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Angels hurt by miscues, Rays' pitching

Trout hits 14th home run in defeat
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Jefry Marte retrieved a ground ball on his backhand, then tossed the ball over the first base bag. No one was there to catch it.

Had there been someone to put out Mallex Smith at first base for a simple groundout -- a sprinting Andrew Heaney came close -- or had Marte elected to get the force at second base, the second inning would have ended with little harm. Instead, the frame continued. Heaney walked the next batter, the No. 9 hitter, then allowed the red hot Daniel Robertson to smash a grand slam on an 84-mph changeup over the heart of the plate, giving the Rays all the runs they would need to notch their third straight victory over the Halos, 5-3, on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- Jefry Marte retrieved a ground ball on his backhand, then tossed the ball over the first base bag. No one was there to catch it.

Had there been someone to put out Mallex Smith at first base for a simple groundout -- a sprinting Andrew Heaney came close -- or had Marte elected to get the force at second base, the second inning would have ended with little harm. Instead, the frame continued. Heaney walked the next batter, the No. 9 hitter, then allowed the red hot Daniel Robertson to smash a grand slam on an 84-mph changeup over the heart of the plate, giving the Rays all the runs they would need to notch their third straight victory over the Halos, 5-3, on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

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The Angels have not scored more than three runs in a game since May 11, when they scored four in a loss -- that's eight consecutive games. The only offense the team was able to muster on Saturday came in the form of a manufactured run by Ian Kinsler in the eighth and a two-run homer by Mike Trout in the ninth, tying him for second in MLB with 14. His dinger was launched at an exit velocity of 105 mph and reached a projected distance of 430 feet, according to Statcast™, allowing the Angels a sliver of hope in their final frame before Alex Colome came in to retire the next three batters in order.

Trout was muddled in a 0-for-21 slump prior to Friday, but has gone 3-for-7 with two homers and a double since.

"[My] timing has been better these last couple of days," Trout said.

"It's just about finding your timing," manager Mike Scioscia added regarding Trout's resurgence from his previous slump. "Sometimes you get into little things where you're out of sync and all of a sudden you're jumping out at the ball, or you're not quite getting loaded and getting your foot down. And he's made adjustments and I think he's feeling comfortable in the batter's box again."

Besides giving up a career-high-tying five walks -- Heaney's command of his two-seamer in particular was shaky through his six innings of work -- the grand slam he allowed was perhaps his only mistake on the night. He permitted only two other hits -- both singles -- but came away with the loss despite allowing no earned runs.

"It was a weird game," Heaney said. "I was hitting spots, but also kinda all over the place. Made pitches when I needed to, made one bad pitch when I really did need to. It's just one of those deals where I think it's easy to see an error and say, 'Oh, that caused it,' or see one pitch on the grand slam and say 'Oh, that lost it.'

Video: TB@LAA: Robertson launches a grand slam to left

"But for me, it was a culmination of everything that happened before that. I had a 9-hole hitter up with a base open and really didn't make one competitive pitch to him and that leads to Robertson, who's been hitting the ball pretty well. I put myself in that situation and obviously not how I wanted it to turn out."

It is the Angels' fifth straight loss, and keeps them 3 1/2 games behind the Astros for first place in the American League West.

Kinsler led off the eighth inning with a double off the left-center field wall, then proceeded to steal third -- his fourth of the season. It was just one of two runners in scoring position the Angels would garner all night. Marte then grounded out to shortstop, bringing in Kinsler from third.

Video: TB@LAA: Marte plates Kinsler with a groundout

The only other runner in scoring position came from a Trout double in the fourth inning with one out. Justin Upton followed with a flyout to center that moved Trout to third. Albert Pujols walked, but the stable bat of Andrelton Simmons was unable to drive Trout in, as he flied out to center to end the threat.

Simmons had his 25-game on-base streak snapped on Saturday. He had hit safely in 19 of his previous 21 games, coming into Saturday with an overall batting average of .338, good for fourth in the American League. He finished 0-for-4 with three runners left on base.

The team has now batted .211 (68-for-322) over its homestand, which began on May 10. It has scored just 14 runs in its last seven games.

Individual slumps have reared their ugly heads throughout this past week. Zack Cozart is 2-for his last 18 at-bats. Trout was in his aforementioned slump. Martin Maldonado is 1-for-14 since May 14. Despite his double on Saturday, Kinsler has just three hits in his last 19 at-bats (.158 over that time frame).

Video: TB@LAA: Trout slaps a double to left field in the 4th

Kole Calhoun is hitting .103 in his last 78 at-bats, with eight hits and four walks over that span. He was pinch-hit for by Chris Young in the eighth inning.

"There are some ebbs and flows to a season where you might have six or seven guys who are soft for a period of time, a week or whatever it might be," Scioscia said. "But I think with the track record of these guys, and how well they did starting the season, we know they're going to find it and they will produce the offense we need. The sooner the better, but everybody is working hard at it and we know they'll break out."

HE SAID IT
"It's a long season. There's gonna be ups and downs. We got a great start and now we lost a couple in a row. We just gotta turn the page. We got a great group of guys -- team chemistry is unbelievable in here. We never think we're out of a game. Last couple games have been rough, but we got a mindset, we gotta stay positive. The group of guys in here -- we know how to win. Things will turn around.

"We're family. We all know our jobs, and like I said, it's a long season, so we'll be all right." -- Trout, on the team's recent offensive slump

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A double play turned by Simmons and Kinsler that initially ended the seventh inning was overturned after review. The Angels would have gotten out of the inning unscathed, but, instead, a run scored after the review found that Wilson Ramos was safe at first. Noe Ramirez was taken out of the game, replaced by Justin Anderson, who proceeded to induce a flyout to end the inning.

Video: TB@LAA: Robertson scores after call overturned

UP NEXT
The Angels will turn to two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani against the Rays in Sunday's series finale at 1:07 p.m. PT. He holds a 3.58 ERA, 3.39 FIP and 1.102 WHIP over six career starts this season. Ohtani's 43 strikeouts through his first six career games is an Angels record. He last pitched on May 13 against the Twins, throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits with 11 strikeouts. He will go up against Sergio Romo, who is starting for the second straight game after having not started a game in his career before Saturday.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.

Los Angeles Angels