- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels are off to a familiar slow start, and a matchup against All-Star pitcher Chris Sale was no remedy.

The Angels had just four singles off Sale and two relievers, and the Chicago White Sox won 2-1 on Wednesday to give Los Angeles its fifth loss in six games.

In seven-plus innings, the left-hander allowed two hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter to become the first four-game winner in the major leagues.

Garrett Richards’ solid performance was wasted - now a trend for Los Angeles. The Angels starter allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. He’s gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs in three straight outings but is 0-3 this season.

“I can only worry about one thing, and that’s pitching.” said Richards, who walked four and struck out six. “Give myself a chance to win every single time I pitch, go deep into the game as possible and fill up the (strike) zone.

“These guys are proven hitters. These guys are going to come around. Our offense is going to click. It’s inevitable. We have to hang in there and grind together.”

The Angels are off to their second 6-9 start in as many years. They are below .500 through 15 games for the fifth consecutive season.

“It’s not just Garrett,” said manager Mike Scioscia, whose team has scored more than four runs only three times thus far. “We’re not scoring runs, and a lot of guys have pitched good baseball and have not a lot to show for it.”

Richards allowed a solo home run to Tyler Saladino in the first inning before he settled down.

The White Sox scored the eventual winner in the fifth, which Alex Avila opened with a double. Austin Jackson followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Richards made an errant throw that allowed Avila to score.

“When you face somebody like Chris Sale, you’ve got to pitch with him,” Scioscia said. “That’s first and foremost to keep yourselves in the game even if you’re not lighting it up at the other end against a guy like that. Hopefully, you’ll get a chance at some point to break through.”

Los Angeles got its opportunity in the eighth, when Sale (4-0) hit leadoff batter Kole Calhoun with a pitch then left the game. Two outs later, third baseman Todd Frazier’s throwing error kept the inning alive. Pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega greeted reliever David Robertson with an RBI single, but Yunel Escobar grounded out to kill the threat.

In the ninth, Mike Trout got an infield hit with one out. When Frazier’s throw bounced past first baseman Jerry Sands, Trout slipped on the damp grass while he attempted to reach second base. He was thrown out on a close play.

“Probably when I slipped, I should have stayed at first,” said Trout, who had three hits. “I don’t know if it was from being wet or what. . … It’s one of those things that, if you don’t get a good jump, you don’t go.”

NO RELIEF IN SIGHT

Scioscia pointed to the bullpen as a common theme for the sluggish starts in recent years.

“The year we won 98 games (2014), we started off (against) Seattle 0-3 and it took a while for every guy in the bullpen to come in and do his job,” Scioscia said. “It’s like this year. It took those guys a couple outings to get settled.

“You try to address that. We made an impetus to get guys in the bullpen more work in the spring. … There’s not a magic pill for everything.”

CHANGING OF THE ORDER

Scioscia moved OF Craig Gentry (.154), who didn’t play Tuesday, from his normal No. 2 spot in the order to No. 9 for the first time this season. SS Andrelton Simmons (.278), who hadn’t batted higher than sixth this season, moved to the No. 2 spot.

“It’s certainly not an overhaul, but maybe it’s a little subtlety that might get some things going,” Scioscia said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (strained flexor) isn’t ready to rejoin the team this weekend. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. “It’s still in the process,” Scioscia said.

UP NEXT

LHP John Danks (0-0, 7.94) will face Angels RHP Jared Weaver (1-0, 4.35) in Thursday’s finale of the four-game series. The White Sox have lost both games Danks has started this year. In his last start, Weaver became the third Angels pitcher to reach 1,500 strikeouts, joining Nolan Ryan (2,416) and Chuck Finley (2,151).

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