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Angels sweep White Sox as losing skid hits four

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Angels sweep White Sox as losing skid hits four

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Posted: 4:09 p.m. Updated: 4:26 p.m.

Associated Press

Dan Haren has't had a problem following every Jered Weaver masterpiece.

WATCH: Dunn feeling fine but 'stinks'

Haren pitched into the seventh inning for his fourth win of the season, Maicer Izturis had three hits and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Haren (4-0) joined Weaver as the major leagues' first four-game winners. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits over 6 13 innings, striking out six and not allowing a walk.

"He's started the series three times and he's set the tone every time," Haren said. "There is a lot of teams with a bunch of good pitchers and we're a few of them. What we hope is that when take the mound our team expects to win. That's how I feel and I feel like when I'm on the mound that the eight other guys with me feel like we're going to win that game."

After initially struggling in the ninth, rookie closer Jordan Walden got Juan Pierre to pop out to left with the bases loaded for his third save in as many opportunities.

Mark Trumbo added a solo shot in the fourth inning off White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (1-1), as Chicago lost its fourth straight game. The White Sox opened their 10-game homestand winning four of the first six, and three of their losses were blown saves by the bullpen.

"In most of the games we were one shot away from winning it, but we didn't," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The beginning it was the bullpen letting the team down. We're struggling to swing the bat right now. Leaving Chicago, long road trip, those guys will come around and start swinging the bat like we know they can."

Haren retired nine straight White Sox batters until allowing a double to Carlos Quentin in the seventh inning. After an infield hit by Alex Rios, Haren gave up back-to-back run-scoring singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez.

Haren had pitched 19 scoreless innings until giving up the two RBI singles.

"He is on a terrific roll. He's not going to throw one-hitters every time out. You can look at a lot of different numbers, but I don't think you need numbers to see how well Dan has been pitching. This guy has been very consistent early on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Haren, who has 1.16 ERA, is even surprising himself with his dominance.

"I didn't see it coming," he said. "I felt pretty good in spring. I've done a really good job of keeping the defense in the game, minimizing walks and working ahead in the account. That's my game, nothing fancy. I just pitch my game and hitters adjust to me."

Hisanori Takahashi and Francisco Rodriguez each got one out in the seventh inning and Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless eighth before turning the game over to Walden.

He gave up a leadoff double to Quentin and walked Rios in the ninth. Pierzynksi moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt, but Walden rebounded by striking out Ramirez. After issuing a walk to Omar Vizquel, Walden got Pierre to pop out to end the game.

The Angels struck first when Izturis lined Buehrle's fourth pitch of the game down the line in left for a double. Howie Kendrick followed with a hard grounder back at Buehrle, who kicked the ball and misdirected it from Ramirez at shortstop into the outfield for a single. Bobby Abreu struck out before Torii Hunter drove in Izturis on a sacrifice fly.

Izturis doubled again in the third and scored on Abreu's double to make it 2-0.

"He's pitched great for us the second half of last year and even though we're not giving him tons of support those early runs this afternoon were important for him, especially for a guy that pounds the zone," Scioscia said.

Trumbo's homer in the fourth made it 3-0, and Vernon Wells hit a liner off the outfield wall in the sixth. He went to third on the triple and eventually scored on Alberto Callaspo's single.

Scioscia questioned whether Wells' drive was a home run. The umpires reviewed the video and determined the original call was correct.

Buehrle allowed four runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.

"I made a couple mistakes today and they made me pay for it," he said. "Any time you run into Weaver and Haren in two out of three games, it's a tough task at hand."

NOTES

SS Erick Aybar (strained left oblique) hopes to get a few more right-handed at-bats before joining the club in Texas this week. Aybar will likely join Triple-A Tucson on Sunday and Monday. ...Chicago begins an 11-game road trip with Tampa Bay on Monday. ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last starting pitcher before Weaver to have four wins in his team's first 13 games was Roger Clemens in 1991 for the Red Sox. ... White Sox DH Adam Dunn was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen