ANAHEIM -- When the ball left Kole Calhoun's bat, heading toward right field with one runner on and the Angels down two runs, an audible gasp permeated Angel Stadium. But the potential heroics were not to be as Calhoun's drive was caught by Giants right fielder Andrew McCutchen. Two batters later Ian Kinsler flied out to end the game, sealing the Angels' 4-2 loss in Sunday's rubber game.
Giants ace Johnny Cueto, who entered the game with the Major League lead in ERA (0.45), WHIP (0.65), and opponents' OPS (.388), did not disappoint.
Despite being relatively erratic on the mound, hitting two batters and walking two, he held a no-hitter through five innings, finishing with seven strikeouts, no earned runs and two hits in six innings.
Michael Trout provided all the Angels' offense, hitting his Major League-leading ninth homer off reliever Cory Gearrin in the eighth. His nine home runs through his first 22 games ties an Angels franchise record with Leon Wagner in 1962, Brian Downing in 1987 and Jose Pujols in 2014. It is the fourth time in his career that he has homered in three straight games.
"I'm having good at-bats and making a good swing at the ball," Trout said. "For me, I'm not trying to hit home runs, I'm just trying to get the barrel on the ball and they're going out of the park."
Kinsler (2-for-5, two singles), Jefry Marte, Rene Rivera and Shohei Ohtani were the only other Halos to notch hits -- all singles. Ohtani has now hit safely in nine of his first 10 starts at designated hitter.
The Angels' best opportunity came in the sixth. Kinsler singled to break up the no-hitter leading off the inning and the Angels loaded the bases for Luis Valbuena with one out. Valbuena, however, grounded into a 3-6-1 double play to end the threat.
The Angels have now been limited to two or fewer runs in five of their past six games.
Starter Jaime Barria -- in just his second career start -- was pulled after walking McCutchen to load the bases with no out in the third inning. Noe Ramirez came in and got Buster Posey to hit into a double play, but the Giants scored their first run of the game. The next batter, Evan Longoria, hit a two-run homer to give the Giants some cushion.
Though Barria completed just two, his pitch count was at 77, due in large part to a 21-pitch at-bat versus Brandon Belt in the first inning -- the most pitches in a single at-bat in 20 years.
"That took a toll on him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Naturally, your concern-o-meter goes up a little bit when a guy is in that scope of pitches."
Barria allowed two earned runs and five hits, striking out one. He agreed with the sentiment that Belt's at-bat -- and his first inning overall, in which he threw 49 pitches and got out of a bases-loaded jam -- proved detrimental.
"Obviously [the first inning] was both mentally and physically [taxing]," Barria said. "[Forty-nine] pitches in the first inning -- it was quite a bit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Andrelton Simmons left the game in the fourth inning with a right forearm contusion. X-rays were negative. Simmons suffered his injury in the bottom half of the second inning, when a 95 mph Cueto fastball caught his right forearm.
"There's nothing I could've done about it," Simmons said. "It was on me. I tried to slow down [my swing], try to ease the pain that was coming."
HE SAID IT
"I've never seen anything like it. ... I couldn't imagine being up there for 21 pitches. It was an unbelievable at-bat." -- Trout, on Belt's 21-pitch at-bat
This was the fourth time this season Angels starting pitchers have lasted two-or-fewer innings. That ties a franchise record set in 1962 and 1979 for most through 22 games to start a season. It is the most times that has happened to one team in the Majors this season.
The Angels will look to bounce back with Tyler Skaggs on the mound as the Halos start a three-game series against the Astros in Houston on Monday. Skaggs warmed up in the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday's game, and Scioscia said afterward that, had the Angels tied the game, Skaggs would have entered in the 10th. Skaggs' last start was against the Red Sox on April 18, when he allowed six earned runs over 4.1 innings. In three starts against the Astros last season, Skaggs was 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA. In three career games at Minute Maid Park, he is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA.