ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - After three straight AL West titles the Los Angeles Angels won't be part of this postseason.
The Angels were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Friday night, as Alex Rios hit a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning and Paul Konerko homered for the Chicago White Sox in a 2-1 victory that preceded the completion of Texas' 10-3 win at Oakland.
``Our season hasn't gone as we hoped, but I think we learned a lot from it,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``If you learn and get better from it, the trials and tribulations are worth it. If we can't learn or make adjustments from what we saw this year then we're just spinning our wheels. We're very confident in the fact that we see a team that still has that championship foundation, and that is what's going to keep us going.'
The Angels will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
``We saw the writing on the wall,' outfielder Torii Hunter said. ``It's tough. This year we're eliminated. Nobody wants to be in this position at the end of the season, but unfortunately we're here. I forgot what this felt like, but it's a bad feeling. Going through everything we've got through, I think you sit back and look at it this offseason, make adjustments and come back ready to go next year.'
The White Sox, who were eliminated from postseason contention with Tuesday's loss at Oakland, tied the score 1-all in the fifth when Konerko ended a nine-pitch at-bat with his 38th home run into the lower seats in the left field corner.
``You want to do well personally, but you also want to win,' Konerko said. ``If you go back home without getting to the playoffs, you seem a little bit empty no matter how well you do personally. I've swung the bat well, but as one of the leaders on the club, you always think back to what you could have done to make things work out and get to the playoffs. But you can only do so much.'
Konerko is second in the AL behind Toronto's Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 52.
``I can't imagine what it's like to hit 50,' said Konerko, who had a career-high 41 homers in 2004 and 40 more the following year when the White Sox won the World Series. ``I know what it takes to hit 20 and 30 and 40, but 50 seems impossible to me. So I tip my hat to him. He's having a heck of a year, so good for him.'
Francisco Rodriguez (1-4) took over in the ninth from starter Joel Pineiro and gave up a one-out walk to Juan Pierre, a single to Omar Vizquel and Rios' line drive to center field.
Matt Thornton (5-4) allowed two hits over two scoreless innings for the victory, retiring his final six batters after giving up singles to Peter Bourjos and Howie Kendrick to open the eighth.
Freddy Garcia allowed a run and four hits through six innings, struck out five and walked two in his first start since Sept. 7. Garcia came in 15-3 lifetime against the Angels with a 2.45 ERA.
Pineiro allowed a run and four hits over eight innings, striking out two and walking none in his second start off the disabled list. The right-hander got 13 groundball outs through the first five innings and 17 altogether.
``That's a sinkerballer for you. He's not necessarily trying to strike out guys, but get the groundballs,' Pierre said. ``You like to play behind guys like that because it keeps the tempo of the game going.'
Kendrick hit a leadoff triple in the fourth inning for the Angels' first hit and scored on Hunter's single.
Konerko ended an 0-for-18 drought with a second-inning single and was quickly erased on a double-play grounder by Manny Ramirez, who was booed vigorously by the crowd of 41,046 in his return to Southern California. Chicago is 9-12 since acquiring Ramirez on waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 31.
Ramirez is batting .241 for the White Sox with one home run - his only RBI - and 19 strikeouts in 58 at_bats. When the 12-time All-Star joined the Dodgers at the non-roster trading deadline two seasons ago, he batted .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 games down the stretch to lead them to an NL West title. The following season, he received a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test.
``I know Manny for a long time. A lot of people think Manny's a toublemaker, but he's been great with us,' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``I only have great things to say about him, and I think it was a good thing to bring the guy in here. He plays hard for me, he does everything he's supposed to do, and I'm very happy about it.
``Manny's had good at_bats,' Guillen added. ``He didn't play for like two months before he came here. So it's not easy, coming here and expecting to hit right away because Manny's not 22 years old anymore. ... There's no doubt in my mind that guy can still play and he can still hit. And if you give him the at_bats he needs, he will produce.'
NOTES: Hunter flied out in the first with a runner at third base, struck out with runners at second and third in the sixth, and fanned again with runners at the corners in the eighth. The four-time All-Star has had two run-scoring hits in a game just once since July 4, and only four times since April 30. ... The Angels' four stolen bases gave them at least 100 in each of the last 10 seasons, something no other team has done.
The Associated Press News Service
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