CHICAGO - It was a slugging battle between American League Most Valuable Player candidates during the Angels' 8-4 win over the White Sox in Game 1 of a doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.
Jose Abreu continued to smash his way into Major League history by becoming the quickest player to reach 26 home runs with a three-run, 366-foot shot in the first inning off of Garrett Richards (9-2). But homers by sluggers Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton powered the Angels (47-35) to victory -- their fourth over the White Sox this season without a loss.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura insisted that the team isn't "leaning on" Abreu, but that "you get to a point where he's the only guy. [We've got] to come back with better at-bats and get it done."
Abreu, the 27-year-old rookie from Cuba, entered the nightcap as the league leader in slugging percentage (.633) and tied for the league lead in homers and RBIs (67) with Orioles left fielder Nelson Cruz.
"He's going to be somebody we're really going to have to contain, and I think he's showing what his talent can bring, definitely from the power aspect," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Abreu before the game. "His power plays in the Grand Canyon."
White Sox starter Hector Noesi (2-6) carried a no-hitter into the fifth, but lost the bid bobbling a Collin Cowgill bunt just two batters before Trout's homer. Pujols then followed with a home run to give the Angels a 4-3 lead.
Noesi lasted into the sixth, but was relieved by Ronald Belisario after issuing his fifth leadoff walk of the afternoon. Belisario, the one-time White Sox closer, allowed an RBI single from Chris Iannetta that gave the Angels a 5-3 lead. Noesi finished with five earned runs, seven walks, seven strikeouts and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"From the beginning, I didn't feel good," said Noesi, while noting the potential no-hitter didn't cross his mind from the mound. "I left a few pitches up and they got them."
Richards finished his eight-inning outing with nine strikeouts and only one other hit allowed -- a ground-rule double by Adam Eaton. Richards went 4-0 in five appearances with just four earned runs, 20 hits and 28 strikeouts last month.
"He was great," Ventura said of Richards. "We got him early. Jose got him in the first. Then after that, we didn't have a lot of good swings against him. He's got good stuff. That's the part that stings, is that you get some runs off a guy -- only two hits but three runs -- and you can't make it hold up."
Richards' replacement in the ninth, Rich Hill, loaded the bases on a Paul Konerko pinch-hit single and back-to-back walks to Abreu and Adam Dunn and then left for closer Joe Smith. He retired the side, but allowed one run in the process.
The White Sox (39-45) fell to 3-10 against the AL West this season, and their modest three-game winning streak came to an end.
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.