The Windy City’s gust was blowing in Los Angeles’s direction all day Tuesday.
Garrett Richards and Jered Weaver each earned their ninth wins, respectively, as the Angels won both games of a doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field. They move within 3 ½ games of AL West-leading Oakland and notch their first doubleheader sweep since July 2009 in Kansas City.
“It was two really good games. Fortunately for us, some of the mistakes didn’t hurt us as much as they could have,” Scioscia said in a post-game interview on Fox Sports West.
In Game 1, Jose Abreu smashed a three-run homer off Richards in the first. The right-hander-coming off posting a career-low 1.05 ERA in June- only allowed one hit from that point on, retired 23 of his final 25 batters.
Richards (9-2)continued his All-Star campaign with the eight-inning, nine strikeout performance. He’s limited opponents to three runs or fewer in each start since June 4, though the Halos’ 2-4 hitters would provide more than enough run support.
With runners on first and second, Mike Trout roped his team-leading 19th homer down the left field line, narrowly clearing the fence. Albert Pujols followed with a solo shot to give the Angels a 4-3. Two innings later, Josh Hamilton lined Ronald Belisario’s slider beyond the right-center field fence for his fourth bomb of the season.
The trio homers together for the first time since May 17, 2013.
Following an 8-4 win, Weaver took the bump in search of his ninth career win over Chicago. He’s held the South Siders to two runs over the last 15 innings while carrying a lifetime 1.70 ERA.
An Angels offense that tallied eight RBIs and seven walks earlier continued the trend in the night cap.
Behind two-hit efforts from Trout, Kole Calhoun and Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles forced six walks off White Sox pitching. Calhoun-who fifth inning home run gave the Angels the lead- led off the seventh with a walk. Two more base on balls later, he scored when Kendrick took four out of the zone with the bases loaded.
In the eight, Erick Aybar exhibited why he leads American League shortstops in fielding percentage. Aybar robbed Viciedo of a line-drive double that would have placed runners on second and third. One play later, he fielded a hot-shot up the middle, flipped the ball to Kendrick and completed a stellar, inning-ending double play.
Joe Smith completed the six hour day with his ninth save of the season. Smith, who picked up his eighth in Game 1, has inadvertently taken over Los Angeles’ closer role.
“We wouldn’t be talking about any kind of pennant race or anything without Joe Smith. He’s anchored our bullpen,” Scioscia said. “He’s maybe not your prototypical closer as far as coming in throwing 97 with a nasty breaking ball, but he has the ability to get ground balls and throws strikes.”