ANAHEIM -- Yusmeiro Petit has been arguably the Angels' most reliable reliever all season, but the veteran right-hander suffered a rare misstep on Wednesday night, surrendering a tiebreaking home run to Francisco Lindor that helped propel the Indians to a 6-5 win at Angel Stadium.
The defeat prevented the Angels from gaining on the Twins for a second straight night, as they remain 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot with 11 games left to play.
"It's one of those nights where our bullpen, which has been there the whole season, just stubbed its toe a little bit," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Petit was summoned to replace starter Ricky Nolasco to start the sixth with the game tied, 2-2, a sign that Scioscia has begun to manage with more urgency as the regular season continues to wind down. Petit, who entered Wednesday with a 2.09 ERA over 86 innings, worked a clean inning, but he fell into trouble in the seventh.
After yielding a leadoff single to Giovanny Urshela, Petit threw a fastball down to the middle to Lindor, who crushed it to right-center field for a two-run homer that put Cleveland ahead, 4-2. Petit gave up another single to Austin Jackson before exiting, and he was ultimately charged with three runs after Keynan Middleton allowed an inherited runner to score on Edwin Encarnacion's RBI single.
"One bad night," Petit said. "I'll take it. I made mistakes today and I had to pay."
The Angels responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-4, but the bullpen couldn't prevent Cleveland's potent lineup from adding on in the eighth. After Jackson doubled with two outs, Scioscia brought in Richard Parker to try to keep the deficit at one, but he gave up an RBI single to Jose Ramirez.
It proved to be a crucial insurance run for the Indians, as Jose Pujols homered to lead off the eighth, trimming Cleveland's lead to 6-5. Still, Bryan Shaw recorded the final six outs to seal the Angels' eighth loss in their last 12 games.
Despite the bullpen's tough night, Scioscia said he has plenty of faith that his relievers will have no trouble bouncing back, especially Petit.
"He's been automatic for us this year," Scioscia said. "At times, you're going to miss your spots, and guys are going to hit it. Yusmeiro's been there time in and time out. He'll get the ball again tomorrow if his role comes up, and he'll go and do a good job. He'll be fine."