Latos lowers ERA to 0.49; White Sox beat Angels 5-0
CHICAGO (AP) Mat Latos has been slowed by knee trouble. He pitched for three teams last season. He didn't sign with the Chicago White Sox until February, then struggled in spring training.
Now, Latos is breezing through major league lineups in a remarkable start to the season.
Latos didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu hit solo home runs and the White Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-0 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Latos (3-0) allowed two hits over 6 1/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 0.49 through three starts.
''Butts and elbows coming at you in all different directions,'' White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton said of 6-foot-6 Latos. ''He shows the ball behind his back and then all of a sudden comes over his head like a pitching machine.''
Frazier went deep to left in the second and Abreu homered to center in the fifth off fastballs by Matt Shoemaker (1-2) in the Angels' fourth loss in five games.
Shoemaker gave up six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
''That's not where they were intended to be but sometimes you miss,'' Shoemaker said of the two homers. ''Sometimes you get a popout and sometimes they hit them.''
Andrelton Simmons doubled to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games and end Latos' night after 101 pitches. Eaton then threw out Simmons at the plate when he tried to score on C.J. Cron's one-out single.
Matt Albers got out of the seventh to extend the majors' longest active scoreless streak to 30 innings.
Nate Jones pitched two innings for his first career save and secured Chicago's third shutout.
Melky Cabrera hit a two-run triple to center off Jose Alvarez during a three-run eighth to put it out of reach.
''A total, complete game for us,'' Eaton said.
The White Sox needed a quality start after Carlos Rodon got one out in a 7-0 loss Monday in the series opener.
Latos came through. The 28-year-old's odd 2015 amid knee pain included a short stint with the Angels. The right-hander didn't sign with the White Sox until a week before spring training.
''I didn't think he was doing anything special,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He obviously hit the spots but we had chances and he made some pitches to get out of jams.''
Four hours before the game, Frazier and some teammates were taking extra batting practice, something manager Robin Ventura said ''we need'' after getting 11 runs in six games.
Frazier, who came in hitting .155, lined Shoemaker's 92 mph fastball into the left field seats to end an 0 for 9 skid. Abreu's 403-foot homer to straightaway center made it 2-0.
''I don't know if the results are because of the extra BP,'' Abreu said. ''But I know all the effort we've been putting in.''
Latos overcame three walks and 47 pitches in two innings and got into a groove until Carlos Perez's soft single up the middle.
Latos didn't issue a walk over the final five innings and struck out five to secure his first three-start winning streak since 2013.
''Fastball command has been there. Slider is really good,'' Latos said. ''I made pitches when I needed to.''
Angels: Scioscia said LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) has ''plateaued'' in his recovery and still playing catch at 60 feet because of tightness. ''He's got a ways to go,'' Scioscia said. ... LHP C.J. Wilson (shoulder) is playing catch at 90 feet and is not close to throwing off a mound.
White Sox: Ventura plans to stick with 13 pitchers through the end of the week after calling up righty Erik Jones from the minors. Relievers Zach Putnam, Jake Petricka and Dan Jennings were unavailable after lengthy outings Monday. OF J.B. Shuck was sent down because of the overworked bullpen. ''That's the brutal side of baseball,'' Ventura said.
White Sox ace Chris Sale (3-0, 2.35 ERA) faces Angels ace Garrett Richards (0-2, 3.57) on Wednesday. Sale is coming off a two-hit shutout of Tampa Bay. The Angels have scored only five runs in losing all three of Richards' starts.