ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jeff Samardzija has preferred the comfort level of former Cubs teammate Geovany Soto behind the plate. But after Samardzija made three bad starts in a row, manager Robin Ventura mixed it up and started Tyler Flowers at catcher Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
It seemed to work as Samardzija held the Angels to a run on seven innings in a 1-0 White Sox loss.
“I’m confident with either of those guys back there,” Samardzija said. “It’s more about what you are doing out there as a pitcher and locating your pitches. Whatever fingers they are putting down, there’s a right location and right spot for it. So you just need to hit those spots.”
Samardzija missed his spot with one pitch that cost him, a homer by catcher Carlos Perez — his third of the season. It was enough to deal the sinking Sox (55-63) their third defeat in three games on a seven-game road trip.
“I fall behind 2-0 with one out and you leave one over the plate and it gets taken advantage of,” Samardzija said. “That one will be in your head for a while.”
Samardzija pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the second and finished with seven strikeouts — his highest total since he struck out nine Orioles on the Fourth of July — in his best start since he held the Indians to a run over eight innings on July 23.
“I’m happy with the fact that what had been getting me in trouble before was giving up little hits and letting them get to me and then it snowballs,” Samardzija said. “I wanted to go out there and stay in control of the game and continue to make good pitches. Regardless of the results, just keep doing that.”
Samardzija (8-9, 4.64 ERA) entered the game 0-3 with a 12.91 ERA since the trade deadline. He was on pace for 166 strikeouts, which would be the fewest in his career since he became a full-time starter.
Keeping the Sox off balance with a super-slo curve ball, Jered Weaver (5-9, 4.34 ERA) held the Sox to five hits over 6 1/3 innings.
“He had an outstanding command of his curveball,” said Jose Abreu, who was 7-for-his-last-12 going in but failed to hit the ball out of the infield in four at-bats. “It’s a soft pitch, it’s difficult to follow and when he has the control, for you as a hitter, it’s very difficult because it keeps you off balance every time. Sometimes you can’t make that adjustment during the game.”
The Sox, who have scored four runs in three games, will try to avoid a four-game sweep Thursday night.
LaRoche sits again
Adam LaRoche already has surrendered his designated-hitter duties against left-handers, and now his at-bats against right-handers also are dwindling.
Pinch-hitting for Alexei Ramirez with two runners on and one out in the ninth against reliever Joe Smith, LaRoche was given a chance but he hit into a 3-6-1 double play, the game ending on a replay challenge that went against the Sox after LaRoche was called safe.
“With [side-winder] Smith going you want to get as many lefties as you can,” Ventura said. “It was a spot where hopefully he can pop one or get a base hit and we still had Sanchey [Carlos Sanchez] coming up right behind him but they won. They put it where they wanted to.”
A tough year for LaRoche seems to get tougher with each passing day. He has one hit in his last 23 at-bats.
‘‘I told [Ventura] I don’t blame him at all,’’ LaRoche said before the game of his benching. ‘‘I’ve put both of us in this situation. I told him he’s got a lot more patience than I do. I would have benched me two months ago.’’
J.B. Shuck (two hits, 1-for-2 in stolen bases) batted fifth and played right field for the second consecutive game, with Avisail Garcia moving to DH. Signed to a two-year, $25 million deal to bat fourth, LaRoche is hitting .208 with 10 homers.
‘‘I don’t have a great argument to go into [Ventura’s] office and talk my way back into a lineup at the moment,’’ LaRoche said. ‘‘I feel bad putting him in this situation.’’
This and that
The Sox fell to 84-138 (.379) on the road since 2013, the second-worst percentage in the American League behind the Houston Astros (.376).
υ Left-hander Chris Sale will oppose right-hander Felix Hernandez in an All-Star pitching matchup when the Sox open a three-game series Friday against the Seattle Mariners.
Sale is on pace for a franchise-record 288 strikeouts, which would be the most in the majors since Randy Johnson (334) in 2002.