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Latest Angels loss is right out of left field

Second baseman Howie Kendrick's error while playing in the outfield leads to the winning run as the Padres beat the Angels, 3-2, in 13 innings.

May 20, 2012|By Bill Shaikin

SAN DIEGO — There was a time this season when the Angels had too many outfielders. There was a time this season when the Angels fancied themselves World Series contenders.

And then there was Sunday, when the Angels dropped back into last place in the American League West, when the second baseman forced into duty as an emergency left fielder botched the final play of the game.

That the Angels lost a series to the bumbling San Diego Padres is bad enough. The Angels also lost Vernon Wells and Ryan Langerhans — probably to the disabled list — leaving them short-staffed in the formerly overloaded outfield.

They can't buy a clutch hit, or very many hits of any kind. So they staggered into the 13th inning, with Howie Kendrick as their fourth left fielder of the day. Sure enough, Kendrick committed the error that allowed the Padres to score the winning run in a 3-2 victory at Petco Park.

"I made a mistake," Kendrick said. "They ended up winning the game on it."

Neither Wells nor Langerhans joined the team on its flight to Oakland on Sunday night. The players returned to Los Angeles for examinations by team doctors on Monday. Manager Mike Scioscia said he expected both players to be put on the disabled list.

Wells left the game in the third inning after injuring his right thumb sliding into second base. As he stole the base, he said, the thumb snapped backward. He left the clubhouse with his thumb and right wrist taped, and he said an MRI examination had been scheduled for Monday.

When Wells departed, Mike Trout moved from center field to left, with Peter Bourjos taking center. In the 10th inning, as part of a double switch, Bourjos was removed, Trout returned to center and Langerhans entered the game in left.

In the 11th, Langerhans crashed into the outfield fence, chasing what became a triple. He left the clubhouse with his right arm in a sling and said X-rays led him to believe he had separated his right shoulder.

At that point, backup catcher John Hester was the only position player remaining on the Angels' bench. So Albert Pujols made his Angels debut at third base, with Maicer Izturis moving to second and Kendrick to left. Hester took over for catcher Bobby Wilson, who replaced Pujols at first base.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Padres used pitcher Clayton Richard as a pinch-hitter with two out. Richard, who had been hitless in 16 at-bats this season, singled.

Will Venable then singled to left-center. With Kendrick rushing toward center to cut the ball off, Richard raced to third. Kendrick then bobbled the ball, and Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman frantically waved Richard home.

Kendrick's throw was wide. Richard scored standing up.

"It wasn't like I hadn't been out there before," Kendrick said. "I can't tell you I felt uncomfortable. I was comfortable out there."

That old cliché about adding insult to injury? That would be the Angels' turning on the television Sunday night and watching former surplus outfielder Bobby Abreu batting third and playing left field for the Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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