CHICAGO (AP) -More than any mechanical adjustment at the plate, Torii Hunter offers another reason for his recent surge.
``Actually, if I could go to the casino now, I think I'd hit jackpot. Put it all on black,' he said. ``Right now, I'm just kind of happy lucky. That's what baseball is all about, being lucky.'
Hunter homered for the third time in three games Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Angels, despite getting only three hits, beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2.
Hunter hit a two-run homer to back Joe Saunders, who allowed one run and four hits in 7 2-3 strong innings.
Saunders struck out four and walked two. Last Friday, he pitched his second career shutout and beat Oakland.
``It was good to see a follow-up,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``He was terrific tonight. He's pitching much like he did at the end of last year.'
Fernando Rodney got one out in the eighth and Brian Fuentes survived a shaky performance in the ninth for his fifth save in seven opportunities.
Paul Konerko led off the ninth with a home run for Chicago, and A.J. Pierzynski singled with one out. Omar Vizquel ran for Pierzynski and advanced to second on a passed ball with two outs. Fuentes recovered to strike out Alexei Ramirez to end the game.
The White Sox wasted another fine outing by John Danks (3-3), who allowed two earned runs and three hits while striking out eight in 7 2-3 innings.
``Basically he made one mistake the whole game and Torii didn't miss it and other than that he was lights-out. We out hit them 6-3 and found a way to lose. It's a shame the way he's thrown the ball he should have five, six, seven wins. He's been pretty money for us all year,' Pierzynski said.
Chicago has totaled four runs while losing Danks' last three starts. He gave up three runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss at Minnesota on May 12.
The White Sox have not won back-to-back games since a three-game sweep of the Mariners on April 23-25.
``I'm just going to have to go out there and continue what I've been doing. I'm just trying to give us a chance to win. It will turn around for us, it has to. We are way too talented to keep on losing games like this,' Danks said.
Before the game, general manager Ken Williams met with the White Sox. He says he can't remember the last time he felt the need to address the club. Chicago is 16-23 and trails AL Central-leading Minnesota by 7 1/2 games.
Williams says he hasn't had any conversations about replacing manager Ozzie Guillen or changing the coaching staff.
Williams, in his ninth season as GM, has always been adamant letting his players and coaching staff know where they stand.
``Yes, I am impatient. Yes, I am frustrated,' he said. ``But yes, I do remain confident that this team is the one that can still challenge for the division championship. And hopefully beyond. We have a lot of good pieces. We just need it to come together. And we'll be just fine.'
Danks said the meeting was a positive one.
``It was great. There wasn't anything said that we didn't already know. It was just reinforcing how much confidence he has in this team, how much talent we have and it's just a matter of us going out and playing to our ability. That sounds like a broken record at this point, but we really do believe we have the talent to win the central and make the playoffs and it's just the matter of us putting together,' Danks said.
Danks gave up a two-out walk to Bobby Abreu in the fourth inning and Hunter followed with a home run. It was the Angels' first hit of the game and Hunter's seventh homer of the season.
``Mike Scioscia made some changes to the lineup with the lineup. Put me in the four hole. I think that's more me, the four hole. The third hole, I tried to be a little more patient and try to get walks,' Hunter said
The next hit for the Angels didn't come until Juan Rivera singled with one out in the eighth, and Mike Napoli followed with another single.
With two outs, third baseman Jayson Nix misplayed Erick Aybar's grounder. Nix still thought he had a shot at the force at second and rushed an errant throw that ended up in right field. Rivera scored from second and Nix was charged with two errors on the play.
NOTES: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy will start on Thursday against the Angels and LHP Mark Buehrle will start Friday against the Florida Marlins. Buehrle was scheduled to start on Wednesday but Monday's rainout in Detroit backed up the starters one day. The White Sox want to break up their two left-handed starters, Danks and Buehrle. ... Konerko hit his 14th home run.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved