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Lifeless Angels Putting Up a Brave Front : Baseball: After their sixth loss in a row, players hold team meeting and talk about trying to salvage the season.


ANAHEIM — This was the home stand that was. . . .

The Angels were outscored, 53-19, in losing six consecutive games to the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics. This after sweeping three from the Boston Red Sox.

They were close in only one of those six, but blew that one to the Yankees, 6-4, after a four-run, ninth-inning meltdown by the bullpen.

They spent more than a week with 24 healthy players on the roster, one brick shy of the usual 25-man load.

Game, set and match. Despite continued protests, the Angels appear to be finished.

They had a 57-minute team meeting after Wednesday's 11-3 loss to the A's, apparently in a last-ditch effort to salvage what remains of their evaporating playoff hopes.

Postgame talk centered on rallying for a seven-game trip to Texas and Seattle, er, Tacoma, Wash., that begins tonight at The Ballpark in Arlington.

"We've lost four or five in a row, but (today) we've got to go out and act like we've won four or five in a row," shortstop Gary DiSarcina said. "We've got to go out and show the other team we've got our act together."

Can you say Academy Award for best acting?

At the moment, that's the best the Angels can produce: A facade, a brave front. Again on Wednesday, there seemed to be no life in their game.

"It's been miserable around here for the last four or five days," DiSarcina said after the Angels fell to a season-low 18 games below .500. "It just seems we've got to all pull in the same direction. And that's winning. We just can't go up there with no game plan. It's something we're all guilty of, just going through the motions."

Even in the American League West that's not good enough to challenge for first place.

"There have been distractions," DiSarcina said. "People expect to lose. I don't know what it is."

Into this grim scene of woe and loss, stepped a bright young prospect named Garret Anderson.

The Angels called up Anderson from triple-A Vancouver to replace Tim Salmon, on the disabled list with a sore right hamstring, and started him in left field Wednesday. Anderson promptly lined out to right on the first major league pitch he saw, moving a runner from second to third. Later, he singled twice and made a couple nice running catches in the outfield.

The question was what took the Angels so long to bring him up?

Salmon, who plays right, had been hurting since July 17, but the Angels waited until 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night to place him on the DL. Jim Edmonds, who plays left, covered ably for Salmon, but that left Bo Jackson as the everyday left fielder.

It was a painful sight, watching Jackson hobble around on that artificial hip.

Finally, Anderson got the call.

"I can't control what the front office does," said Anderson, who batted .346 with 10 home runs and 82 runs batted in in 95 games at Vancouver. "You have to put up some good numbers."

Asked about all that transpired on his first day in the big leagues, Anderson smiled and shrugged.

"I wasn't trying to worry about the score too much, just trying to help the team any way I can," he said.

So much for Wednesday's bright spot. The grim reality is that the Angels again failed to seize the day. Or more to the point in the past home stand, they failed to seize more than four victories in 13 games.

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