Left-hander Michael Roth lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Rangers… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
A year ago, Michael Roth was dealing with a double major at the University of South Carolina, where he also dabbled some in baseball. On Wednesday he had to deal with the Texas Rangers in his first major league start.
And though things went well at first, the Rangers wound up schooling the rookie left-hander, driving him from the mound after 31/3 innings of a game Texas won, 11-3.
For the bookish Roth, it was one more chapter in a baseball education that can be challenging at times.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “I feel like I have a lot more. It's still a game. It's still baseball.
“I've had a rapid ascension here. But I think I belong.”
Roth was drafted into the rotation when Tommy Hanson was put on bereavement leave this week. And after watching his injury-riddled bullpen pitch 14 innings in the last three days, Manager Mike Scioscia's was looking for Roth to give him innings and a chance to win.
The left-hander managed neither, but Scioscia was still pleased with what he got.
“You pitched your heart out,” he told Roth.
A night that started with three scoreless inning began to unravel with a leadoff walk in the fourth, starting an inning in which Texas sent 13 men to the plate and scored nine times, the most runs the Angels have given up in an inning this season.
Not all of that can be blamed on Roth, who gave up six hits and two walks before leaving the game trailing, 2-0. David Carpenter followed, fanning the flames of a Rangers rally by forcing one run in on a bases-loaded walk and giving up another on a wild pitch before giving up a three-run home run to Nelson Cruz.
And Carpenter, who was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake after the game, was only the first in a four-man parade of relievers that combined to give up six runs and five hits, one of them a two-run sixth-inning home run by Lance Berkman, who finished with a season-high four runs batted in.
Ironically, the only Angel to emerge unscathed was Jerome Williams, the man Scioscia originally announced as his starter before changing his mind late Tuesday and handing the ball to Roth.
Given the way the Texas starter Yu Darvish pitched, though, all that offense probably qualifies as overkill. Darvish (4-1) gave up only three singles through six innings and didn't allow a runner past first base. Mixing a fastball that touched 98 mph with a wicked curve that hovered in the high 60s, he struck out 11 of the 18 batters he retired, taking over the major league lead in that department with 49.
The Angels managed to avoid their second shutout of the season by bunching four hits and a walk against two relievers in the eighth, scoring on singles by Peter Bourjos and J.B. Shuck, and Hank Conger's double-play grounder.
For Shuck, it was his first run batted in in the majors since 2011.
By then, Scioscia was already putting this game behind him.
“Turn the page baby,” Scioscia said. “That's what we're doing. Turn the page.”