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White Sox held to five hits in 3-2 loss to Angels

Brett Lawrie, right, hops over Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout to turn one of four Sox double plays Thursday. (AP, Rex Arbogast)

Say this for the White Sox, they have some fight-to-the-finish moxie. But do they have enough ammunition?

On a day when John Danks starts and the opponent is held to three runs, it’s not too much to expect victory, but the light-hitting Sox (10-6) threatened in the ninth but came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, settling for a split of a four-game series.

The Sox say not to worry, this tenth of a season sample size is small. But a level of frustration exists knowing some extra pop – with the American League leading pitching they’ve put out there – could have them standing at 12-4 or 13-3 right now. The Sox have scored three runs or less in 10 of their games and have lost three games when holding opponents to three runs or less.

The Sox had three hits against slow and slower right-hander Jered Weaver in seven innings and finished with five hits.

“Pitchers have been doing their jobs,” said Todd Frazier, who’s two-out homer in the ninth inning against Huston Street got the Sox within a run. “We’ve been up and down a little bit. But to say we’ve been scuffling, I think that’s the wrong term. We’ve been playing well. We haven’t been getting 8, 9 or 10 runs a game but we’ve been winning. Pitchers do their job and we find a way to get a couple of runs, we’ll take 2-1 wins every day of the week.”

 

The close wins will be appreciated late in the year, Frazier said. But what of the 2-1 and 3-2 losses that will continue to mount if slugger Jose Abreu (.190, one double, six RBI) doesn’t come out of his 4-for-37 slump? Or if Avisail Garcia (0-for-3 to fall to .146) supplies little at designated hitter?

 

“[Abreu is] chasing pitches, trying to do too much,” manager Robin Ventura said. “When you’re hitting .190, you’re a .190 hitter and there’s a reason why you’re doing it, probably because you’re chasing pitches. Is he better than that? Do we expect more of him? Absolutely, and we have confidence he’s going to do that. As soon as he stops chasing it he’s going to be just fine.”

 

On the plus side, Frazier (.206) has shown signs of life with hits in his last three games, including two homers.

 

“It’s a small sample size still,’’ Frazier said. “But we win those close games, at the end of the year, it comes up big.’’

 

Mike Trout belted a two-run homer in the fifth against Danks, and catcher Carlos Perez – on his second attempt – squeezed bunted Kole Calhoun across in the ninth against Zach Duke with the Angels’ third run.

That turned out to be the game-winner. The Sox made it interesting in the ninth after Frazier homered and Cabrera and Lawrie walked with two outs. But Austin Jackson flied out to the left field wall to end the game.

“The wind is blowing in a little bit and in the summer that probably goes but it didn’t sound like he got it as well as he could have,” Ventura said. “But I appreciate and like the effort in the ninth inning of being able to bring the winning run at the plate or put it on base and grind out a ninth inning. I like that about our team.”

 

Danks (6.27 ERA), who didn’t give the Sox a chance to win his first two times out, lost his first three starts for the first time in his career.

 

“I’m not worried about how it looks,” he said. “I’m pleased to keep us in the game. But I certainly need to be sharper than that, and we will. It’s just a step in the right direction, I would say.”

But aside from Melky Cabrera’s home run in the seventh inning that cut the Angels’ lead in half and Frazier’s fourth homer, the only other runners to get into scoring position before the ninth was Lawrie, who doubled with two outs in the second. In the eighth, pinch runner Tyler Saladino was picked off first by Joe Smith after Alex Avila singled with one out.

“We need to score some runs,’’ Ventura said. “I don’t think anyone out there early was breaking the radar gun. We needed to do something and ‘Weave’ kept spinning it in there, taking something off and we couldn’t get it going.”