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Angels' rally falls short after Barria struggles

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Rookie Jaime Barria endured the worst start of his nascent MLB career on Monday night, yielding a career-high six runs over four innings in the Angels' 7-4 loss to the D-backs at Angel Stadium.

Barria gave up six hits, including a pair of home runs to Paul Goldschmidt and Ketel Marte, and departed with the Angels down, 6-0. Justin Upton and Albert Pujols launched back-to-back home runs off D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke to put the Angels on the board in the fourth, but the early deficit proved too great for the club's offense to surmount.

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ANAHEIM -- Rookie Jaime Barria endured the worst start of his nascent MLB career on Monday night, yielding a career-high six runs over four innings in the Angels' 7-4 loss to the D-backs at Angel Stadium.

Barria gave up six hits, including a pair of home runs to Paul Goldschmidt and Ketel Marte, and departed with the Angels down, 6-0. Justin Upton and Albert Pujols launched back-to-back home runs off D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke to put the Angels on the board in the fourth, but the early deficit proved too great for the club's offense to surmount.

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Video: ARI@LAA: Upton, Pujols belt back-to-back HRs in 4th

The Angels (38-35) have now lost three in a row and seven of their last eight to fall a season-high 10 1/2 games back of the Astros and 8 1/2 games behind the Mariners in the American League West.

"We need to get our own house in order," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're not looking at the standings. They're irrelevant right now. Our direction is to, with the guys we have right now, become the best team we can and continue to move forward. That's what we're going to focus on. That's what we're going to do. If you play well and some outside help comes, great, but right now we're focused on the 25 we have now. That's what our goal is. I think we have the makings to go on a run if we can put things together the way we can, get some guys back in the lineup. I think that's what we're going to focus on. We're still a good club."

The Angels trailed just four pitches into the game, as Jon Jay singled and Goldschmidt homered to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Barria also surrendered a leadoff home run to Marte in the second that made it 3-0.

"I think that when Jaime's been on, he's been commanding counts," Scioscia said. "He's been able to use all his pitches, and he's got really good command when he's on. At times when it's wavered, he's paid a price for it."

The 21-year-old right-hander then appeared to settle in, retiring seven in a row before allowing the D-backs to break the game open with a three-run fourth. After Daniel Descalso singled and Nick Ahmed walked, Barria permitted a two-out, two-run double to Jeff Mathis, who entered Monday batting just .180. Jarrod Dyson knocked in another run with an RBI single to right field and advanced to third after Kole Calhoun allowed the ball to roll under his glove, but Barria induced a lineout from Jay to escape further damage.

"I wanted to keep attacking hitters and making pitches, but I wasn't locating my fastball and I got into a little bit of trouble," Barria said.

Noe Ramirez entered the game in the fifth to replace Barria, whose ERA spiked from 2.61 to 3.57 as a result of the rocky outing.

Video: ARI@LAA: Ramirez K's Peralta, the side in the 5th

Calhoun, who was activated off the disabled list on Monday after missing 15 games with a right oblique strain, singled in his first at-bat against Greinke in the third inning to snap an 0-for-17 skid and collect his first hit since May 25. Ian Kinsler followed with a two-out double, but Calhoun slipped while rounding second, forcing him to stop at third and potentially costing the Angels a run. Mike Trout then grounded out to end the inning.

"He looked really relaxed," Scioscia said of Calhoun, who finished 2-for-3. "It's a great approach from Kole. Hopefully he's turned the corner on this thing. He looked healthy and swung the bat well."

The Angels cut the deficit to 6-2 in the fourth after Upton and Pujols went back-to-back for the first time this season. Upton's 16th home run of the season traveled an estimated 427 feet, according to Statcast™, while Pujols' 12th homer measured an estimated 398 feet. Pujols now has 626 career home runs, leaving him four shy of tying Ken Griffey Jr. (630) for sixth on the all-time list.

The Angels generated a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh after Calhoun and Kinsler singled and Trout walked to load the bases with one out against D-backs reliever Yoshihisa Hirano. That brought up Upton, who smoked a drive to deep center field, but Dyson made a leaping grab at the wall to rob the Angels' slugger of at least extra bases, potentially even a game-tying grand slam. Upton had to settle for a sacrifice fly that cut the deficit to 6-3, and Pujols subsequently flied out to end the Angels' rally.

"It is what it is, man," Upton said. "I hit the ball on the barrel and thought I got a hit, and he did his job. We know how well we hit the ball tonight, just didn't go our way. We gotta come out and do the same thing tomorrow -- put barrels on the baseball, hopefully they fall."

Video: ARI@LAA: Upton belts a sacrifice fly to deep center

SOUND SMART
Trout reached base four times on Monday after singling twice and drawing a pair of walks. He has reached base safely in his last seven games and is batting .682 (15-for-22) with four home runs, seven RBIs and 13 walks over that span. The Angels are 1-6 during that stretch.

UP NEXT
Converted right-handed reliever Felix Pena (0-0, 10.13 ERA) will make his first MLB start on Tuesday as the Angels conclude their two-game Interleague series against the D-backs at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Pena will oppose right-hander Matt Koch (5-3, 4.09 ERA). Pena, who was acquired from the Cubs over the offseason, has logged a 5.28 ERA over 38 career relief appearances in the Majors. He has made nine starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this season, going 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA over 32 innings. He has not thrown more than 84 pitches in a single outing.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels