Torii Hunter hit a tiebreaking home run leading off the seventh inning against Mark Buehrle, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Sunday.
The AL West leaders took two of three from the White Sox, who dropped into third place in the AL Central. They are six games behind division-leading Detroit, and a half-game back of Minnesota.
Hunter drove Buehrle's 89th pitch into the top half of the double-decker bullpen in left field for his 21st homer, matching last year's total. The win went to Darren Oliver (5-1), who pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Scott Kazmir in a marquee matchup of All-Star left-handers.
Kazmir, acquired by the Angels in a trade with Tampa Bay on Aug. 28, remained 0-1 in three starts with Los Angeles and has received a total of four runs of support while he's been in the game. He gave up one run and three hits in each of his first two outings with the Angels _ both against Seattle.
Kazmir threw a career-high 118 pitches over six innings against the White Sox, allowing two runs and seven hits and striking out two. He retired the side in order only once and stranded six runners in scoring position in a rematch of his July 23 showdown against Buehrle at Chicago, when Kazmir was pitching for Tampa Bay and Buehrle beat the Rays with the 18th perfect game in major league history.
Kevin Jepsen pitched 1 1-3 innings after Oliver departed and Brian Fuentes got two outs for his major league-leading 41st save in 47 chances.
Buehrle (12-8) gave up three runs _ two earned _ and five hits in seven innings with three strikeouts and two walks. The left-hander became the first pitcher in the 109-year history of the White Sox to make 30 or more starts in nine consecutive seasons. He has thrown 1,988 1-3 innings since the start of the 2001 campaign, the most in the majors during that stretch, and is two innings from reaching 200 for the ninth straight year.
Buehrle had a 2-0 lead before throwing his first pitch, which didn't occur until 15 minutes after Kazmir threw his. Carlos Quentin drove in both runs with a two-out, bases-loaded single after Kazmir gave up a double to Gordon Beckham and a pair of walks.
The Angels got one back in the bottom half on Bobby Abreu's team-high ninth sacrifice fly. The run was unearned because of a throwing error Buehrle committed on an attempted pickoff of Maicer Izturis at second base. The four-time All-Star did pick off Kendry Morales at first base in the third, however, increasing his career total to 65.
The Angels tied it 2-all in the third when Howie Kendrick led off with a double and scored on Izturis' single. Izturis, normally a middle infielder, started at third base for the second time this season and batted leadoff for the second time in place of Chone Figgins, who is 4 for 30 lifetime against Buehrle.
The Angels came from behind to win for the 44th time, most in the majors. The next time they do it, they will tie the franchise record set in 2004.
NOTES: Buehrle is 1-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts since his perfect game. ... Kazmir has pitched at least seven innings in only three of his 23 starts. In his two previous starts against the White Sox this season, he allowed 11 earned runs, 10 hits and nine walks over 10 innings. ... Buehrle induced his AL-leading 28th double-play grounder and 14th in his last eight starts when Morales grounded to third base to end the fifth inning. Buehrle led the league last season with 34 double-play grounders. ... Morales needs two RBIs to become the first Angels first baseman with 100 or more since 2000, when Mo Vaughn had 117. ... Buehrle has won only one of his last 14 regular-season starts against the Angels. ... The Angels have to average 4.3 runs in their final 20 games to break the club record of 866, set in 1979, when they won their first division title.