Chicago at Anaheim

L.A. Angels
W: J. Saunders (13-7) L: G. Floyd (11-10)
HR: CHW - J. Nix (12)   ANA - None

Angels 7, White Sox 1 wire reports

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Now that he's healthy again, Joe Saunders is starting to look like the same pitcher who got off to such a terrific start last season.

And the timing couldn't be better for the Los Angeles Angels.

Saunders won his fourth straight outing since coming off the disabled list, Bobby Abreu drove in two runs without the benefit of a hit and the Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 on Friday night.

"It's like night and day, besides the results," said Saunders, who missed 17 games last month because of irritation in his shoulder. "I feel strong. I feel good, I feel confident, and I've turned the page. I'm way past the injury and the DL stint, and I'm ready to go through the stretch."

Saunders (13-7) allowed just three hits over seven innings, struck out three and retired his final 15 batters after Jayson Nix homered leading off the third. The left-hander has a 1.85 ERA over his last four outings, after a stretch of eight starts in which he was 1-3 with a 9.63 ERA.

Saunders escaped a jam in the second, turning a comebacker by Alex Rios into an inning-ending double play with two men on. It was a key moment because the on-deck hitter was Nix, who hit a pair of solo homers against Saunders the last time they faced each other on May 26 at Anaheim.

Nix got to Saunders again in the rematch with a towering drive into the lower seats in the left-field corner for his 12th homer of the season. It ended a 2-for-19 slump by the White Sox's No. 9 hitter, who is second among AL rookies in home runs, two behind Baltimore's Nolan Reimold.

"Honestly, I don't even remember when I'm out there what everybody's done to me. I'm going out there and pitching my game regardless of who's up there and going after them," Saunders said. "Nix was looking to drive the ball, and it was just the wrong pitch at the wrong time."

Vladimir Guerrero and Maicer Izturis each had two RBI as the Angels' fourth straight win and seventh in eight games increased their AL West lead to 5½ over the Texas Rangers, whose scheduled home game against Seattle was rained out. The Angles are a season-best 30 games over .500 and are vying for their fifth division title in six years.

"The Angels are always going to compete. They're always going to be in the pennant race. They're always going to be in the hunt," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They've got a great organization, so it's no surprise."

Angels starters have allowed no more than one earned run in 10 of the team's last 13 games, including John Lackey's five-hit shutout Thursday night against Seattle.

"You try to match what everybody else is doing out there," Saunders said. "It was hard to match what John did last night, obviously, but we're all throwing the ball great right now and we're just going to try to keep it going as long as we can."

Gavin Floyd (11-10) gave up five runs and six hits over five innings. The 26-year-old right-hander got through eight innings in each of his two previous starts against the Angels this season.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the Mariners, a team with the best ERA in the AL, the Angels went up against a pitching staff with the league's second-best ERA and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Abreu's run-scoring groundout and Guerrero's RBI single.

The Angels increased the margin to 5-1 with three runs in the fifth. Izturis, who came in 2 for 14 against Floyd, lined a two-run double. Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly.

Scott Linebrink gave up the Angels' final two runs in the eighth, an RBI single by Guerrero and an RBI double by Juan Rivera.

The defending AL Central champion White Sox remained six games out of first place because of Detroit's loss to Toronto. They have 20 games remaining, and six of their final nine will be against the Tigers.

"Obviously we want them to lose, but we have to worry about us winning games," Guillen said. "Hopefully when we face them, we're close enough to compete against them and aren't too far behind them. That's the main thing. That's all you can ask."


Saunders is 24-3 in 32 career starts in which he's pitched at least seven innings. ... A.J. Pierzynski, who still gets showered with boos every time he comes to bat at Angel Stadium because of his role in the 2005 ALCS, has no RBI in his last 47 at-bats against the Halos going back to last season.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

M. Izturis
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0

J. Saunders
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 3

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April 21, 2017
This weekend in baseball: AL Central (1:19)
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4010000 .306
Gordon Beckham, 3B4000012 .271
A.J. Pierzynski, C4010010 .314
Paul Konerko, 1B4000011 .280
Alexei Ramirez, SS4010000 .277
Jermaine Dye, RF2000100 .255
Carlos Quentin, DH3010002 .232
Alex Rios, CF3000002 .245
Jayson Nix, 2B2111000 .233
   a- Mark Kotsay, PH1000011 .270
    Brent Lillibridge, 2B0000000 .145
a-struck out for Nix in the 8th
HR - Jayson Nix (12, Saunders)
RBI - Jayson Nix (30)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Nix-A. Ramirez-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
Gavin Floyd (L,11-10) 5655220 3.98
D.J. Carrasco 2100000 3.68
Scott Linebrink 1322120 4.24
IBB - Morales by Scott Linebrink
WP - Gavin Floyd (8), Scott Linebrink (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Gavin Floyd 96-61, D.J. Carrasco 23-15, Scott Linebrink 25-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gavin Floyd 5-7, D.J. Carrasco 2-3, Scott Linebrink 1-0
Batters Faced - Gavin Floyd 22, D.J. Carrasco 6, Scott Linebrink 7
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B2200201 .302
    Brandon Wood, 3B0000000 .154
Maicer Izturis, 2B4232000 .297
Bobby Abreu, RF3112001 .298
    Terry Evans, RF0000000 .000
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4022000 .298
    Chris Pettit, PR-DH0100000 .000
Torii Hunter, CF4010012 .308
Kendry Morales, 1B3000112 .306
Juan Rivera, LF4021010 .293
Mike Napoli, C4000013 .272
Erick Aybar, SS3110000 .306
2B - Maicer Izturis 2 (18, Floyd, Floyd), Bobby Abreu (25, Linebrink), Juan Rivera (22, Linebrink)
SF - Bobby Abreu (8)
RBI - Maicer Izturis 2 (57), Bobby Abreu 2 (93), Vladimir Guerrero 2 (42), Juan Rivera (79)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Rivera (34)
CS - Torii Hunter (4, 2nd base by Carrasco/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Saunders-Izturis-Morales
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (W,13-7) 7311131 4.81
Jason Bulger 0.1100000 3.43
Darren Oliver 0.2100010 2.77
Jose Arredondo 1000000 5.98
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 99-58, Jason Bulger 6-3, Darren Oliver 10-6, Jose Arredondo 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 6-11
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 24, Jason Bulger 2, Darren Oliver 3, Jose Arredondo 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38375
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Angel Campos, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt