Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

Saunders wins 4th straight, 7-1 over White Sox

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[September 12, 2009]  ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Saunders won his fourth straight start, Bobby Abreu drove in two runs without the benefit of a hit and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 on Friday night.

Saunders (13-7) allowed just three hits over seven innings, struck out three and retired his final 15 batters after Jayson Nix homered leading off the third. The left-hander has a 1.85 ERA over his last four outings, after a stretch of eight starts in which he was 1-3 with a 9.63 ERA.

HardwareVladimir Guerrero and Maicer Izturis each had two RBIs as the Angels' fourth straight win and seventh in eight games increased their AL West lead to 5 1/2 over the Texas Rangers, whose scheduled home game against Seattle was rained out. The Angles are a season-best 30 games over .500 and are vying for their fifth division title in six years.

Angels starters have allowed no more than one earned run in 10 of the team's last 13 games, including John Lackey's five-hit shutout Thursday night against Seattle.

Gavin Floyd (11-10) gave up five runs and six hits over five innings. The 26-year-old right-hander got through eight innings in each of his two previous starts against the Angels this season, losing a 3-1 decision to Jered Weaver and beating rookie Sean O'Sullivan 6-2.


Coming off a three-game sweep of the Mariners, a team with the best ERA in the AL, the Angels went up against a pitching staff with the league's second-best ERA and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Abreu's run-scoring groundout and Guerrero's RBI single. The eight-time All-Star hadn't driven in a run in his 15 previous career at-bats against Floyd.

Saunders escaped a jam in the second, turning a comebacker by Alex Rios into an inning-ending double play with two men on. It was a key moment because the on-deck hitter was Nix, who hit a pair of solo homers against Saunders the last time they faced each other on May 26 at Anaheim.

Nix victimized Saunders again in the rematch with a towering drive into the lower seats in the left field corner on a 2-1 pitch for his 12th homer of the season. It ended a 2-for-19 slump by the White Sox's No. 9 hitter, who is second among AL rookies in home runs, two behind Baltimore's Nolan Reimold.

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The Angels increased the margin to 5-1 with three runs in the fifth. Izturis, who came in 2 for 14 against Floyd, lined a two-run double after a single by Erick Aybar and a walk to Chone Figgins. Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly.

NOTES: Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, 15 years after his failed attempt to become a major league outfielder. Jordan tried out with the White Sox in 1994 as a non-roster invitee to spring training in Sarasota, Fla., following his first retirement from the NBA. He played 127 games with Double-A Birmingham, batting .202 with 51 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 114 strikeouts. ... Six of Chicago's final nine regular-season games will be against Detroit, whom they still trail by six games in the AL Central with 20 to play overall. ... Chicago 3B Gordon Beckham returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a strained oblique muscle on his right side. He was 0 for 4 and did not hit a ball out of the infield.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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