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TB@LAA: Greinke impresses, fans eight in Angels debut

At long last, the White Sox return to Chicago on Friday following a stretch in which they played 16 of 19 on the road.

Their welcome home present? A date with the Angels' most recent prized acquisition, right-hander Zack Greinke.

Greinke and the Angels travel to U.S. Cellular Field to begin a three-game series with the White Sox, who open a nine-game, 10-day homestand against the American League West power.

Greinke was saddled with a loss in his Angels debut, but certainly lived up to the hype, holding the Rays to two runs in seven innings while striking out four.

"He was awesome," catcher Chris Iannetta said afterward. "He barely had any mistakes. His stuff is electric, and it speaks for itself."

The White Sox, winners in seven of their last nine games, are well aware of Greinke's ability. Not only did he spend seven years in the AL Central with the Royals, but he also twirled a three-hit shutout against them on June 22 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Despite spending most of July on the road, the White Sox enter Friday's contest 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central. This season marks the fifth time in the past 13 years the White Sox began August in first place, with three of those instances resulting in playoff appearances (2008, '05 and '00).

Right-hander Philip Humber takes the mound for the White Sox on Friday for the fourth time since returning from the disabled list in mid-July. He's produced two quality starts in three tries, including tossing six innings of one-run ball against the Rangers his last time out.

Angels: Pujols is red-hot
• Much was made about first baseman Albert Pujols' struggles early this season. He was hitting only .212 as late as May 21, but the slugger has turned it around since then.

Pujols is hitting .348 (49-for-141) with 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 37 games dating to June 19. He has four home runs and eight RBIs in his last three games. For the season, Pujols is batting .286 with 22 homers and 73 RBIs.

• The Angels demoted starting pitcher Garrett Richards to Triple-A Salt Lake prior to Thursday night's game against the Rangers and recalled right-hander David Carpenter. Richards gave up five runs in a no-decision on Wednesday.

White Sox: Pierzynski nearing homer mark
• Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has already tied his career high in home runs (18) this season. With his next homer, he'll become the first White Sox catcher to hit at least 19 home runs in a season since Ron Karkovice hit 20 in 1993.

• Chicago's bullpen has a 1.04 ERA and a .167 average against in its past 10 games.

• The White Sox are 9-1 in their last 10 one-run games.

Worth noting
• White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (.145, 9-for-62) and shortstop Alexei Ramirez (.115, 3-for-26) have struggled against Greinke.

• Humber is 0-3 with a 6.93 ERA in seven home starts, but hasn't started at U.S. Cellular Field since June 10.

• Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo is hitting .322 (47-for-146) with nine doubles, two triples, a home run and 20 RBIs in 43 career games against the White Sox. Comments