Any "rah-rah" enthusiasm built up during the Angels' closed-door meeting Sunday apparently fizzled out no more than a day later when they lost to a team that has been playing even worse than them.
And that's saying something.
The slumping Angels lost to the deeper-slumping Cleveland Indians, 6-2, at Angel Stadium on Monday, giving the Angels their ninth loss in 12 games. They are 21/2 games out of a wild-card spot and eight games back of American League West-leading Texas.
The Angels (60-56) were on rough footing entering their three-game series with Cleveland.
But the Indians looked like three easy wins that could help right a wobbly Angels ship.
After all, Cleveland had lost 13 of its last 16 games and was coming off its worst loss of the season and its worst home loss in eight seasons: a 14-1 rout by Boston on Sunday.
Instead, in the battle of two clubs playing poorly, the Indians (54-62) fed the Angels another loss, putting their foe on even rougher footing to start a series that the Angels could very much use at the moment.
If the Angels' night was crystallized in a moment, it came in the seventh inning when starting pitcherC.J. Wilsontried to catch a line drive — with his bare left hand, the one he pitches with.
Wilson did not catch the ball, but his hand was bruised and he had to leave the game after pitching 62/3 innings. Wilson is considered day to day.
He gave up six hits and three runs while striking out five.
The Indians jumped on Wilson (9-9) early, scoring three runs by the fourth inning.
The third inning started poorly for the Angels when Howard Kendrick recorded a fielding error that allowed Brent Lillibridge to reach base.
Two batters later, Jason Donald singled to center to score Lillibridge. One batter later, Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right to score another run.
And one inning later, Lillibridge hit a solo home run to center field.
Justin Masterson (9-10) pitched six innings, giving up six hits while striking out four.
The Angels did not exit the night scoreless, thanks to an eighth-inning two-run home run by Albert Pujols (his 25th), who had just two hits in his last 27 at-bats before that one.
Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo each aimed to tie the score with one swing in their respective at-bats, but both flied out, ending the inning, after which many Angels fans went home early.
The Angels had chances but left eight runners on base.
Their best scoring opportunity before Pujols' home run came in the seventh, when their first two runners reached base.
But their next three went nowhere: flyout, strikeout, strikeout.
Cleveland opened the ninth with three consecutive singles off Hisanori Takahashi, who was yanked, and then proceeded to pad its lead with three more runs.
The Angels went quietly into the night a half-inning later.