A solid offensive showing on Wednesday allowed the Chicago White Sox to close out their road trip with a much-needed win.
They hope the bats can stay hot again on Friday night and reward starter Dylan Axelrod with his first victory of the campaign in the first of three straight meetings with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The White Sox were able to earn a split of their eight-game swing thanks to a 6-3 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. Chicago backed starter Jake Peavy with 13 hits, including homers by Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios. The duo finished with three hits each and combined to score five runs.
That was enough for Peavy, who didn't appear to have any issue with back spasms that forced him to miss his previous start. The righty scattered one run and three hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out six.
"I found a way to get through a lineup that was dangerous," Peavy said. "We made enough good pitches when we needed to get out of it, and there was some great defensive plays."
Despite a string of four straight quality starts, the right-handed Axelrod again aims for his first victory of the season tonight.
Axelrod has given up three runs or fewer in five of his six starts in 2013, but is just 0-2 with a 3.60 earned run average. He took a 2-0 loss at Kansas City on Saturday, giving up both runs on eight hits and one walk over a season-high eight innings.
"That's my goal, to get a quality start," Axelrod said on Chicago's website. "Every time out, give your team a chance to win. I'm trying to build off that."
The 27-year-old will face the Angels for the first time.
Tommy Hanson was scheduled to oppose the White Sox tonight, but he did not travel with the team as he continues to deal with family issues. The right- hander was on the bereavement list from April 22-28 following the death of his stepbrother. He missed one start during that time.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced after Thursday's 6-5 win over the Houston Astros that Hanson would not make his start tonight. Instead it will be righty Barry Enright, who has appeared in two games out of the bullpen for the Angels and is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
Enright, who hasn't started a game since 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, becomes the ninth different starting pitcher used by the Angels this season. They only used eight all of last season.
The Angels played the final two-plus innings of last night's game under protest due to an illegal pitching change by the Astros with two outs in the seventh inning, but dropped the protest after rallying for the win.
Mark Trumbo hit a game-tying two-run double in the eighth inning and Alberto Callaspo capped the three-run frame with a go-ahead sac fly, snapping Los Angeles' four-game slide. The Angels had lost 11 of 14 before salvaging the finale of the three-game set.
Josh Hamilton, though, will be sad to see the Astros go. He homered for a second straight game and all four of his home runs this season have come against Houston.
The controversy came when, with left-handed Angels hitter J.B. Shuck due up, Houston manager Bo Porter summoned southpaw Wesley Wright from the bullpen. As Wright warmed up on the mound, pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez, a right-handed batter, stepped into the on-deck circle.
Porter then called for the righty Ambriz, despite Wright not throwing a pitch, which is illegal according to rule 3.05 (b) of the MLB rule book, which states that a pitcher must face at least one hitter before he can come out of the game unless there is an injury.
While Porter thought the move was okay because of Scioscia bringing in a pinch-hitter, the Angels manager adamantly argued the call to no avail.
"My contention was that the pitcher had to face one batter," Scioscia said. "I protested. We're happy we won. I think the rule is pretty clear."
Though the club came through with a victory, shortstop Erick Aybar did exit the game in the fourth inning due to right hamstring tightness. Also, reliever Scott Downs exited in the eight frame with a right foot issue.
The Angels have won 11 of their past 16 versus the White Sox.