CHICAGO — As slim as their playoff chances are, the fading Angels weren’t ready to concede the race.
Mike Trout hit his 31st homer, Albert Pujols joined Alex Rodriguez as the only players with 100 RBIs in 14 seasons, and Los Angeles pounded the Chicago White Sox 9-3 on Tuesday night.
The Angels remained five games behind Minnesota for the final AL wild card with five to play. The Twins beat AL Central-leading Cleveland 8-6.
"We’re in it," starter Parker Bridwell said. "We’re not out yet. We’ve still got a chance. We’ve got to be optimistic. I’m excited to see where it goes. Things have to fall in place for us, but you never know."
Trout, Brandon Phillips and Luis Valbuena homered off Chris Volstad (1-1) during a six-run second inning. Pujols hit the 100-RBI mark with his two-run single in the seventh, and the Angels came away with an easy win after dropping seven of eight.
"That’s a tremendous milestone," manager Mike Scioscia said. "A lot of times people don’t see how hard Albert works to keep himself in the lineup, to keep going. He’s just a professional hitter, and obviously it’s a great milestone for him."
Bridwell (9-3) improved to 5-0 in nine road starts. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Chicago’s Jose Abreu had three hits — including his 32nd and 33rd homers — to give him a career-high 185.
"He continues to show why he’s one of the best probably in the game right now," manager Rick Renteria said. "He continues to just go out there and give you great at-bats. You can see the confidence in him. He continues to grow into a tremendous major league baseball player."
Volstad went five innings in his first start since 2012, allowing six runs and six hits. He retired the side in order four times. But the one inning where he didn’t was a big one.
After Abreu gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the first with a towering drive down the left-field line, the Angels answered in a big way in the second.
Pujols led off with a single, and Phillips followed with a two-run drive for his second home run since the Angels acquired him from Atlanta on Aug. 31.
Valbuena added a solo shot , and Trout made it 6-1 with a long three-run drive to centre with two out. The home run was his second in two games.
White Sox right-handers Lucas Giolito and James Shields have made their final starts of the season.
Giolito went seven innings in Sunday’s win over Kansas City to bring his total to a combined 174 for the major league club and Triple-A Charlotte, and the White Sox decided that’s enough. The prized rookie was 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA in seven starts for them.
Shields won three of his final four starts to finish 5-7 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 outings. Renteria said he will have platelet-rich plasma injections in his knees.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (shoulder soreness) threw a bullpen session prior to the game and said it went well. Manager Mike Scioscia said he wants to see how Heaney feels on Wednesday before announcing him as the starter for the series finale on Thursday. … 3B Yunel Escobar (strained right oblique) took live batting practice in Arizona on Tuesday and is scheduled to play in games on Wednesday and Thursday.
White Sox: Utility player Leury Garcia (sprained right thumb) probably won’t play again this season. He has been sidelined since Sept. 1. … 3B Yolmer Sanchez left the game because of a bruised right knee. He fouled a pitch off his leg in the third and was replaced in the field by Tyler Saladino in the fourth. X-rays were negative.
The Angels send RHP Garrett Richards (0-2, 1.50 ERA) to the mound while the White Sox go with RHP Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 4.54). Richards threw six scoreless innings at Houston last week, but did not figure in the decision in a 3-0 loss to Justin Verlander and the Astros.