ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ervin Santana struck out 11 while pitching seven innings of two-hit ball and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 6-2 on Friday night to gain ground in the playoff race.
Mike Trout and Kendrys Morales homered for Los Angeles, which pulled within 3 1/2 games of Oakland for the second AL wild card. The Athletics lost 2-1 to the New York Yankees in 10 innings.
Chicago’s lead in the AL Central was trimmed to 1 1/2 games over second-place Detroit, which had its series opener against Minnesota postponed by rain. White Sox starter Jake Peavy (11-12) gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings.
Alejandro De Aza got the White Sox off to a fast start with a leadoff homer in the first, but Santana (9-12) quickly recovered and retired 21 of his final 23 batters, walking Gordon Beckham with one out in the third and giving up a two-out single to Alexei Ramirez in the fifth.
Ramirez’s 11 strikeouts matched a career high and he only walked one while throwing 108 pitches.
Morales hit a leadoff drive in the second and Trout went deep in the seventh. Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter had two RBIs apiece.
The Angels grabbed the lead for good in the third when Pujols’ bloop single to left-center fell in front of center fielder De Aza, who misplayed the ball to allow Trout to score behind Chris Iannetta.
Hunter drove in two more runs in the fourth, extending the Angels’ lead to 5-1 with a bases-loaded single to left with two outs.
Trout now has 28 homers for Los Angeles, which had lost five of its previous seven home games. The rookie is one of the top contenders for the AL MVP award.
NOTES: Trout became the first major league rookie to score 120 runs or more in a season since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki had 127 in 2001, and the fourth rookie since 1964 to notch 120 or more runs. … White Sox slugger Paul Konerko was back in the lineup a day after sitting out because of a minor back injury. He went 0 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter. … Hunter’s RBIs gave him 82 on the season, surpassing the 81 he had last year. … De Aza’s leadoff homer was his fourth this season.