ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Asked what he disliked most about Saturday’s 12-9 loss to the Angels, White Sox manager Robin Ventura didn’t hesitate.
“The walks,” Ventura said.
That Ventura had multiple options from which to select didn’t bode well for the White Sox chances to increase a season-best winning streak to five games.
Starter Hector Santiago was knocked out by a wild spell after 3 1/3 innings as he and three relievers combined for 10 walks. Then there was an offense that let too many early opportunities go to waste. For good measure, the injury bug struck again as Adam Dunn left early with back spasms as the White Sox saw their win streak snapped at four in front of 37,165 at Angels Stadium.
“It just wasn’t real clean all the way around,” Ventura said.
Even with all their issues, the White Sox headed to the bottom of the eighth inning down 10-9 after they rallied for five runs.
Paul Konerko (three hits) and Dayan Viciedo (who reached four times) had RBI singles ahead of three-run homer by Hector Gimenez as part of a five-run rally.
But reliever Donnie Veal walked Mike Trout to start the eighth inning and the Angels took advantage. Howie Kendrick doubled in a run off Matt Lindstrom and Alberto Callaspo, who had a three-run homer off Veal in the seventh, had a sacrifice fly to put the Angels up 12-9.
The poor pitching began with Santiago, who was spotted a four-run lead but couldn’t command his cut-fastball and was forced out after three straight walks. Santiago said he hurt his own cause by thinking too much. In hopes of becoming more efficient, he tried to make too many perfect pitches. He gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to start the fourth inning and after a one-out single to Callaspo walked the next three batters, the last forcing in a run to cut the lead to 4-2.
[RELATED: Dunn leaves Saturday's game with back spasms]
Santiago walked four batters and hit another.
“That one inning I just tried to keep the pitch count down,” Santiago said. “I looked up and saw 60-something pitches and I’m like, ‘Here we go, make this pitch, get out of this right here.’ I’m never like that. I never go up there and worry about pitch count. I go inning by inning. If I go five, if I go seven, it doesn’t matter. But just trying to make better pitches than I needed to.”
He wasn’t the only one.
Nate Jones kept the White Sox ahead as he limited the damage in the fourth to a run. But the Angels opened the fifth with consecutive doubles by Albert Pujols and Trumbo and two batters later led 5-4 on Callaspo’s sac fly.
Jones later walked two batters in the seventh and gave up a single before Callaspo slammed a three-run homer off Veal to go ahead 8-4. Veal also yielded a two-run double to J.B. Shuck.
Of the 10 Angels batters who walked, four scored.
The South Siders’ offense offered up nearly as much frustration especially early against Angels starter Joe Blanton.
The White Sox took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Alex Rios, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and a two-run single by Dunn.
But they also put two runners on base in each of the first three innings and didn’t score. Blanton struck out Dunn -- who strained his back in the on-deck circle before his fourth-inning at-bat -- and Konerko in the first, got Dewayne Wise out on a comebacker in the second and struck out Conor Gillaspie in the third.
They left two more runners on in the fourth and the bases loaded in the fifth inning on their way to stranding 12 overall.
Those early missed opportunities came back to haunt the White Sox when they rallied for five runs in the eighth inning off Garrett Richards and Ernesto Frieri.
“We got a lot of hits, scored a lot of runs,” Dunn said. “Early on in the game, first inning especially, we had the opportunities to get on the board early and looking back, that’s obviously what cost us.”