CHICAGO (AP) — Two of the brightest stars in the American League traded three-run home runs in the first game of the doubleheader between the White Sox and Angels.
The difference in the game was that Mike Trout received plenty of help from his Los Angeles teammates, while Jose Abreu received virtually none in an 8-4 loss Tuesday that snapped Chicago’s three-game win streak. The White Sox mustered only two other hits against starter Garrett Richards (9-2) and a pair of relievers.
“They are similar power-wise and being able to use both sides of the field,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of the young sluggers. “You look at the way the ball comes off their bats at the plate, and it’s a very similar path.”
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia’s comment before the game that Abreu’s power “plays in the Grand Canyon” soon proved accurate. Abreu slammed a three-run, opposite-field home run off Richards in the first inning, becoming the first player in major league history to hit 26 homers in his first 70 games.
“In the spring you could see that the talent, the bat speed and the strength were there,” Scioscia said of Abreu, a Rookie of the Year front-runner. “He has obviously turned them into a terrific first half with the power and production numbers. He’s a force, no doubt about it. He’s someone you have to contain.”
Chicago starter Hector Noesi (2-6) took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back homers to give the Angels a 4-3 lead they never relinquished. Two innings later, Josh Hamilton also went deep, his first home run since June 3.
Trout demonstrated his power by pulling an outside pitch down the left-field line.
“He did not hit that ball good, you know?” shrugged Noesi, who struggled with his command and allowed five runs on three hits and seven walks in five innings. “They call this the Windy City, so maybe the wind (aided it).”
Richards struck out nine and walked two in nine innings, his longest outing of the season. He had a 4-0 record in June with a franchise-record 1.05 ERA.
Los Angeles newcomer Rich Hill loaded the bases with none out in the ninth inning, but Chicago scored only once as Joe Smith earned his eighth save.
After Chris Iannetta’s RBI single with one out in the eighth inning plated pinch-runner John McDonald, Pujols scored the final run on a fielder’s choice groundout in the Angels’ ninth.
In the sixth inning, White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario gave up an RBI single to Iannetta that scored Howie Kendrick (walk) for a 5-3 advantage. Hamilton’s two-out shot to center field made it 6-3 in the seventh inning.
The Angels are 4-0 against the White Sox this season and have won eight of 10 overall since June 20.
There was a 30-minute break between games of the single-admission doubleheader, quickly arranged following Monday’s rainout.
NOTES: Ventura said LHP Chris Sale (7-1, 2.30 ERA) is a worthy All-Star candidate despite spending a month on the disabled list. “You’re looking at a guy at the top of his game,” Ventura said. “His numbers prove it.” ... Abreu extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest by a White Sox rookie since Ross Gload ended 2004 with a 16-game run. ... Pujols was in the lineup despite a swollen lymph gland near his right groin. “It shouldn’t be anything that’s going to impact what he needs to do,” Scioscia said. ... The Angels acquired Hill from Boston for cash earlier in the day. The veteran left-hander had a 3-3 record and 3.23 ERA in 25 relief appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket.