Pair of Indians blasts hurt Angels in loss
Anaheim drops fifth consecutive home game to Tribe
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' 11th loss in their past 15 games came to the Indians, 6-1, on Tuesday night, and it came with an apology.
"Us, as a team, we apologize," Torii Hunter said in the Angel Stadium clubhouse. "I apologize, but we apologize. We need to play better. Can't give the fans what they want, the viewers what they want. We need to do what we're supposed to do. This is what we get paid to do on a day-to-day basis."
The Angels are entering territory they haven't been in some time, and territory where they don't want to be. With wins in the first two games, Cleveland clinched its first series win in Anaheim since May of 2005. The Halos have dropped five consecutive home games for the first time since May of 2006, and in their past 44 innings at Angel Stadium, they've have scored just three runs.
"It's been going on for a while," Hunter said. "There's no fight, you got to have fight in you. And we just don't have it. I don't know, I've got no excuse. I've got nothing to tell you. I'm sorry. I'm embarassed."
Hunter homered in the fifth for the lone Angels run, a game-tying solo shot into the batter's eye in center, above the trees. It was the sixth time this season Hunter had homered on back-to-back days.
But he also helped run the Angels out of an inning in the seventh, when he was on second and the Angels had two on and none out. He was caught stealing at third base for the fifth time this season, and for the 12th time in 21 tries overall.
In the past, Scioscia has defended Hunter's attempts at third. What he offered Tuesday was ambiguous, but there was no mistaking the frustration.
"That was a miscommunication," Scioscia said. "That was a miscommunication. I'm not going to give our system to you."
"He told you what happened," Hunter said of Scioscia's explanation. "You want to blame me, that's fine. That's not the reason why we lost the game. At all."
Indeed, the sixth inning cost the Angels the game. Travis Hafner started it with a solo shot off starter Trevor Bell. The homer was reviewed and upheld after the ball caromed back on to the field, barely clearing the out-of-town scoreboard in right. That put Cleveland ahead, 2-1.
Matt LaPorta made an out one batter later, but it was a loud out that pushed Bobby Abreu to the track in left. That was all for Bell, who did give the Angels a start of two earned runs or fewer for the 10th time in the past 12 games, but lasted just 88 pitches.
"I don't think Trevor had his best stuff tonight," Scioscia said. "I don't know if he ever got into a rhythm. He was behind a lot of counts early. ... In the sixth inning, with the home run and the ball to the wall, he looked like he was just out of gas."
Then reliever Francisco Rodriguez came in. He let up a hit and walked two in a row, mirroring Dan Haren's sixth inning from Monday night. Haren walked in a run on four pitches, saying afterward he didn't want to give up a cookie that put the game out of reach.
Rodriguez threw the cookie. Lou Marson, the Indians' second-year catcher and No. 9 hitter who entered the night hitting .189, tagged a grand slam to left-center.
"It was a fastball he left up," Marson said with a grin. "It feels good obviously. It was my first career grand slam so it's a good feeling."
"It was right there, it was like middle-away," Rodriguez said. "He saw couple at-bats beforehand I was having trouble throwing strikes, and he was ready for that. He got it."
The Angels left two on in the sixth, Justin Masterson's second-to-last inning. Abreu struck out looking on three pitches to end the sixth, the last a low-and-away breaking ball he did not agree with.
"There's a level of frustration in here for sure," Scioscia said. "Those guys in that room are feeling it harder than anybody. I think we're going to have look closely at a bunch of things."
Scioscia turned to six pitchers, partly because Scot Shields felt tightness in his right (throwing) elbow in the seventh. Shields said he met with team doctor Lewis Yocum after the game and was told he should be fine. He's day-to-day.
As for breaking the funk, Scioscia didn't insinuate a major shakeup or shift in playing time was on the horizon. The team added two promising young hitters, Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger, as September callups on Tuesday and neither played. Scioscia said he wouldn't play the newcomers to threaten the playing time of the veterans, but he didn't rule out changes.
"This is the big leagues, these guys understand that," Scioscia said. "If they're not going to play well, obviously there are guys that are on your depth that will get an opportunity at some point.
"I think we're going to have to look closely at a bunch of things."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.