WHITE SOX (54-65) AT ANGELS (59-63)
10:07 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCH, MLB.TV
Albert Pujols is fresh off a historic performance that provided the slumping Los Angeles Angels with a much-needed injection of elation.
The 39-year-old veteran will attempt to help the Angels experience more joy on Thursday when they host the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a four-game series.
Pujols went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday that marked Los Angeles’ fifth win in 19 games. The hits raised his career total to 3,168 as he surpassed fellow Dominican Republic native Adrian Beltre (3,166) for the record among players born outside the United States.
Pujols, who ranks 15th all-time in hits, downplayed his latest accomplishment in a postgame interview with Fox Sports West.
“Every day I come in and I just try to help this ballclub win and hopefully get some base hits and do something exciting for the fans,” Pujols said. “I cannot do this by myself. A lot of people have helped me along the way. My main goal is to help this ballclub try to win every night.”
Venezuelan-born Angels second baseman Luis Rengifo, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Wednesday, was happy to see the accomplishment in person.
“He is like a big legend,” Rengifo told Fox Sports West. “He is a good teammate. For all Latin players, there is respect. I’m so excited for him, and I say congratulations for that.”
The White Sox are also feeling good as they arrive in Anaheim.
Chicago won two of three games from the powerful Houston Astros, collecting a 13-9 win on Wednesday courtesy of an eighth-inning grand slam from catcher James McCann.
“We played them really tough, and it’s something to build on,” McCann said. “It’s something as a team to really grow from.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria certainly didn’t attempt to downplay the significance.
“That was as exciting of a game for us, to be able to pull it out, as any this season,” Renteria said.
Promising left fielder Eloy Jimenez contributed a 434-foot homer to become the 11th rookie in franchise history to hit 20 homers in a season. Shortstop Tim Anderson went 4-for-5 to record his second four-hit outing in the past seven games.
Reynaldo Lopez (7-9, 5.16 ERA) will be on the mound for the White Sox on Thursday, looking to win his third straight start.
The 25-year-old right-hander was solid against the Oakland Athletics in his latest outing as he gave up six hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday. He struck out three and walked three.
Lopez has served up 24 homers this year but has kept the ball in the park in each of his past three turns and five of the past six.
Lopez received no-decisions in each of his two career starts against the Angels.
Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.89 ERA) will start for the Angels. It will be his second outing since being sidelined three-plus weeks due to shoulder inflammation.
The 28-year-old left-hander threw 74 pitches in a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. He gave up one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Heaney is 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.
–Field Level Media