Angels squander chances in loss to Indians

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Angels had plenty of opportunities to end Tuesday night’s game against the Indians but nothing came of it.

Through 13 of 14 innings both teams went scoreless and the game remained tied at 1-1. Finally, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Drew Stubbs put an end to it, teeing off on Joe Blanton in the top of the 14th for a two-run game-winning home run.

The result was a frustrating and demoralizing 4-1 loss — the third straight defeat and the second straight loss to the Indians (68-58).

“The whole game was tough to watch,” said pitcher C.J. Wilson. “This is crushing. Especially the way our relievers came in for the first couple innings and did well…

“The less games we have like this in the future the better.”

J.B. Shuck drove one over the right-center wall for a solo shot to lead off the game. But the Angels’ (55-70) offense stayed quiet through the rest of it.

In the seventh, Carlos Santana tied the game with a leadoff solo home run of his own. Center fielder Peter Bourjos was nearly able to grab it over the wall but it missed his glove by just inches.

“I made a bad pitch and he hit it out,” Wilson said. “It’s like a game of inches. I make that pitch one inch more to the left and he hits off the end and it’s a routine fly ball and it’s one inch lower and Pete’s able to catch it. But that was just the way it went tonight.”

The hits came late in the game but they weren’t timely. Through 14 innings the Angels stranded 17 base runners and went just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

It was almost over in the 12th when Hank Conger took Chris Perez back deep but Michael Bourn made a great leaping catch at the center field wall to end the inning.

While the offense struggled, the bullpen was dominant. Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia felt it was an effort wasted.

“Those guys kept us in the game,” Scioscia said. “On the offensive side, we just couldn’t get that run or not even hit, in a couple situations, it was just getting the ball in play and we couldn’t get it done.”

Prior to the game, Scioscia said that the pitching rotation would be shaken up. But no such shakeup would be needed with Wilson’s spot as he went out and pitched like an ace.

Wilson’s only run allowed was the Santana home run and struck out five but would not earn a decision. Wilson hasn’t received a loss since July fifth and has won five of the last eight he has pitched in.

“I can’t say enough about how C.J. pitched,” Scioscia said. “He really stepped up and pitched a strong game for us. There’s no doubt that it’s tough to throw the ball any more consistently than he has.”

The home run to Stubbs was the 29th allowed by Blanton (2-14) this season, the most in the American League. Another run crossed the plate with two outs later in the inning when Blanton bobbled a grounder.

It further deepened the slump that Blanton has been in since being bumped from the rotation in July.

“Joe feels it harder than anybody,” Scioscia said. “He’s had a rough time getting outs. He’s working hard but the results are obviously not what he or we need.”

The loss, while difficult to swallow, needs to be put behind. The next game, only a few hours from the conclusion of this one, is another chance for the Angels to move on.

“Every game is important for us,” Scioscia said. “You’ve got to keep moving forward. No matter what condition your team is in, you’ve got to support whoever is on the mound and continue to get some hits.”