By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
GAME 40 - ANGELS AT WHITE SOX
CHICAGO -- Ramon Ortiz has learned that amnesia can be a good thing. Forgeting about a bad pitch and concentrating on the next one has helped him become the Angels' most consistent pitcher this season.
Now, Ortiz is faced with having to forget about a bad start.
For the first time this season, Ortiz did not reach the seventh inning as the Chicago White Sox snapped the Angels' eight-game win streak with a 10-4 victory Saturday night before 21,122 at Comiskey Park.
Ortiz gave up six runs but only seven hits in his six innings. However, four of the hits were home runs, including two by Frank Thomas, one by Paul Konerko and one by John Valentin. Ortiz has allowed 13 homers this season, most in the American League.
''Today I did not have good command of the ball, the ball was a little high,'' said Ortiz, whose ERA jumped from 2.63 to 3.30. ''When you make a mistake, you pay. With a strong hitter, every time you throw a pitch in the middle, that's what happens.''
Angels manager Mike Scioscia, though, is not concerned about Ortiz's tendency to give up homers. In fact, of the 13 Ortiz has allowed, 10 have been solo shots. And Ortiz had allowed only 15 earned runs in his seven starts going into Saturday's game.
One of Thomas' home runs on Saturday came when he broke his bat, but muscled it out.
''You can't say the home run has killed Ramon,'' Scioscia said. ''They've got a lot of power over there. He made a couple mistakes, but it's not always a bad pitch. Sometimes you have to tip your cap and move on.''
The White Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Konerko had an RBI single and Thomas hit a two-run homer, both coming with two out.
''He wasn't real comfortable in the first inning,'' Angels catcher Jorge Fabregas said of Ortiz. ''I don't know if it was the cold (48 degrees at first pitch). He had trouble locating the ball. This year we're used to seeing him give us a dominating performance. He was just a little off today.''
Brad Fullmer (3 for 4) got the Angels on the scoreboard with a solo homer in the fourth, but Thomas' second homer in the bottom of the inning made it 4-1 White Sox. RBI singles by Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus brought the Angels to within 4-3 in the fifth, but Ortiz gave it back in the sixth when he allowed solo homers to Konerko and Valentin.
On the homer to Konerko, Fabregas called for a fastball inside. Ortiz wanted to throw a slider, hung it, and Konerko hit it out.
''I felt (Konerko) was waiting for it,'' Fabregas said of the slider. ''He wanted to throw the slider. Hey, it's his game. But if the slider's down, it's probably an out.''
The Angels scored one more run on Scott Spiezio's RBI single in the top of the seventh before the White Sox tacked on four runs in the bottom of the seventh off the Angels bullpen.
The Angels actually out-hit the White Sox, 11-10, but missed run-scoring chances. Going into the game they were hitting .303 with runners in scoring position; Saturday they went 3 for 15.
''We had a lot of opportunities,'' Scioscia said of the offense, which had at least one runner in scoring position in every inning but the eighth. ''Early on we had guys in scoring position but we couldn't get runs. Those guys made some pitches.''
Their streak over, the Angels still feel good about the way they're playing.
''Good things come to an end, but we'll start another one (today),'' Fabregas said. ''If we thought we were going to win every one out there, we were sadly mistaken. But we're trying to win every series.''
The Angels have won six consecutive series, and need to win today's game to make it seven straight.
CHICAGO -- Center fielder Darin Erstad missed getting doused by a full cup of beer from a White Sox fan Friday as Erstad fielded a ball in the left-center field gap. Though Erstad had a few choice words for the fan, he said it was no big deal.
Such is the life of a major league outfielder. Erstad said he's had golf balls, batteries and quarters thrown at him. He's only been hit once, when a fan at Comiskey Park got him with a quarter.
While thrown objects are crossing the line, Erstad said he doesn't mind what fans might say, no matter how personal they can get at times.
''I have no problem dealing with that stuff,'' he said. ''They paid for their ticket so they have the right to say what they want. When I'm 50 or 60, I'm not going to be happy or sad based on what they said. But put it this way, they'll never be invited over to my house for Christmas.''
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was a catcher during his playing days with the Dodgers, so he didn't have to deal with thrown objects like many outfielders do. However ...
''Don't forget, I played with the Dodgers and we played at Candlestick Park (in San Francisco),'' Scioscia said.
The tunnel to the clubhouse there was down the right-field line, so all the players had to walk along those seats and listen to the fans' barbs and dodge the occasional thrown object. Scioscia said he remembers nearly getting hit by an orange.
While many Angels hitters have been productive during the club's hot stretch, DH Brad Fullmer has been as hot as any. Fullmer got off to a slow start, trying to find his swing and was hitting just .200 on April 28.
Since then, he's hit safely in 13 of 14 games, batting .411 (23 for 56) with 12 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs to raise his season average to .294. He went 3 for 4 with a homer and double in Saturday's loss.
''I was hitting .200 with no homers the first three weeks, so I'm not going to say I'm not swinging the bat better,'' Fullmer said. ''But I'm still not where I want to be. The last couple of days I've felt good at the plate. Now it's a matter of staying consistent and staying where I'm at.''
Reliever Donne Wall returned to the team Saturday following his rehab appearance Friday for Triple-A Salt Lake. Wall will be activated either today or Monday, meaning the Angels will have to send a pitcher down, probably Matt Wise.