The White Sox are still searching for a fifth starter. But at least they discovered a way to win a game in Anaheim.
Neal Cotts struggled in his major-league debut. And that's putting it kindly.
But Dan Wright, who lost his spot in the rotation to Cotts, bailed him out and helped the Sox emerge with a 10-4 victory Tuesday night.
"Funny how things work out," Wright said. "I was hoping I had it in me. It's not much different. You're just trying to get guys out."
It was just the Sox's second win in their last 11 tries at Edison International Field. But it allowed them to gain a game on both Kansas City and Minnesota in the American League Central. The Sox trail the Royals by a half-game and lead third-place Minnesota by two.
Cotts lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his first big-league start.
After firing a scoreless first, he lost sight of the strike zone. He walked six of the final 10 batters he faced, departing with the bases loaded.
"The first inning went well. After that, it went downhill a little bit," Cotts said. "I was rushing a little bit, and things were going a little fast in my head. I was a little nervous, but it's the same ballgame. You just have to get ahead and throw strikes."
That's when Wright had his best moment of the season.
He retired Scott Spiezio and Bengie Molina to preserve the Sox's 3-2 lead.
In all, Wright pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits with two walks.
He picked up his first victory of the season against five defeats and gave manager Jerry Manuel something to consider when he selects a starter for Sunday's game at Texas.
"It's a little different, but it's good," Wright said. "You rise to your competitiveness. We got some runs and it opened it up, and I was able to go right at them."
After the game, the White Sox placed reliever Billy Koch on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness in his elbow. The only other time the right-hander was on the DL was in 1997, when he missed most of the season after undergoing "Tommy John" surgery.
Koch who saved 44 games last season for Oakland, has allowed 11 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings over his previous 12 outings.
"This is the best option." Koch said. "I think it's just a bunch of inflammation, and a ticked-off muscle. It's not really been all season, but the last three weeks."
Manuel said before the game that Cotts would be evaluated before the team decided whether to give him another start.
"You'd like to throw the first one out and give him [another] opportunity," Manuel said. "But we're in a pennant race."
Perhaps Cotts' performance should not have come as a great surprise.
Although the 23-year-old lefty posted superior numbers at Double-A Birminghamhis 2.12 earned-run average was lowest in the Southern Leaguehe issued 56 walks in 1061/3 innings.
Cotts seemed relaxed before Tuesday night's game, watching TV on a clubhouse couch, not bothering a soul.
Manuel noticed Cotts' easy demeanor, but he vowed not to get fooled. That had happened once before, during his first year with the Sox in 1998.
Manuel observed lefty reliever Todd Rizzo showing some bravado in the lobby of the team hotel in Texas before the team's second game of the season.
Rizzo kissed his left biceps and said: "Oh, this is it. I can't wait to get out there and show this lightning bolt."
Rizzo promptly got lit up, allowing six runs on four hits and two walks. He didn't record an out.
"He couldn't breathe," Manuel recalled. "How are you going to get an out if you can't breathe?"
So much for Rizzo having nerves of steel.
Cotts showed his nerves Tuesday, but the Sox's diverse offensive attack made it moot.
Everyone in the lineup other than Frank Thomas had at least one hit. Magglio Ordonez had RBI singles in the first and third innings, and Sandy Alomar Jr. helped break open the game in the seventh with a two-run double.
Jose Valentin and Carl Everett reached base three times apiece.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.