Rodriguez walked three in the ninth, forcing in a run, and then struck out Juan Uribe with the bases loaded Wednesday night as the Angels hung on to beat the Chicago White Sox 10-7 and avoid a three-game sweep.
"It's tough to be out for a while and then come back," said Rodriguez, making his first appearance since May 14 before going on the DL with a strained right forearm.
"I was expecting a better outing than that, but that's how it is. I lost my release point and my control. And that cost me a run and almost the ballgame," he added.
The Angels bounced back from tough ninth-inning losses Monday and Tuesday as Dallas McPherson homered and also hit a go-ahead RBI double in a four-run seventh.
"I'm just seeing the ball a little better," McPherson said. "I've slowed it down a little bit and gotten a little more comfortable. It's really starting to come around a little bit for me."
Chicago closer Dustin Hermanson's season-opening scoreless streak ended at 21 innings when the Angels got two runs in the ninth.
Pitching in a non-save situation and on the mound for the first time since May 25, Hermanson walked McPherson and gave up a single to Bengie Molina before both runners moved up on a sacrifice. Orlando Cabrera and Adam Kennedy then delivered RBI singles to make it 10-6.
"Ideally you'd like to get him an inning just to get his feet on the ground," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We thought we had that with a four-run lead, but those guys kept battling to get the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning."
Uribe sent a high drive just left of the left-field pole before striking out.
"When he hit the ball it sounded like it was hit good. I saw that the ball was carrying foul," Rodriguez said.
"I thought we had a chance. Juan just missed a home run and we had some good at-bats," Pierzynski said of the ninth.
After Erstad moved to third on a fly, McPherson sliced a double to left, giving the Angels a 6-5 lead and finishing Walker, who was demoted to the minors after the game.
With the infield in, Molina greeted Luis Vizcaino with a two-run single to center, pushing the lead to 8-5.
Carl Everett, 6-for-42 in his previous 13 games, hit a two-run double in the sixth to put the White Sox ahead 5-4.
Paul Byrd (5-4) gave up a leadoff single by Scott Podsednik, who stole second and went to third on a sacrifice before Aaron Rowand was hit by a pitch and Everett delivered the double to the right-field corner.
Earlier, Everett hit his seventh homer to cut the Angels' lead to 4-3.
Byrd yielded five runs and six hits in six innings, striking out six and also giving up a two-run homer to Rowand in the first.
McPherson's 431-foot homer to center, a two-run shot off Jose Contreras, tied the game in the fourth and then the Angels took advantage of an error on Chicago first baseman Perez to score two more.
Perez, playing first for the first time in his major league career, dropped Pierzynski's throw on Molina's squibber in front of the plate for an error.
"On the error he made, it was kind of a tough throw. I thought he thought the ball was going to bounce and it handcuffed him a little," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Molina moved up on a grounder to Perez and scored on Cabrera's two-out double. Kennedy followed with an RBI single to give the Angels a 4-2 lead.
Contreras gave up five hits and four runs in six innings.
- Perez was starting for Paul Konerko, who was given the night off to rest and even skipped pregame drills.
- McPherson's two-run homer beat Contreras and the White Sox 3-2 on May 26. His three RBI Wednesday night were a career high.