"I feel like I've been throwing the ball as well as I ever have in my whole life, and today was probably the worst outing I've ever had in my life," Skaggs said. "It's kind of the ups and downs of a season. I think everyone is liable to have a few bad ones. You can't be perfect every time out. But I'm definitely better than that. Today was a tough one."
The bulk of the damage against Skaggs came in a disastrous fourth inning, when he retired only one of eight batters he faced and allowed the Rays to score seven runs, sinking the Angels into a 10-1 hole from which they would not recover. They are now back at .500 (54-54) after dropping the opening game of their six-game road trip to St. Petersburg and Cleveland.
Skaggs, who entered Tuesday having yielded one earned run or less in seven of his last eight starts, saw his ERA jump from 2.62 to 3.34 as a result of the poor outing.
"Tyler just seemed like he never got the fastball where he wanted to," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just didn't set the tone that he's been setting when he's been going well. He's usually getting ahead in the count and being able to bring all of his pitches into the game, and he just had trouble doing that tonight."
The Angels' offense managed to chip away at the deficit and pulled within four after Mike Trout launched his 30th home run of the season off the C-ring catwalk in the seventh inning. Trout joins Willie Mays as the only players to hit 30 home runs and steal 20 bases in three seasons before their age-26 campaigns.
The Angels had a chance to close the gap even further after David Fletcher and Kaleb Cowart drew back-to-back walks off left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to put runners on first and second with two outs.
Manager Mike Scioscia sent Francisco Arcia -- who set an MLB record by driving in 10 runs over his first two games -- to pinch-hit for Jose Briceno, but Arcia struck out swinging to end the inning.
"We were just battling back, chipping away, chipping away," Trout said. "We had some chances. We could have easily just folded in the first couple innings, but we just kept battling and having great at-bats. We just fell short."
Kole Calhoun went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs to continue his impressive offensive resurgence. The Angels' right fielder is now batting .298 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs in 35 games since returning from the disabled list, a surge that has helped lift his batting average from .145 to .209 on the season. Albert Pujols also enjoyed a productive night, finishing 3-for-5 with an RBI. The 38-year-old slugger is now hitting .310 with 11 RBIs over his last 18 games.
Skaggs faced the minimum in the first inning, but he allowed the Rays to get on the board via Jake Bauers' solo home run in the second. It was the first homer Skaggs had surrendered since May 28, a stretch that spanned 53 innings.
"They're an aggressive team," Skaggs said. "They were swinging early. It's the first home run I've given up in months. He put a good swing on a kind of get-me-over curveball. That was a sign of things to come."
Skaggs gave up two more runs in the third on Kevin Kiermaier's RBI triple and Daniel Robertson's run-scoring groundout before completely unraveling in the fourth.
After retiring Bauers on a flyout to open the inning, Skaggs allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base. Carlos Gomez singled before scoring on Michael Perez's RBI double. After Willy Adames walked and Mallex Smith singled to load the bases, Skaggs issued another walk to Kiermaier to force in a run. Matt Duffy followed with an RBI single, and Skaggs then hit Robertson with the bases loaded to bring his rocky outing to an end.
Scioscia summoned right-hander Noe Ramirez to replace Skaggs on the mound, but he yielded an RBI single to C.J. Cron and a two-run single to Gomez before finally working out of the inning. All 10 runs were charged to Skaggs. The most runs he had allowed in a previous outing was seven.
"I think it kind of spiraled out of control today," Skaggs said. "Baseball's a humbling game. … They put some good swings on it today, especially in that fourth inning. I've got to be better, though. I didn't really give our team a chance to win today, and that sucks."
SOUND SMART Calhoun's two-run shot off Yarbrough in the fifth inning marked his first homer off a lefty since Sept. 30, 2017.
HE SAID IT "It's cool. It's obviously a big number you try to reach at the beginning of the season. For me, I can't tell you I'm going to hit 30 or 40. I just try to barrel up the ball. If it goes out, it goes out. If I try to hit a homer, I'm going to get out. I'm just preparing myself to get a pitch to hit and not missing it. But it's a cool accomplishment, for sure." -- Trout, on reaching 30 home runs
UP NEXT Right-hander Nick Tropeano (4-5, 4.82 ERA) will take the mound on Wednesday as the Angels and Rays continue their three-game series at 4:10 p.m. PT at Tropicana Field. He will be opposed by right-hander Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 4.34 ERA), who was acquired from the Pirates on Tuesday as part of the Chris Archer trade. Tropeano faced Tampa Bay at Angel Stadium in May and took the loss after allowing four runs over 2 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in three career starts against the Rays.