After all the pregame talk about slow starts, the Los Angeles Angels went out and had another frustrating loss.
Brandon Allen hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Angels 4-3 on Thursday.
”When it rains, it pours,” Los Angeles right fielder Torii Hunter said. ”It’s pouring down.”
Jerome Williams pitched seven solid innings and Mark Trumbo homered and had two RBI for the Angels, who have lost seven of nine.
”We need to play at a higher level and this team will,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ”You can’t bury your head in the sand. There’s issues that we have to take care of. But we have a lot of confidence in our team.”
Allen, acquired April 19 off waivers from Oakland, homered off closer Jordan Walden (0-1) after B.J. Upton had a one-out single. Allen drew a bases-loaded walk in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over Los Angeles in his first Tampa Bay plate appearance.
”He came up with a big swing on a guy throwing 97,” Hunter said.
Brandon Gomes (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth, helping the Rays win their fifth straight game.
Albert Pujols went 1 for 4, ending his hitless streak at 21 at-bats when the Angels’ slugger rolled a grounder up the middle to beat the Rays’ three-man defensive shift. He was thrown out attempting to stretch the single into a double.
Pujols, with 445 homers, has not gone deep in 19 games this season, a span of 76 at-bats. Dating back to last Sept. 22, Pujols has not hit a home run in 105 at-bats, which ties his longest regular-season drought, which took place from April 23-May 23, 2011.
Williams allowed two runs and five hits. Trumbo hit his third homer this season in the fifth, and added an RBI double one inning later.
”At this point, it’s nice to have a good game, but the end result is we need to start playing better baseball,” Trumbo said.
Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce drove in the other Rays’ runs. Matt Moore gave up three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Angels had just one base runner, Vernon Wells’ second-inning walk, through four against Moore. Trumbo opened the fifth with a towering homer to left that tied it at 1.
After Trumbo hit a two-out, run-scoring double, he scored on Wells’ infield single that put Los Angeles ahead 3-1 in the sixth.
Tampa Bay pulled to 3-2 when Joyce drove in a run with a triple during the bottom of the sixth.
Desmond Jennings had a leadoff single in the first and scored for a 1-0 lead when Zobrist doubled. Jennings has a career-best eight-game hitting streak.
”Hard-fought game, one bad pitch,” Walden said.
It was just Walden’s second save opportunity this season. He converted a chance on April 20 against Baltimore.
NOTES: Williams’ only other start against Tampa Bay came on June 8, 2004, while with San Francisco. He picked up the win after allowing one run over seven innings. … Los Angeles RHP Jered Weaver (3-0), who is 12-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 14 starts before May 1 since 2010, will go against Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (0-2) on Friday night. … Rays RHP James Shields and Texas LHP Matt Harrison, both 3-0 this season, are Friday night’s scheduled starters.