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Angels lose a tough one in the 10th

CHICAGO -- Zack Greinke did his best to give the Angels' taxed bullpen a little welcome relief, but it wasn't enough.

Despite battling through seven tough innings on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the newly-acquired starter left the game with the game tied and watched as it went into extra innings with yet another bullpen battle deciding it.

The White Sox ultimately gave the Angels their third loss in a row with an 8-6 win in the 10th thanks to a walk-off two-run homer by Alex Rios, who clubbed his second long ball of the game and 18th of the season -- this time off reliever David Carpenter after Hisanori Takahaski allowed a lead-off single to Adam Dunn.

"They might not be as crisp as you want," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his bullpen, which threw 13 innings in a four-game series against Texas prior to this game. "[Carpenter] was well rested. I don't know if we're going to put what happened with [Takahashi] or [Carpenter on] our bullpen being overused. Carp made some good pitches, but just made a mistake at the wrong time and Hisanori got a hit off him."

Also, it might not matter if a controversial play in the first inning leads to the game being replayed from that point after an official protest the Angels plan to file with Major League Baseball.

Scioscia contested a call that would've given the Angels a key double play after getting into a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the first. Instead, the White Sox scored four runs after Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko was safe on a wide throw from catcher Chris Iannetta to first that Scioscia believes was caused because the runner was in his catcher's throwing lane.

"I know we're filing [a report] with the league and I think it's a very clear case in our favor," Scioscia said. "The umpire set the parameter and told us that Konerko was running well inside the line. All of the umpires agreed with that. The dispute was not, 'Was he running inside the box or outside the box?' They all said he was running well inside the line."

That, according to Scioscia, put Konerko directly in the throwing lane.

"[Konerko] was inside the line, which makes it a virtual impossibility for him not to affect the throw from Iannetta and puts him in the lane of Iannetta trying to throw to first base very clearly," Scioscia said. "It's quite obvious. They put him there. They said he was inside the line, which puts him in jeopardy, which affects the throwing lane of our catcher. They're the ones who set those parameters. Once they set those parameters, Konerko is out."

The Angels have 24 hours to file their official report about the play and protest it with the league's baseball operations department. A decision would then be rendered within five days.

If the decision goes against the Angels, then Takahashi's loss will stand. The bigger issue for the Angels might be the bullpen in general -- which is down a couple of regular arms because of injuries and all those innings in Texas.

"You're always monitoring your [bullpen]," Scioscia said. "You want to know who's fresh that day and how many pitchers you might have on a given night. I don't think there's any more or less concern. We've been trying to get things back together since Scott Downs went down and we'll work toward that."

Greinke did his best to stretch out his start after allowing four runs in the first and six earned runs, but he left with the game tied, 6-6, after the White Sox pulled even with runs in the sixth and seventh.

Greinke did avoid more damage in those two innings to keep it close and give the bullpen at least a couple more innings of rest, but Scioscia needed to use four relievers after his starter departed.

"It's just what you do," Greinke said of battling into the seventh. "You've just got to keep making pitches and limit it as much as possible. Four is a really bad inning. You don't want to ever let that happen, but you can't dwell on it. You've just got to start making your pitches. I did that for a while and didn't pitch that bad those last two innings, but they were having tough at-bats the whole game."

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both homered to lead the Angels offensively, but both had chances to break the tie late in the game and came up empty, including Pujols grounding out back to reliever Matt Thornton in the 10th with two runners on base.

That four-run first was when the controversial play happened. At the time, the Angels led, 1-0, but the White Sox had the bases loaded with nobody out when Konerko came up to bat. He hit a grounder to Alberto Callaspo at third, who quickly came home with the throw to force out Alejandro De Aza before Iannetta's throw to first.

Alex Rios promptly singled home Kevin Youkilis to tie the game before A.J. Pierzynski drilled a three-run home run, his 19th, for a 4-1 White Sox lead.

After Grienke got out of the jam without allowing any more runs, the official call about the protest was made by the umpiring crew up to the press box.

The Angels got an early start on remedying the situation over the next two innings when they retook the lead on a two-run homer by Trout in the second and plated two more in the third on RBI singles from Howie Kendrick and Macier Izturis.

Greinke also settled into a rhythm.

He blanked Chicago over the next four innings on just three more hits before Pujols added a solo shot in the sixth for a 6-4 lead -- his 23rd of the year. Rios got it back in the bottom half of the inning with a solo homer to make it 6-5 and the White Sox completed the comeback in the seventh on De Aza's ground-rule double to score Alexei Ramirez.

Neither team could score on the opposing bullpen until the last half of the 10th, when Rios finally ended it with his blast to left-center -- which Trout made an unsuccessful leaping effort to snag.

"When you hit the ball that close to the wall, you always have that in the back of your head that they're going to make a good play on you," Rios said. "But I hit it hard enough, so he couldn't reach it."

Whether that home run counts or not, because of the protest, is now the question.

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