Sunday, April 17, 2011
Posted: 4:09 p.m. Updated: 4:26 p.m.
Dan Haren has't had a problem following every Jered Weaver masterpiece.
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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."
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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