Indians' skid hits six games as Angels sweep series
APR 30, 2014 10:10p ET
One of the keys to C.J. Wilson's success over the years has been ignoring big leads when he gets them. The approach worked in a big way on Wednesday night.
Wilson pitched two-hit ball over eight innings, Hank Conger hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Zach McAllister, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 7-1 to send the Indians to their sixth straight loss.
"I try to hold the other team down so that there's no momentum," Wilson said. "I think a lot of guys fall into the trap of thinking in the fourth inning: `Hey, this game is over, so I'm going to cruise from here.'
"You see it happen, and we do that to teams all the time. I mean, we'll be down 4-1 and then all of a sudden, we get a rally going and it's boom, boom, boom. That's the way our offense is capable of being. So you've got to take every pitch seriously and every at-bat seriously."
The Angels have scored seven or more runs in each of Wilson's victories, and fewer than four in both losses. Wilson (4-2) struck out eight, walked one and retired his last 18 batters after a leadoff double in the third by No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson.
Cleveland's other hit against the left-hander was an RBI single in the second by David Murphy, who was thrown out trying to steal for the inning's final out.
"Mechanically, I got into a little more of a groove as the game went on," Wilson said. "The first couple of batters I felt good, but the ball was sailing on me a little bit. Then as I got more into the flow of the game, I was able to keep the ball in the strike zone more often and tried to expand later in the count when I had the advantage."
Wilson recorded only two of his outs during his final five innings on balls to the outfield, including a sensational diving grab by left fielder J.B. Shuck on a drive toward the corner by Mike Aviles.
"He was very effective with different fastballs -- cutting it, changing speeds with it, then throwing the breaking ball off of that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He was so aggressive in the zone, working ahead -- just attacking."
David Freese had a two-run single in the fifth against Marc Rzepczynski, and Mike Trout added a two-run double in the sixth off demoted starter Carlos Carrasco. Cleveland's bullpen entered having stranded 42 of 46 inherited runners, the best percentage in the majors.
McAllister (3-2) threw 101 pitches over 4 1-3 innings and was charged with five runs, four hits and four walks. Pitching on three days' rest for the first time in the big leagues after throwing 75 pitches over five innings in a 5-3 loss at San Francisco on Saturday, McAllister was bumped up in the rotation after Carrasco went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts.
"I didn't have the command I would have liked, and I went deep into some at-bats that really pushed my pitch count up," McAllister said. "I made a lot of pitches early and walked some guys. But as far as the way my body felt and my arm felt, I felt extremely good out there."
Cleveland, which heads home to host the Chicago White Sox, was swept in consecutive series for the first time since last June at the New York Yankees and Detroit. The Indians totaled just 13 runs during the six-game trip, batting .183 and going 6 for 36 with runners in scoring position.
"We had a tough trip, and we have to put it behind us," Francona said. "Not a lot went right for us on this trip. Now we have to go fix it, and we'll do that."
Cleveland opened the scoring in the second with Murphy's two-out single. Conger's homer put the Angels ahead in the second, ending McAllister's streak of 37 1-3 homerless innings since Houston's Brandon Laird connected Sept. 20.
NOTES: Johnson started at 2B for the Indians in place of Jason Kipnis, who left Tuesday night's game because of a strained abdominal muscle. "There's no rush to put a guy on the DL. We can handle it. We'll just kind of see how he responds," Francona said. ... All 15 big league homers by the switch-hitting Conger have been against right-handed pitchers, and nine of them have come with at least one man on base. ... The Angels didn't fly their 2002 World Series championship banner, their eight division title flags or the California state flag because of fierce Santa Ana winds, which were clocked at 27 mph at gametime.