|Chi. White Sox (20-20) «||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||10||1|
|L.A. Angels (24-19)||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||3||9||0|
He grounded out that time, but came through in the ninth when it mattered most.
"I was so happy for him, just for the fact that he got that hit," said A.J. Pierzynski, who scored the deciding run. "Everyone's kind of been on him a little bit. And to have him up in that situation and have him get that hit was huge for the team and obviously huge for him. I think that'll get him going."
Pierzynski led off the ninth with his third hit of the game and second double. He tagged up and advanced to third on Carlos Quentin's flyout to the warning track in center and scored when Thome stroked a 1-0 pitch to right field. He was 0-for-13 in the series before getting his third hit in 21 at-bats on the road trip.
The White Sox now go to San Francisco for three games, but Thome will not start any of them because the designated hitter rule is not in effect at NL ballparks. This season has started out miserably for the five-time All-Star, who is batting a measly .204 after entering this season with a career average of .281.
"Everybody was rooting for him big-time," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That guy is a class act and he shows up every day the same way. One thing about him, he never gives up on himself. He's always trying to give you the best at-bats he can. That big hit was good for the ballclub, but it was the best thing for him. We believe in him."
Octavio Dotel (2-2) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings for the victory and Bobby Jenks got three outs for his eighth save in 10 attempts. Jenks, a former Angels prospect claimed off waivers by Chicago after the 2004 season, has 95 career saves.
"Just about everyone in the organization felt he could have been a terrific starter, but he also had the ability to be a closer or a setup guy because he had a power arm," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously that's gotten him to the big leagues and allowed him to achieve.
"Bobby never really got his feet on the ground when we had him. He had a lot of growing up to do, and he did. When the White Sox got him, they put him in Double-A, where he went to the bullpen and started to figure stuff out. He really fed off of that kind of situation, and he's done well."
Last season, Jenks became the first pitcher in White Sox history with back-to-back 40-save seasons. During one stretch, the two-time All-Star retired 41 consecutive batters to tie Jim Barr's major league record with San Francisco.
"The biggest thing I can attribute my success to is that I became a pitcher, not just a guy who goes out there and tries to throw it by everybody," Jenks said. "After I had the surgery on my elbow, the best idea for me was to eliminate as many innings as possible. And obviously, the best way to do that is by going to the bullpen."
Garland allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in his first regular-season game against the Sox since getting traded to the Angels in November for shortstop Orlando Cabrera. The right-hander pitched with runners on base in every inning but the sixth, walking four and striking out one.
Garland was an All-Star with Chicago in 2005, when he won a World Series ring and became the first White Sox pitcher in 70 years to win his first eight starts en route to the first of back-to-back 18-victory seasons.
"He did great for us, and you hate to lose a guy like that. I haven't gotten used to it yet," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "Anytime I've seen him in spring training or saw him on TV, it hasn't looked right. But I know he loves it out here because he's close to home. He's a California guy, so it's a good fit for him. He went to a great team that's been in playoff contention every year."
Javier Vazquez took a 3-2 lead into the seventh before Maicer Izturis hit a two-out infield single and took third on Vladimir Guerrero's double. Matt Thornton relieved Vazquez and got Garret Anderson to hit a grounder to third baseman Joe Crede, whose fielding error allowed the tying run to score.
Vazquez allowed three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits over 6 2/3 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
|Reggie Willits' painful play isn't enough to help the Angels take down the White Sox. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||4||0||0||1||0||2||1||.224|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||5||1||3||1||0||0||0||.315|
|Carlos Quentin, LF||3||0||1||0||2||0||1||.294|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||5||0||2||0||0||0||4||.293|
|Jim Thome, DH||4||0||1||1||1||0||5||.204|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||5||1||1||0||0||0||2||.215|
|Joe Crede, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.271|
|Nick Swisher, CF||2||0||1||0||2||0||1||.211|
|Brian Anderson, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.244|
|Juan Uribe, 2B||3||1||0||1||0||0||1||.198|
|Alexei Ramirez, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.143|
|2B - A.J. Pierzynski 2 (14, Garland, Rodriguez)|
|SF - Orlando Cabrera (1)|
|RBI - Orlando Cabrera (7), A.J. Pierzynski (16), Jim Thome (23), Juan Uribe (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (5), Jim Thome (3)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|E - Joe Crede (8, Misplayed grounder)|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Matt Thornton (BS,1)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.60|
|Octavio Dotel (W,2-2)||1.1||0||0||0||1||1||0||3.12|
|Bobby Jenks (S,8)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.20|
|HBP - Kotchman (by Javier Vazquez)|
|WP - Javier Vazquez (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 111-76, Matt Thornton 1-1, Octavio Dotel 20-11, Bobby Jenks 16-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 6-8, Matt Thornton 1-0, Octavio Dotel 1-2, Bobby Jenks 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 30, Matt Thornton 1, Octavio Dotel 5, Bobby Jenks 3|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Reggie Willits, CF||5||0||1||0||0||2||0||.286|
|Maicer Izturis, 2B||5||2||2||0||0||0||1||.200|
|Vladimir Guerrero, RF||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Garret Anderson, LF||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.272|
|Torii Hunter, DH||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.292|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||3||0||2||1||0||0||3||.308|
|Erick Aybar, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.284|
|Matt Brown, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.077|
|Jeff Mathis, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.231|
|a- Mike Napoli, PH-C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.247|
|a-struck out for Mathis in the 7th|
|2B - Reggie Willits (2, Vazquez), Vladimir Guerrero (9, Vazquez), Casey Kotchman (8, Vazquez)|
|SH - Erick Aybar (2)|
|RBI - Garret Anderson (23), Casey Kotchman (24)|
|2-OUT RBI - Casey Kotchman (16)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Aybar-Izturis-Kotchman|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Francisco Rodriguez (L,0-1)||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||3.12|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jon Garland 109-64, Darren Oliver 28-13, Jose Arredondo 4-3, Francisco Rodriguez 19-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Garland 8-9, Darren Oliver 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Jon Garland 29, Darren Oliver 7, Jose Arredondo 1, Francisco Rodriguez 5|
|Attendance - 41444|
|Game Time - 3:14|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Tim Welke|