ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) C.J. Cron hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning and Albert Pujols also homered, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The victory was only the second in eight games for the defending AL West champion Angels, who returned home from Sunday night's 10-inning loss at Kansas City out of a playoff spot for the first time since July 2. They still trail Houston by 3 1-2 games in the division race, and Toronto by a half-game for the second wild card spot.
Cron drove an 0-1 pitch into the right field seats for his ninth homer with one out against rookie Carlos Rodon (5-5), who allowed just four hits over eight innings and struck out five in the longest of his 17 big league starts.
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Fernando Salas (3-1) pitched one inning for the victory. Joe Smith got three outs in the eighth and Huston Street set down the White Sox 1-2-3 in the ninth for his for his 28th save in 32 attempts.
Angels lefty Andrew Heaney allowed a run and five hits through six innings and escaped a bases-loaded jam with his 100th and final pitch. The rookie lowered his ERA to 2.43 in 10 starts this season, but remained winless in four starts after winning five of his first six.
Heaney, who hit Jose Abreu on the left foot in the third inning, plunked Tyler Saladino with another low pitch in the sixth to load the bases after two-out singles by Trayce Thompson and Alexei Ramirez. But Tyler Flowers was called out on strikes by umpire Ed Hickox on a 3-2 pitch.
Pujols opened the scoring with his 32nd home run of the season and 552nd of his career, on a full count leading off the second inning. It made Rodon the 355th different pitcher the three-time NL MVP has homered against.
Adam Eaton scored the tying run in the third on an error by second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who airmailed his throw to first base on what appeared to be a tailor-made, inning-ending double-play grounder to shortstop by Melky Cabrera with runners at first and second.
Abreu was hit again in the seventh, this time by Salas with two out, but the right-hander fanned Cabrera.
The Angels, 1 for 32 with runners in scoring position during the White Sox's three-game sweep in Chicago last week, had two on and one out in the bottom half when Shane Victorino flied out and Kole Calhoun fouled out. It was the last time they got a runner as far as second base until Cron's home run.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson, whose season is over due to bone spurs and bone chips in his elbow, is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. He expects to be ready for Spring Training, following a recovery period lasting 2-3 months.
White Sox: LHP John Danks (6-9) has given up five earned runs in 19 innings over his last three starts, lowering his ERA from 4.97 to 4.58. The nine-year veteran hasn't finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 since 2010, when he had a 3.72 mark and a career-high 15 victories - including a two-hit shutout against the Angels.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (11-9) already has equaled last season's total of hits allowed (124) in 26 2-3 fewer innings, and has given up at least one home run in 11 of his last 16 starts. Last season he yielded just five homers in 26 starts spanning 168 2-3 innings.