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Angels again fail to bring it home in 10-inning loss to Baltimore

High-powered Angels offense continues to struggle with runners in scoring position, bullpen misfires again, and Nick Markakis drives in all of Orioles' runs in 3-2 victory that drops Angels to 6-10.

April 22, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

Not getting the big hit has defined the Angels' season so far, and Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles was more of the same.

"Offensive continuity is something that we're searching for," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of a game that ended with pinch-runner Bobby Abreu stranded at third.

After hitting an eighth-inning home run that sent the game to extra innings, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick couldn't catch a hard grounder up the middle by Baltimore's Nick Markakis that bounced off his glove to shallow center field for a run-scoring single in the 10th.

Kendrick then struck out swinging against closer Jim Johnson to end the game.

That out left the Angels (6-10) batting .215 (28 for 130) with runners in scoring position in their last 14 games. Even threatening to score was a rarity Sunday, when they struck out 10 times and failed to get anyone past second base in seven of 10 innings.

"You want better results," Scioscia said. "We're not firing on all cylinders."

Albert Pujols remains homer-less after 65 at-bats following his 0-for-4 day with two strikeouts as a designated hitter.

The flat performance against Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen and three relievers hurt Angels starter Dan Haren, who remained winless through four starts despite nine strikeouts in 71/3 innings Sunday.

"Stuff-wise, it was the best I've had," Haren said. "We're going to get going. The track record . . . the talent is going to take over. Some guys need to get going. I need to win a game."

The Orioles rallied to take a 2-1 lead on four singles against Haren and reliever Scott Downs in the eighth inning.

Haren retired the first batter, but pinch-hitter Matt Wieters and No. 9 batter Robert Andino singled to left field, and Scioscia summoned Downs after 115 pitches by Haren.

"Dan pitched a gem," Scioscia said, adding he figured that "if [Haren] could get us a couple outs [in the eighth], we were set up" to win.

Instead, Endy Chavez stroked an 0-2 pitch by Downs for a single to shallow center to load the bases.

After Downs fielded J.J. Hardy's comebacker and threw home to force out Wieters, he fell behind 2-0 to Markakis, who then slapped a go-ahead, two-run single through the left side of the infield — another blow for the Angels' spotty relief corps.

"We're searching for bullpen consistency," Scioscia said. "It just hasn't fallen into place."

Kendrick got Downs off the hook by smashing an opposite-field home run against Orioles reliever Pedro Strop (2-1). It was Kendrick's second homer of the season, and only the second in 60 innings for a team with greater power aspirations.

The Angels had taken a 1-0 lead when Vernon Wells doubled against Chen with two out in the fourth and scored on Alberto Callaspo's bloop hit to right.

The Angels used their 14th lineup in 16 games, with Callaspo playing third base and Mark Trumbo (0 for 4, two strikeouts) filling in at first for Pujols, who was given some defensive rest.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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