Angels center fielder Mike Trout follows through on a run-scoring single… (Ben Margot / Associated…)
An offense that helped thrust the Angels toward the top of the American League West with its power and clutch hitting over the past month blew a timing belt coming out of the All-Star break.
The Angels managed two hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position in a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Friday night, looking much more like the team that sputtered through April and May than the one that went 20-7 before the break.
"You're not going to have a perfect game every night — you're not going to score six or seven runs every night," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
"We did a lot offensively with the exception of moving guys from third with an out and hitting with runners in scoring position. We've been doing a much better job on the offensive end, but we didn't tonight."
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Angels pitcher Dan Haren, who allowed four runs and 10 hits in 61/3 innings, and opened old wounds for an offense that ranks 10th in the American League with a .239 average with runners in scoring position.
Down by four runs, the Angels scored once in the fifth inning and twice in the sixth, but both rallies fizzled, leaving the Angels with a feeling that they could have done far more damage.
Russell Branyan — added to the lineup when Vernon Wells was scratched because of a stomach ailment — walked to open the fifth, and Jeff Mathis reached on an infield single.
Mike Trout flied to the wall in center, and Erick Aybar doubled to right-center to score Branyan and advance Mathis to third. But with runners on second and third and one out, Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter struck out against A's starter Brandon McCarthy.
Alberto Callaspo's one-out single in the sixth knocked McCarthy out of the game. Right-hander Michael Wuertz came on and walked three straight batters, including pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis on four pitches with the bases loaded.
Oakland Manager Bob Melvin pulled Wuertz in favor of Joey Devine, who suffered lower-back spasms on a 2-and-1 pitch to Trout and had to leave the game.
Trout greeted Brad Ziegler with a single to right, giving the 19-year-old center fielder his first major league RBI and pulling the Angels to within a run at 4-3.
But Aybar, who entered with a team-leading .328 average with runners in scoring position, grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Angels had only one hit the rest of the way.
"We did have a lot of opportunities — we put a couple of innings together, and we were one hit away from winning the game," Haren said. "We could have easily scored seven or eight runs. But I put us in too deep of a hole."
Haren (10-6) allowed five earned runs in 31 innings of his previous four starts but gave up four runs in the first four innings Friday night.
Kurt Suzuki doubled in the second and scored on Jemile Weeks' single. With two outs, Haren left a 2-and-0 cut fastball up to Josh Willingham, who blasted it into the second deck beyond the left-field wall for his 12th homer and a 3-0 lead.
"I should have just walked him," Haren said. "I made several mistakes up in the zone, and that's not where you want to go."
David DeJesus' double and Conor Jackson's RBI single gave the A's a 4-0 lead in the fourth, and Oakland added an insurance run in the eighth on Willingham's double and Hideki Matsui's RBI single.