: It was Ventura's fourth ejection in his first year as a manager. His last was on Aug. 25 against Seattle. ... Konerko's homer was the first extra-base hit of his career against Haren, who had previously given up six singles to Konerko.
Updated September 23, 2012