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Angels 6, White Sox 5

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CHICAGO (AP)

Even with a five run lead in the eighth, Angels closer Brian Fuentes was in save mode.

Good thing. The White Sox score four runs in the inning.

Ervin Santana pitched seven solid inning, Juan Rivera hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels held on to beat the struggling Chicago White Sox 6-5 on Thursday night.

After watching his fellow relievers give up four runs in the eighth inning, Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save in eight opportunities.

``I'm always ready to come into the game, because things can change in hurry,'' Fuentes said.

Kendry Morales had three hits and drove in two runs for the Angels who have won five of seven. But the Angels escaped after nearly blowing a big lead.

Santana (3-3) didn't have any problems with the White Sox, who came into the game with the worst batting average in baseball at .230. He allowed one unearned run on seven hits. He struck out six and pitched around three walks.

``I never lost my focus today,'' Santana said. ``I concentrated a lot more than before. I was trying to make it simple and keep the ball down, because I know the ball carries here and they have great power hitters.''

The White Sox have only won two series - Royals and Mariners - this the season and have lost eight 12. Chicago dropped to a season-low eight games under .500 a day after White Sox general manager Ken Williams expressed his impatience with the club during a team meeting.

Jake Peavy (3-3) was tagged for six runs and eight hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

``I felt good. I really felt the night should've been better than it was,'' said Peavy. ``Obviously, it's frustrating for myself because I feel solely responsible for this loss tonight.''

The White Sox staged a comeback in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles bullpen. Trailing 6-1 with two outs, Carlos Quentin singled off reliever Kevin Jepsen. Mark Teahen then walked and Alexei Ramirez followed with another single to load the bases.

Gordon Beckham chased Jepsen with a two-run single. Juan Pierre greeted Fernando Rodney with an infield hit to load the bases and A.J. Pierzynski lined a ground-rule double over the left-field wall, leaving Pierre at third, who would've had a chance at scoring the tying run.

``The ball didn't bounce our way obviously as A.J.'s double indicated just the way the season has been,'' Peavy said.

Rodney rebounded by getting Andruw Jones to fly out to center with runners on second and third. And Fuentes finished it off.

Santana didn't wait long to pitch with the lead.

Erick Aybar led off the game with a single. On a hit and run, He moved to third on Howie Kendrick's single. Aybar then scored on Bobby Abreu's double-play ball. With two outs, Torii Hunter lined a double to left-center and scored on Morales' single.

``Early runs are the best. It makes me more comfortable and work more quickly,'' said Santana.

Aybar finished with three hits for the Angels.

With one out in the third, Abreu doubled off the wall in left-center. After a walk to Hunter, Morales followed with an RBI single. Hunter scored on Hideki Matsui's sacrifice fly.

``We've been struggling to get guys on and make things happen. Tonight we did. We did a little combination of some base running and powers,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Peavy entered the game 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in May, but was more like the pitcher who went 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA in the month of April.

After a single to Matsui in the sixth inning, Rivera tagged Peavy with a two-run shot. It was his sixth of season and gave the Angels a 6-1 lead.

``I made some pitches that I thought were OK pitches and gave up runs and obviously, the homer was a terrible pitch selection,'' Peavy said. ``That's frustrating for me being the deciding run of the game.''

The White Sox got on the board against Santana in the fifth thanks to a two-base throwing error on third baseman Kevin Frandsen. Frandsen made an unbalanced throw to first after fielding a bunt by Ramirez. Frandsen's throw short-hopped first base and rolled down the right-field line. Ramirez went to third and scored on Gordon Beckham's groundout.

NOTES: Scioscia gave 3B Brandon Wood the night off. Scioscia said Wood, who is in a 7-for-57 slump, is pressing too much. Scioscia is unsure if Wood will be back in the lineup on Friday at St. Louis. ... The game was played after a 29-minute rain delay. ... Matsui singled in the sixth inning to halt an 0-for-11 skid.

Tagged: Brian Fuentes, White Sox, Torii Hunter, Juan Pierre, Juan Rivera, Jake Peavy, Hideki Matsui, Kendrys Morales, Ervin Santana, Kevin Frandsen, Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood, Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Angels

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