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Skaggs delivers strong start, Hamilton homers again for Angels in 3-2 loss to White Sox

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CHICAGO - Overall, this wasn't such a bad night for the Los Angeles Angels. Good things happened even in a loss.

A returning Tyler Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning and Josh Hamilton homered for the second time in as many days, a sign that his power is coming back. It just wasn't quite enough for the Angels to complete the three-game sweep.

They lost 3-2 to the Chicago White Sox on pinch-hitter Leury Garcia's single of Michael Morin in the ninth inning on Wednesday night.

But seeing Skaggs pitch well after missing nearly a month with a strained right hamstring and Hamilton connect for the second time in three games were two big positives.

"I was kind of locked into the game, just excited to pitch after a month," Skaggs said. "It has been a long time, the team has been winning and I want to be a part of that. I was like a kid in a candy store, I was so excited."

Hamilton looks as though he's finding his power stroke. He chased John Danks with a solo shot in the eighth that tied it at 2 after going deep in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader. Before that, he had not homered since June 3.

"I'm getting there," he said. "Subconsciously, I was cutting my swing off to protect my (surgically repaired left) thumb from getting jammed. Sometimes, you do things that you don't know you did until you see it (on video). Tonight, the pitch was in and I kind of let loose and didn't worry about getting jammed or hurt or anything like that. Hopefully, it's the start of a trend."

The White Sox shook off a doubleheader sweep and finally took out the Angels after dropping their first five games this season and seven straight overall to them.

Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 17 games, and Chicago prevailed after blowing a two-run lead on a cool, rainy night.

Los Angeles tied it on solo homers by David Freese in the seventh and Hamilton in the eighth, only to lose on Garcia's line-drive single in the ninth.

Alejandro De Aza, who entered earlier as a runner for Paul Konerko, started the winning rally with a one-out single off Morin (2-2). Conor Gillaspie followed with a broken-bat single past a diving Albert Pujols at first base to put runners on the corners.

The Angels then brought in Kole Calhoun to replace right fielder Collin Cowgill and serve as the second baseman as part of a five-man infield. Garcia, batting for Moises Sierra, lined a 2-1 pitch to left to drive in De Aza.

That made a winner of Zach Putnam (3-1), who worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings.

Skaggs gave up two runs in 7 2-3 innings, scattering just five hits while striking out six and walking one. He threw 87 pitches — 70 for strikes.

Skaggs got a big assist in the first when Hamilton made a leaping catch in left to rob Beckham of a solo homer. He gave up a bases-loaded two-run single to Alexei Ramirez in the fourth, but that was it.

It stayed 2-0 until the seventh, when Freese went deep. Hamilton tied it at 2 with two outs in the eighth when he chased Danks with his fifth homer and second in three games.

That drive came right after Albert Pujols hit a fly to the warning track in centre.

The White Sox left Danks in even though Hamilton came into the game with a .438 average against him, and he pulled a pitch out to right.

The home runs spoiled an otherwise outstanding performance by Danks, who tied a career high with 10 strikeouts while giving up seven hits and one walk in 7 2-3 innings.

NOTES: The Angels' Mike Trout was the AL Player of the Month for June after batting .361 with seven homers. ... The White Sox have a day off before opening a three-game series against Seattle on Friday, with LHP Chris Sale (7-1, 2.30 ERA) Roenis Elias (7-6, 3.96). ... RHP Matt Shoemaker (5-2, 4.50) starts Thursday for the Angels against Houston, while LHP Brett Oberholtzer (2-6, 4.40) pitches for the Astros.

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