ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Griffin Canning had never been caught by fellow rookie Anthony Bemboom.
Maybe Sunday was the start of a productive partnership.
Canning had perhaps the best start of his career, going seven innings and allowing just one run, and Bemboom hit his first homer in the majors to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 9-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Shohei Ohtani, Kole Calhoun and Matt Thaiss also homered to back Canning (5-6), who went seven innings for only the second time.
“This may be his best outing,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “His pitch count was low. Not a lot of hard contact. Used all four pitches very well. The changeup was strong. When he has all four pitches working, he’s a tough pitcher to face.”
Ohtani hit his first home run since July 27 and just his second since the All-Star break. He has a nine-game hit streak, the longest of his young career.
“He’s continued to get his hits and continued to be part of the offense, so I haven’t been concerned,” Ausmus said.
Calhoun added his career-high 27th home run, a solo shot in the fourth inning. He hit 26 home runs in 2015 but hadn’t hit more than 19 in a season since. He also had his 100th hit Sunday, and 50 of those have gone for extra bases.
“It’s cool. We still have time to go,” Calhoun said. “There’s still things I want to accomplish and keep getting better and growing. Nice to be there early but still want to finish strong.”
The Angels have won four of five, including three of the four games in the weekend series.
Canning struck out eight and walked one while mixing his slider, curveball, changeup and fastball.
“I’m not trying to put a grade on it but it felt pretty good,” Canning said. “Had different stuff working. It’s always good to save some arms coming up with four games in three days, so glad I could do that for sure.”
Thaiss hit a three-run homer in the second inning off White Sox starter Dylan Cease (2-6). He was 3 for 4 with a career-high four RBIs and one run scored.
Eloy Jiménez homered and tripled for the White Sox.
Canning hit James McCann with two outs in the fourth and then gave up his first hit and only run when Jiménez tripled to score McCann. It appeared Brian Goodwin, playing center field, lost the ball in the sunlight.
Jiménez hit his 22nd home run off reliever Adalberto Mejia in the ninth.
Cease allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out six, walked one and hit one.
“It seemed like they were seeing the ball well,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “They were getting good pitches to hit, and they took advantage of it. I think it was three runs in the second inning and added another (off Cease) later on. We’re going to try and go back to the drawing board, see what’s going on, see if we can pick something up and clean it up.”
Bemboom’s first home came in his 17th at-bat and Ausmus wondered if his new nickname should be Bem-Bomb, instead of Boom Boom and a host of others.
“It felt great,” Bemboom said. “Little bit of frustration earlier in the game when guys were in scoring position with less than two outs and I didn’t get them in. It was a situation where I felt like I needed to let a little frustration out and I felt a little relief at that point.”
Bemboom didn’t have the ball with him after the game and last he heard, Angels staff was working on getting the ball he hit in the eighth inning.
RARE DAY OFF FOR TROUT
Mike Trout was given the day off Sunday and the previous day he was the designated hitter. Ausmus said with upcoming heat in Texas and four games in three days (including a doubleheader with a makeup game Tuesday) he wanted him to recharge. Albert Pujols also had Sunday off.
STRIKEOUTS BY THE NUMBERS
Canning has 96 strikeouts through his first 18 major league games, second in Angels history behind Jered Weaver, who had 100.
Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle bone bruise/sprain) is doing baseball activities but is not expected to return to the lineup on the Texas roadtrip … RHP Justin Anderson (IL with right upper trapezius strain) said he hit a little wall in his recovery because of stiffness but said he is traveling with the team to Texas.
White Sox: RHP Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.51 ERA) is 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA over his last five starts (since July 22), the best ERA in the majors during that stretch. He’ll start Monday at Minnesota.
Angels: LHP Dillon Peters (3-1, 3.38 ERA) earned the win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, pitching six innings and allowing just two earned runs. He’ll start Monday at Texas.
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