ANAHEIM -- The Angels' woes at the plate, and on the mound, continued on Friday, as they fell to the Giants 8-1 for their fourth consecutive loss. After a 13-3 start, the Halos are now 13-7, and their-once big lead in several major offensive categories has now evaporated -- so has their three-game lead in the AL West, where they are now a half-game behind the Astros.
The Angels starting pitching has been somewhat of an Achilles' heel this season, even before their recent slump. They entered Friday's matchup eighth in the American League with a 4.73 ERA. Andrew Heaney certainly didn't help matters.
After logging five solid innings with only one major mistake -- a solo homer to Nick Hundley, who entered the game with a .167 slugging percentage -- Heaney ran into considerable trouble in the sixth. A lack of control throughout the inning allowed the Giants to sit on his fastball, resulting in two homers, five hits and six runs before he had the chance to complete the inning. Heaney finished with 4 1/3 innings, seven earned runs and six strikeouts with his ERA increasing to 9.64.
"Obviously the starting pitchers need to get going," Heaney said. "Hopefully, if we can get some sustained zeros and give [the hitters] a chance to breathe -- I mean, shoot, we're playing from behind every single game because we're not letting [our hitters] breathe. I think it really starts with us [starting pitchers]. Obviously, I didn't do a really good job tonight."
It wasn't just the starting pitching to blame for Friday's loss.
The Angels' struggles at the plate have carried over from their series against the Red Sox, in which they were outscored 27-3. The Halos lineup finished with five hits, two of which came off the bat Shohei Ohtani, who bounced back from a three-strikeout night on Thursday.
Another came from Michael Trout, who hit a solo homer in the eighth for his AL-leading seventh home run. A third came from Jose Pujols, who roped a double to center in the eighth, bringing him within nine hits of 3,000 career hits. With that double, Pujols tied Hank Aaron for 11th place on MLB's all-time doubles list at 624.
The same individual slumps that hampered the Angels lineup throughout this losing streak have continued. Justin Upton went 0-for-4, and has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats. Kole Calhoun went 0-for-3, extending his hitless streak to 15 at-bats, while also grounding into a double play to end the game.
"We haven't had the at-bats that we need," manager Mike Scioscia said.
HE SAID IT
"We haven't done anything well [these last four games]. You can't win a baseball game if you don't do anything well." -- Justin Upton, on the Angels' recent offensive slump
The Angels will turn to Garrett Richards (2-0, 3.60 ERA) for Saturday's matchup against the Giants. He will face off against left-hander Derek Holland (0-2, 4.60 ERA) in what will be Richards' first appearance against San Francisco in his career. Richards last pitched against the Royals on April 14, when he allowed one run in five innings.