How the Angels lost (8/8): Weaver struggles as bats continue icy slide
How the Angels lost: A big third inning by the Red Sox doomed the Halos early. The Angels came right back but only could manage two runs, as the 4-2 loss Friday night at Angel Stadium marked the team's fourth-straight defeat.
With one out in the third, Jered Weaver gave up three-straight hits as the Red Sox managed to push one across the plate before Yoenis Cespedes -- ho owned a career .333 average against the Angels coming into the game -- cleared the bases with a two-out double.
"Weav's stuff was really strong. He good angles, kept the ball down and had some good velocity. He just had trouble getting out of that third inning," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Weav was a couple pitches away from having a really strong outing."
Weaver (12-7) gave up four earned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out three in his first loss since June 16.
"I was kind of battling and everything the whole night," Weaver said. "Location and everything was not up to par. It's disappointing, because losing a couple there to the Dodgers I wanted to go in and set the tone for the series and that wasn't the case."
The loss marks the second time all season the Angels lost four straight. The first time they did it was the very first series of the season against the Seattle Mariners. Oakland now is four games ahead in the AL West.
Stud of the game: Jackie Bradley Jr., a late-game defensive substitution, absolutely robbed both Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick of base hits in center field.
Dud of the game: It would be easy to point the finger at Weaver, but the Angels' bats still are a little too quiet. Timely hitting was scarce, as it has been for a few games now; and the Angels stranded eight runners, including two on the corners in the bottom of the ninth.
Mike Trout hit a couple balls hard, but he hit them right at the Boston's outfielders. Trout now has gone hitless in the last four games.
The Angels registered six hits, which was far better than Thursday night's two-hit affair, but it wasn't the progress they needed in order to end the offensive scuffle.
"I think it happens periodically during the season where we might have nine guys that are struggling," Scioscia said. "It doesn't mean you can't go out there and win games, as we've seen, but we're not attacking the ball with consistency like we did before the break, obviously."
Key moments: Trout looked as though he finally was about to break his hitless streak in the eighth inning when he hit a sinking line drive to center field, but the speedy Bradley tracked it down just in time, making a great catch on the run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Bradley made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall to deny Kendrick of extra bases.
"In the eighth inning, he came in front out of nowhere to catch that ball," Scioscia said. "And then that ball Howie hit, that's probably as quick as you're going to see a center fielder close distance at any level. That was incredible."
Key stat: Trout now has driven in 80 runs hitting out of the No. 2 spot. No other MLB hitter has ever even driven in more than 49 runs in a season batting from the second spot in the order.
They said it: "Maybe I was just trying to get my feathers off my back." - Weaver said of his arm stretches between pitches during a rough third inning.
What's next: The Angels (67-48) have two more left against the Red Sox before what is anticipated to be a much-needed day off Monday, before continuing the homestand with a pair against the Phillies. That makes four straight home games against two teams that currently sit at the bottom of their respective divisions. The Angels still own one of the best home records in the league, which bodes well as they attempt to close the gap on Oakland before their next road trip.