ANAHEIM -- A cursory tremor rippled through Angel Stadium in the second inning of Tuesday night's series finale against the Rockies, a mild aftershock of a 4.4-magnitude earthquake that was centered 25 miles north near La Verne. It did little to jolt the Angels' offense.
One night after rallying for a wild 10-7 win, the Angels went quietly in a 3-2 loss that secured a split of their two-game Interleague set with Colorado.
The Angels were shut out through the first four innings by Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland before David Fletcher put them on the board with an RBI single in the fifth inning. Jose Pujols cut the deficit to one with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, but Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth to seal the Rockies' win.
The Angels, who have lost seven of their last eight games, are 16-25 against left-handed starters this season. Their offensive shortcomings spoiled an impressive effort from their bullpen, which deployed seven relievers in lieu of a traditional starter Tuesday to help fill the gaps in the Angels' injury-racked rotation.
"They did a great job," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's a big offense over there, and we certainly had a chance to win. We just couldn't get enough going."
Less than 24 hours after earning his first career save, Noe Ramirez achieved yet another milestone, taking the mound for the Angels in his first career start. The 28-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher in franchise history to start a game the day after recording a save. The last player to accomplish the quirky feat was the Rays' Erasmo Ramirez on May 28-29, 2017.
"I was definitely in a really good state," Ramirez said. "I had a pretty cool accomplishment last night, and I was nothing but positive, feeling good."
But the outing didn't play out as he had hoped. On the third pitch of his fledgling career as a starter, Ramirez surrendered a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon. On the 11th, he yielded a two-run home run to Carlos Gonzalez that put the Angels in a 2-0 hole.
"I just couldn't execute a couple pitches early on, and unfortunately, I paid for it," Ramirez said. "Going out there and giving up two runs to start off the game, it's tough for our offense. It's an uphill battle. It is frustrating."
Ramirez capped his one-inning start with back-to-back strikeouts of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story before giving way to Jim Johnson, who worked a clean second.
Taylor Cole, recalled Tuesday, took over in the third and proceeded to face the minimum over three scoreless innings. Cole received some help from his defense in the fourth, as Kole Calhoun made a diving catch in right field to rob Arenado, and Rene Rivera gunned down Story, who tried to steal second after reaching on a two-out single.
"Taylor Cole was exceptional for his three innings," Scioscia said.
Cam Bedrosian dodged trouble in a scoreless sixth before passing the baton to Ty Buttrey in the seventh. Story opened the inning by legging out an infield single that deflected off first baseman Jefry Marte's glove, stole second and advanced to third on Gerardo Parra's flyout, setting up Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly to left field that made it 3-1. It was the first run allowed by Buttrey since he debuted with the Angels on Aug. 16.
Jose Alvarez and Richard Parker pitched the final two innings to close out the Angels' third bullpen game this month. The tactic has yet to bear fruit for the Angels, who are 0-3 in those contests.
The Angels have only three wins in August against teams that are above .500.
HE SAID IT
"It's a little different. It's brighter." -- Ramirez, on whether starting is different from relieving
Following Wednesday's off-day, the Angels will kick off a four-game series against the Astros on Thursday night at 5:10 p.m. PT at Minute Maid Park. Left-hander Andrew Heaney (7-8, 4.25 ERA) will start for the Angels, though the Astros have not yet announced who will oppose him. Heaney has posted a 6.67 ERA in five August starts, a notable spike from the 3.64 ERA he logged through his first 19 outings of the season. He is 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA in five career starts against the Astros.