Podsednik hits inside-the-park homer, scores winner for White Sox over Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Scott Podsednik completed one of the most exhilarating plays in baseball in the third inning: the inside-the-park-home run.

It was a 90-foot dash in the 10th that gave the White Sox a win.

Podsednik circled the bases on a drive he hit off the right-field wall, then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, leading Chicago to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

"Most fans get excited about the ball leaving the ballpark, but I don't hit a lot of home runs," said Podsednik, who has 34 homers in 3,106 big league at-bats. "What I bring to the table is my ability to run, so it's always nice to round the bases like that."

The White Sox increased their lead to 3-0 in the third with a pair of runs that were the direct result of two misplays by right fielder Bobby Abreu, a Gold Glove winner in 2005 with Philadelphia.

Podsednik led off the inning with a drive that was catchable, but Abreu turned the wrong way going back on the ball and was forced to make an awkward leaping attempt against the 18-foot wall. By the time he retrieved the carom, the speedy Podsednik was well on his way to the White Sox's first inside-the-park homer since Sept. 9, 2002, when Joe Borchard hit one in Chicago's 10-6 win at Kansas City.

"When I saw the ball kick off the wall, it kicked pretty half into right-center. So right there I figured I had a shot," Podsednik said. "There was a pretty good amount of distance between him and the baseball, so I just kept running. It's fun. It's exciting."

John Danks scattered six hits over six scoreless innings, but the White Sox bullpen couldn't protect the 3-0 lead.

Matt Thornton gave up four consecutive one-out hits in the eighth, including RBI singles to Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter to make it 3-2, and closer Bobby Jenks retired Juan Rivera on a first-pitch double-play grounder to end the inning.

"We pushed it today. We showed that we never give up and we always stay in the game," said Abreu, who reached base all five times up with two singles and three walks. "We didn't score many runs today, but we're always there."

In the ninth, Jenks gave up a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. and a single to Kendry Morales. Maicer Izturis followed with a tying sacrifice fly to left, resulting in Jenks' fifth blown save in 33 chances.

"Things didn't come apart. I made good pitches and they got hit," Jenks said. "I don't know the percentage on leadoff walks that come around to score, but obviously it's very high. I still limited the damage to just one run, though."

In the 10th, Podsednik greeted Angels closer Brian Fuentes (1-4) with a leadoff double and was held up at third on Gordon Beckham's single. A.J. Pierzynski then hit a flyball to center that was too shallow for Podsednik to score, but eventually made it home when rookie Kevin Jepsen came in and threw a wild pitch to the backstop on a 1-2 count.

Jenks (3-4) got credit for the victory, and Tony Pena got two outs for his first major league save after relieving Randy Williams with a runner at second, helped by shortstop Alexei Ramirez's game-saving play.

Ramirez smothered Rivera's infield single up the middle to keep Abreu from scoring. He was stranded when Pena got Mike Napoli to ground into a forceout.

"That was one big play right there by Alexei," Konerko said. "It wasn't a terribly hard-hit ball, but it was placed right. That's what you're taught to do as an infielder. With a guy at second, if you can knock it down -- even if you don't have a play -- it saves a run. It's a play that won't show up in the box score, but everybody in the ballpark knows it saved a run."

Angels starter Ervin Santana gave up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits over seven innings and struck out four.

Beckham followed Podsednik's inside-the-park homer with a single and scored from second when Abreu tried to backhand Mark Kotsay's flyball to right-center and dropped it for his eighth error of the season.

Abreu made amends for his earlier defensive woes, throwing out Ramirez at the plate in the sixth to complete an inning-ending double play.

Beckham, who returned to the lineup Friday night after missing four games because of a strained oblique muscle on his right side, opened the scoring in the first with his 11th homer.

Game notes
Pierzynski threw out two of three runners trying to steal. He has erased nine of his last 23 would-be base stealers, but is only 18 for 106 overall this season. ... The Angels, whose 85-56 record is second-best in the majors behind the Yankees (91-52), will be in New York on Monday to make up a game that was rained out on May 3. ... Pierzynski has no RBIs in his last 52 at-bats against the Halos going back to last season.