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CWS@KC: Sale retires 15 straight, lasts into eighth

After dropping to a season-low 11 games below .500 earlier in the week, the Angels find themselves winners of three straight road games and one victory away from a sweep of the White Sox.

The Halos will call on C.J. Wilson to oppose Sox ace Chris Sale, who will try to stop his club's skid on Mother's Day at U.S. Cellular Field. A win would also extend the Angels' winning streak to a season-high four games.

Wilson is coming off his first loss last time out, though he received little defensive help. The southpaw conceded seven runs, only two were earned, and struck out a season-high 12 batters while matching a season-low two walks over 6 1/3 innings against the Astros on Tuesday. Five of the seven runs crossed in the third inning during which catcher Hang Conger made a pair of errors.

"It's disappointing, but I feel like the best thing I could've done was what I did, which was to hang in the game and try to give the bullpen a little bit of a rest," Wilson said. "It's frustrating, but I have to try to throw as long as I can. After that [third inning], I was pretty pitch-efficient the rest of the game. It was a lot of strikes. The one walk was a competitive walk and the other walk was intentional. So, in that regard, it's an improvement for me."

The White Sox, meanwhile, are trying to find a way to turn things around themselves. Chicago enters Sunday's series finale having lost five of its last seven games and stuck in last place in the American League Central at 14-20.

For the second straight start, Sale will be looking to prevent his club from being swept. The 24-year-old southpaw took the mound in Kansas City last Monday and held the Royals to one run over 7 1/3 innings as the White Sox salvaged a 2-1 extra-innings victory in the series finale.

Overall, Sale has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four outings.

The White Sox, however, will need to play better defense behind Sale if he's going to earn his fourth win of the season. Chicago has struggled defensively this season, evident again in Saturday's 3-2 loss, during which the Sox committed three errors.

"It's more staying on top of it and where we are at right now, it's not acceptable," manager Robin Ventura said of his defense, which the club has spent extra time on improving recently, following the 3-2 loss. "They understand that. You again work at it and preach in part to do all that stuff where you can't win unless you play good defense.

"... Again, until we can clean up everything, we'll let games slip away."

Angels: Playing around injuries
Even with reliever Scott Downs returning to action in Saturday's victory, the Angels are still dealing with a rash of injuries as they have for much of the season.

They enter Sunday's series finale with outfielder Peter Bourjos and pitchers Jered Weaver, Ryan Madson Sean Burnett and Kevin Jepsen all on the disabled list. Shortstop Erick Aybar, who missed three weeks with a bruised left heel earlier this season, is also day to day with tightness in his right hamstring.

"Injuries are part of a Major League season, and it definitely will reflect on the depth of an organization," manager Mike Scioscia said. "In some ways, we've had some depth with guys who have performed well. [Luis Jimenez] did great job at third base when [Alberto] Callaspo was out, J.B. Shuck has done a great job filling in for Peter. But the strain on our club is no different than any other club, when your pitching staff starts to get hit and you have to try to generate depth."

White Sox: Keeping Konerko fresh a priority
Paul Konerko made his 16th start of the season as the club's designated hitter Saturday, part of Ventura's long-term plan to maximize production out of his 37-year-old captain.

Along with keeping Konerko fresh, Ventura has said since Spring Training that he would like to get Adam Dunn more starts at first base this year. Konerko made 105 starts at first base last season and just 38 as the DH.

"Everybody has been talked to. I'm not sneaking up on anybody," Ventura said with a smile. "He'll still get time at first base. I don't want him going out there feeling like he can't play. He can still play. It's more trying to get the most out of him."

In 32 games, Konerko is hitting .220 with four home runs and 16 RBIs, a far cry from his .333 average through May 11 last season.

Worth noting
• Angels slugger Mark Trumbo has recorded a hit in all three of his at-bats against Sale, connecting for a double and two singles.

• The Angels are 5-2 against the AL Central and 9-20 against the rest of the league. Comments