ANAHEIM -- The image that best encapsulated the Angels' frustrating day at the plate came in the third inning of their 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday at Angel Stadium.The Angels had managed to generate one of their few scoring opportunities against right-hander Thomas Stripling after Andrelton Simmons reached
ANAHEIM -- The image that best encapsulated the Angels' frustrating day at the plate came in the third inning of their 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday at Angel Stadium.
The Angels had managed to generate one of their few scoring opportunities against right-hander Thomas Stripling after Andrelton Simmons reached on a hit-by-pitch and Michael Trout singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, but they couldn't capitalize.
After popping out to right field to end the inning, Justin Upton slammed his bat into the ground as he ran down the first-base line, shattering it in half. Upton is now batting .161 with runners in scoring position this season, the fourth-lowest mark among qualified hitters in the Majors.
"We're getting chances, just coming up shortly lately," Trout said. "But it'll turn. We just have to stay positive."
Trout went 3-for-4 with a solo home run to account for all of the Angels' damage against Stripling, but the rest of the lineup struggled to produce, scraping together only four hits and leaving seven men on base. Stripling allowed only one run on three hits over six innings for the Dodgers, lowering his ERA to 2.22 and bolstering his case for a spot on the National League All-Star team.
"He gives you different looks," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got a little late life to his fastball. He cuts it. He's got a couple different looks on his breaking ball, good changeup. He just moves it around and pitches. We didn't get too many good looks at him, obviously."
The Angels have now lost eight of their last 12 games to fall to 45-45 on the season, 11 games behind the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The Angels scored two runs off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to come away with a 3-2 walk-off win in Friday's series opener, but they went quietly in the ninth on Saturday, allowing Jansen to atone for his blown save. The only drama came after Shohei Ohtani fouled a ball off his right knee, which caused him to walk back to the dugout with a noticeable limp. Scioscia said Ohtani is day to day, but he is likely to sit on Sunday against Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood.
"I think I'll be fine," said Ohtani, whose knee was wrapped in ice after the game. "I'm going to try to be ready tomorrow."
Right-hander William McGuire, who has been pitching out of the rotation following the injuries to Nick Tropeano, John Lamb and Tyler Skaggs, worked three scoreless innings in his second start for the Angels. McGuire gave up only a single to Enrique Hernandez, walked two and struck out six in the 61-pitch outing.
"I felt really good," McGuire said. "I felt like we had a good game plan going into the game, and I felt like we executed it well. We played good defense. [Martin Maldonado] did a great job behind the plate. I just wanted to give as many innings as they needed me to."
Jose Alvarez, Taylor Cole, Cam Bedrosian, Richard Parker and Noe Ramirez combined to pitch the final six innings for the Angels. Cole was charged with the loss after yielding a two-run single to Justin Turner in the fifth.
Yasiel Puig led off the inning with a single, Hernandez walked, and Joc Pederson laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third with one out. After Player Page for Max Muncy struck out, Turner flared a 1-1 fastball to right field to drive in Puig and Hernandez and give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Stripling shut out the Angels through the first five innings before Trout hammered a misplaced fastball to center field for a solo home run that cut the Dodgers' lead to 2-1 in the sixth. It was Trout's 25th home run of the season, which is tied with the Yankees' Aaron Judge for the second-most in the Majors. Prior to Saturday, Trout had been hitting just .167 with one home run over his previous 14 games, but he's now 5-for-5 with two homers against Stripling in his career.
"Luckily no one was on base with the Trout home run, or it's a tie game and who knows what's going on?" Stripling said. "Just try to limit the base runners when those guys come up and limit their slug. Obviously it's a good lineup, one through five is tough, a couple of Hall of Famers in there. Any time you get through them without damage and getting weak contact is huge."
Puig gave the Dodgers an insurance run by blasting a solo shot off Ramirez in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Angels had runners on first and second with two outs in the first inning after Trout singled and Upton reached on an error by Chris Taylor, but Stripling emerged unscathed after Pederson made a diving catch in center field to snag Jose Pujols' liner and end the inning.
"If that ball drops, obviously, it changes some of the game," Scioscia said.
Left-handers Andrew Heaney (4-6, 3.94 ERA) and Wood (5-5, 3.84 ERA) will face off on Sunday as the Angels and Dodgers close out the Anaheim leg of the Freeway Series at 5:05 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. In his last six home starts, Heaney is 4-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 41 innings. He is set to face the Dodgers for the first time since Sept. 8, 2015.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.