- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - John Danks put himself and the Chicago White Sox into an early hole that Garrett Richards and the Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen wouldn’t let them out of it.

Danks surrendered first-inning home runs to Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols on Tuesday night after hitting his first batter. Richards retired Melky Cabrera on double-play grounders his first two times up, then struck him out with the potential tying run at the plate in the sixth.

It all added up to a 5-3 loss to the defending AL West champions.

Danks (6-10) was charged with five runs - four earned - and five hits in seven innings.

“I really felt good about how I threw the ball, but I made three mistakes and got hurt on all three,” Danks said. “Going up against a guy like Richards, you can’t make too many mistakes. Unfortunately, I did. I feel confident going into every start. It just kind of stings to give up five runs on a night where I thought I had pretty good stuff and pretty good command to go with it.”

Danks has a 4.61 ERA in 23 starts. The nine-year veteran hasn’t finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 since 2010, when he had a 3.72 mark and won a career-high 15 games.

“He’s pretty close to that form,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s got the command back, and he’s been able to maintain his stamina and go deep into the game for us.

“His season’s been hit and miss. He’s had some rough outings and he’s had some that were really good,” Ventura added. “Tonight we had no bullpen tonight, and he knew it. So he went out there and gave us what we needed. The last couple of months, he’s been as reliable as anybody.”

Danks, who held the Angels to one run through 7 1-3 innings in a no-decision at Chicago six days earlier, found himself trailing 3-0 after just 12 pitches after allowing just one home run in his last eight starts.

He plunked Shane Victorino with his third delivery, then gave up Calhoun’s career-high 18th homer on his next pitch and surrendered Pujols’ 33rd homer and 553rd of his career one out later. Until Tuesday, no one on the Angels’ active roster had ever homered against Danks.

“I tried to get ahead of Calhoun, and he ambushed the first-pitch heater and hit it a long way,” Danks said. “Then I hung a breaking ball to Albert - threw a softball to a Hall of Famer - and that’s not a good idea. Outside of that, I through I threw the ball pretty well.”

The Angels added an unearned run in the fourth when Johnny Giavotella doubled with two outs and scored on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Tyler Saladino.

Richards (12-9) was charged with three runs - two earned - and eight hits in seven-plus innings with four strikeouts and no walks. The right-hander threw 25 of his 95 pitches in the sixth inning, when the White Sox closed to 4-2 with a two-out RBI double by Jose Abreu. But the Angels got a run-scoring infield hit in the seventh from Victorino.

Richards left in the eighth after giving up two singles. Adam Eaton drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder against Joe Smith, but Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-8) lost his last three starts against the Yankees, Royals and Cubs, surrendering 22 runs in 15 1-3 innings after posting consecutive road wins in which he pitched eight innings in each.

Angels: RHP Jered Weaver (4-9) will make his third start since coming off the DL. He is 0-5 with a 5.95 ERA over his last six outings, after going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his previous five. In 12 career starts against the White Sox, he is 9-2 with a 2.15 ERA and five straight wins.


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