Too many walks hurt Noesi, White Sox in opener

Too many walks hurt Noesi, White Sox in opener
July 1, 2014, 7:00 pm

Hector Noesi’s walks had to catch up with him at some point on Tuesday.

They did in the fifth inning.

The White Sox starter carried a no-hitter through four but the Los Angeles Angels bats woke up and didn’t slow down in an 8-4 victory over the South Siders in Game 1 of a doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field. Jose Abreu homered, but couldn’t keep up with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, all of whom went deep in the series opener.

“Just locating was the problem,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “(Noesi) just walked too many people, got behind. And then you get the middle of the plate, you’re going to get hurt, especially with a lineup like this.”

Despite not feeling good and issuing five walks in four innings, Noesi held a 3-0 lead and hadn’t given up a hit. But Chris Ianetta opened the fifth inning with a leadoff walk and Collin Cowgill’s bunt single got the Angels in business.

Noesi struck out Kole Calhoun, one of a career high tying seven punch outs over five-plus innings, for the first out. But Trout caught hold of a 2-2 changeup and kept it fair as it just squeezed past the left-field foul pole for a game-tying, three-run homer. Three pitches later, Pujols crushed a 1-1 slider out to center to give Los Angeles its first lead.

“I left a few pitches up and they got them,” Noesi said. “I didn't really feel my release point, you know. Seven walks you can see, that's my first time doing that. I was trying to do my best.”

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Noesi allowed one more run as he allowed a leadoff walk to start the sixth inning and gave way to the White Sox bullpen. Howie Kendrick walked, moved into scoring position on a grounder and Chris Ianetta singled to center to give the Angels a 5-3 lead.

Noesi allowed five earned runs and three hits. His seven walks were a career high.

Los Angeles kept padding its lead.

Hamilton homered off Ronald Belisario in the seventh inning to increase it to 6-3. Ianetta singled in a run in the eighth and Erick Aybar had an RBI fielder’s choice in the ninth off Daniel Webb, who allowed two runs (one earned).

That was plenty for Garrett Richards, who overcame a rough start to continue a fantastic run. Richards, who went 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA in June, walked Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham in the first inning before Abreu drilled a 3-1 cutter out to right field for a three-run homer. The homer was Abreu’s 26th, which has him tied for the major league lead, and increased his hitting streak to 15 games.

But then Richards took over.

He retired 12 straight into the fifth inning. Richards (9-2) got into trouble in the fifth when he hit Alejandro De Aza with a pitch and Eaton doubled with two outs. But Eaton’s double hopped over the wall, keeping De Aza from easily tying the scoring run and Richards got Beckham to foul out.

Richards -- who allowed three earned runs and two hits over eighth innings with nine strikeouts -- retired the last 10 batters he faced.

“(Richards) was great,” Ventura said. “We got him early. Jose got him in the first and after that we didn’t have a lot of good swings against him. He’s got good stuff and that’s the part that stings is, you actually get some (early) runs off a guy and you only get two hits and three runs. You can’t make it hold up when you walk that many.”