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Angels lose on error in 10th

Shields' throwing error allows the winning run to score.

April 15, 2009|MIKE DIGIOVANNA

SEATTLE — Shane Loux tried to put Nick Adenhart out of his mind on Tuesday. He failed miserably, knowing full well that it was Adenhart, the 22-year-old Angels pitcher who was killed in a car crash early Thursday, who was supposed to start in Safeco Field.

"Every inning, I thought about it," Loux said. "Every time I came back to the dugout, I thought about it. Every time I looked at the Major League Baseball symbol on the ball, I thought about it. Every time I looked in to [catcher Mike] Napoli, I thought about it.

"It was more difficult than I thought, but . . . I was able to take a deep breath and move on. It wasn't hard to dig for inspiration. His patch is on my chest, right over my heart."

Loux, a 29-year-old journeyman who hadn't started a big league game since 2003 and was out of baseball in 2007, gave the Angels 5 1/3 solid innings Tuesday, giving up two runs and five hits, striking out two and walking three.

The Angels lost to the Seattle Mariners, 3-2, as Franklin Gutierrez doubled to open the 10th inning and scored when reliever Scot Shields fielded Yuniesky Betancourt's bunt down the third base line and fired his throw into right field for an error.

But Loux's effort, combined with two strong starts from Dustin Moseley, who is 1-0 with a 3.86 earned-run average, have so encouraged the Angels that they will not look outside the organization this month to bolster a rotation that, before Adenhart's death, was without John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar.

They will not look to sign a free agent such as Pedro Martinez or Paul Byrd, and they will not pursue a trade for a starter. Long reliever Darren Oliver will start Saturday in Minnesota, and two more off days this month will mitigate the need for a fifth starter.

Though Escobar has had a setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery, Lackey and Santana are on track to return by early May.

"We have talented pitchers in-house who can step up and have stepped up before," General Manager Tony Reagins said before Tuesday's game.

"Sometimes in these situations, an opportunity presents itself, as we saw with Santana and Joe Saunders last year, and guys take the bull by the horns. So far, Moseley has stepped up and pitched well, and hopefully Loux will show what he's capable of."

The right-hander did just that Tuesday, showing a good sinker and overcoming some command problems to keep the Angels in the game before handing the ball to Oliver, who gave up one hit and struck out four in three scoreless innings.

The Angels scored in the fourth inning when Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch, took third on Bobby Abreu's double and scored on Vladimir Guerrero's groundout. Torii Hunter crushed a solo home run to left field against starter Carlos Silva in the sixth inning.

But the Angels left the bases loaded in the fifth (Kendrick strikeout) and eighth innings (Kendry Morales popup) and went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. They are hitting .209 (14 for 67) with runners in scoring position in seven games.

"If there's been one theme in these first seven games, it's our hitting with runners in scoring position," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "You're going to go through spells like this. Sometimes guys make good pitches, sometimes you get a little too aggressive, sometimes you can't get a ball to fall in. We're getting all of that in the first week.

"We're getting guys on base, and that's the first step. Hopefully, as we keep pressuring teams, we'll crack through and get some hits with runners in scoring position."


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