Ryan Roberts, right, celebrates with Evan Longoria after hitting a two-run… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)
The Angels continued to redefine rock bottom in a season filled with new lows, their 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday completing the Rays’ four-game sweep in Angel Stadium and dropping the Angels a season-high nine games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West.
Zack Greinke, thought to be the crucial piece to push the Angels into World Series contention when he was acquired from Milwaukee for three double-A prospects on July 27, was roughed up for six runs and seven hits in six innings, as the Angels lost for the 13th time in 18 games.
The Angels rotation, expected to be one of the best in baseball, has combined for a 3-7 record and 6.53 earned-run average in 18 August starts, giving up 75 earned run and 22 home runs in 103 1/3 innings. The Angels went 3-7 on the homestand and are now 4 1/2 games out in the wild-card race.
Much like a pair of seven-run innings that doomed Jered Weaver on Friday night and C.J. Wilson on Saturday night, a big inning Sunday hurt Greinke, who allowed four runs in the second, much of the damage self-inflicted.
Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez each singled with one out, but Greinke walked Jose Molina to load the bases, hit No. 9 batter Elliot Johnson with a pitch to force in a run and walked B.J. Upton to force in a second run. Matt Joyce capped the rally with a two-run single to right.
Mike Trout’s solo homer to right, his 24th of the season, cut the lead to 4-1 in the fourth, but the Rays countered with Roberts’ two-run homer to left in the fifth, pushing their lead to 6-1.
Trout had a chance to put a huge dent in the deficit when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, but the rookie phenom took an ill-advised swing at a borderline 2-and-0 pitch and sent a weak fly ball to center field to end the inning.
Albert Pujols hit a solo homer to left in the sixth, his 28th of the season and 473rd of his career, tying him with Carlos Delgado for 30th place on baseball’s all-time homer list.
But that was all the damage the Angels could do against Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore, who allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking two, to improve to 10-7.
The Rays tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on Carlos Pena’s two-run double off Scott Downs, giving them 37 runs in the four games against the Angels, the most they’ve scored in a series in franchise history.
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