Thanks to Uribe, a long, long night
Angels yield three White Sox homers, but magic number dips
CHICAGO -- You expect to take some abuse at times from the likes of Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher and the new kid on the block, Ken Griffey Jr.
But Juan Uribe?
He had only five home runs in 245 at-bats and a .239 average when he showed up at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday, but by the time he left, having powered the White Sox to a 10-2 rout of the Angels, the third baseman was feeling like Carlos Quentin -- Hercules unchained.
That's what two hanging hooks in a hitter's happy zone can do for a guy.
After learning they'd lost American League MVP candidate Quentin and his league-leading 36 homers perhaps for the season with a fractured right wrist, the Sox -- with Uribe going deep in his first two at-bats -- plundered Angels pitching in front of 35,502 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Even as Mark Buehrle was shutting them down, however, the Angels were moving closer to clinching the American League West. Their magic number was shaved to five with the Rangers losing to Boston, keeping their division lead at a cool 17 games with 22 left.
"They played great tonight," Angels third baseman Robb Quinlan said. "They pitched good, made unbelievable plays in the field. We have to come out tomorrow and start a streak."
Uribe, batting ninth in the order, was an unlikely focal point of a White Sox attack that leads the league in homers with 204. Konerko chipped in with a solo shot in the third against reliever Darren Oliver.
The first of Uribe's drives to left came against fill-in starter Dustin Moseley on a hanging breaking ball. Oliver served another hook in an accommodating location for the second of Uribe's two-run blasts.
Moseley was replacing Jered Weaver, who cut two fingers on his pitching hand in the dugout at Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday night and was denied a shot at a team he'd held to a 0.34 career ERA while going 3-0.
Moseley, who last pitched for the Angels on July 13 against the A's, departed having gotten four outs while yielding four earned runs on six hits.
"Dustin couldn't really get pitches into the zones he needed to," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Unlike his start before the All-Star break, he couldn't command the ball. Those guys didn't miss mistakes."
Griffey's two-run single got the Sox rolling in the first behind Buehrle (12-11), who yielded three hits and two walks in six scoreless innings while striking out seven.
The Angels were 25-13 against southpaw starters, but Buehrle cut them off on two occasions when they moved runners into scoring position, in the second and fourth innings.
"He can throw anything for strikes," said Quinlan, who singled behind Vladimir Guerrero's single in the second. "He knows how to pitch. He's not one of the fastest ones, but he's one of the smartest. He did a great job."
Buehrle has allowed one or no earned runs in 11 of his past 21 starts and is 9-3 with a 2.85 ERA at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
Alexei Ramirez's two-run single against Darren O'Day pushed the lead to 9-0 in the sixth before the Angels finally stirred offensively.
Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco let the shutout get away in the seventh on singles by Gary Matthews Jr., Chone Figgins and Garret Anderson. But Dye saved two runs and quelled the threat with a spectacular sprawling catch of Mark Teixeira's drive to right-center.
"We're on the brink of getting back in the game," Scioscia said. "That kind of ended that rally."
Konerko, Dye and former Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera each had three hits for the Sox, who retained their 1 1/2-game lead over the Twins in the AL Central.
"They've got a lineup of power all the way through," Scioscia said.
Quentin's absence has created a hole, but if any club can absorb such a loss, this could be the one.
"Everybody at this time is going to feel some injuries," Scioscia said. "The White Sox certainly are, and we are, too. Although it's a huge bat to take out of the lineup, if they pitch and do the things they can do, they're going to be tough."
Juan Uribe channeling Carlos Quentin isn't a bad way to start the recovery process.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.