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Angels leave unlucky 7 in scoring position

With the odds in the Angels' favor, they find a way to lose to the San Diego Padres, 3-2, as starting pitcher Dan Haren falls to 1-5.

May 19, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Angels Manager Mike Scioscia argues with first base umpire Doug Eddings that Mike Trout was safe at first base in the fifth inning Saturday night in San Diego.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia argues with first base umpire Doug Eddings… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)

SAN DIEGO — This is not the stuff of which championship teams are made.

The Angels had the chance to move within six games of the Texas Rangers for the first time in a month. Their starting pitcher was Dan Haren, a three-time All-Star. The opposing starting pitcher was Eric Stults, who last won a major league game three years ago. The opposing team was the San Diego Padres, with the worst record in the National League.

The Angels lost, of course. It was not so much Saturday's final score — Padres 3, Angels 2 — that reflected the problem.

It was how the Angels lost.

No margin for error for Haren again. No hits with runners in scoring position in seven tries.

The last try was granted to Ryan Langerhans.

Langerhans had not batted in the week since he was promoted from triple-A Salt Lake to replace Torii Hunter on the roster, but he had entered the game as part of a double switch.

Langerhans struck out looking, ending the game and stranding the potential tying run on third base. Vernon Wells sat on the bench, available and unused.

Manager Mike Scioscia said he might have used the right-handed Wells if the Padres had a left-handed pitcher in the game.

"Langerhans had been swinging the bat well," Scioscia said.

In his last nine minor league games, Langerhans had batted .179. He had not batted since May 13.

"He's still swinging every day," Scioscia said, referring to batting practice.

Langerhans need not have been the issue. John Hester struck out with a man on third and one out. Mike Trout was thrown out trying to steal third, when he already was in scoring position for Albert Pujols.

Scioscia had no quarrel with Trout's aggressiveness.

"Mike didn't quite get the jump," Scioscia said. "You see growing pains with youngsters here and there. If Mike had gotten his jump, that play is not going to be close.

"That could change the course of an inning. Mike just forced it a little bit."

Pujols even stole his first base as an Angel, although it appeared a good throw would have beaten him. Pujols hustled to get into scoring position, representing the tying run in taking second base with two out in the eighth inning. Howie Kendrick then struck out.

Erick Aybar tied a career high with four hits, including a double and a triple. Aybar lifted his batting average from .197 to .221.

Aybar went four for four.

The rest of the Angels went two for 26.

The good news for Haren was this: The Angels were not shut out. For the first time in four starts, they scored for him.

However, for the seventh consecutive start, they scored no more than two runs while he was in the game.

Haren gave up three runs and six hits over 62/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. His earned-run average dropped to 4.37, his record to 1-5.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to win games," Haren said. "I'm frustrated sitting at 1-5. I'm not happy about it. The team is not happy.

"I just think I haven't gotten hit around too much, but my numbers don't look good."

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