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Angels dump another one, as Astros clean up again, 5-4

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson sums it up: 'We've played like trash against them.' Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, in particular, are struggling. Houston goes for the four-game sweep Monday.

June 02, 2013|By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times

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Just the facts: The Angels lost three consecutive games to the Houston Astros.

And the diagnosis, from Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson: "We've played like trash against them."

The Angels' season took another dreary step toward the dumper Sunday, with a 5-4 loss to the Astros. In the first three games of the series — the Astros go for the sweep Monday — the Angels have scored seven runs. The Astros are the only team in the majors with an earned-run average above 5.00.

Albert Pujols had two hits, but he is batting .243 and he has not hit a home run in 18 days. Josh Hamilton is batting .216, the lowest average of any regular in the American League West.

"It's going to be tough to get going on the offensive side until those two guys really get comfortable," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

In the meantime, the Angels fell to 9-18 against the American League West — and 3-6 against the gritty little Astros and their $21-million payroll.

Wilson said he did not believe the Astros were playing over their heads. Still, the Angels were so sensitive to the notion they should have beaten up on the Astros that Scioscia interrupted a reporter before the word "Astros" could get out of his mouth.

"I don't care who we're playing," Scioscia said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing or where we're playing. Right now, we're not playing good baseball."

But didn't the Angels think they had missed a golden opportunity to take advantage of the schedule?

"You guys make a lot out of who we're playing," Scioscia said. "The fact of the matter is, we're playing a Major League Baseball team. They've got good players. We have to play well to beat them.

"Right now, they're beating us in every aspect. We're not helping ourselves."

Third baseman Alberto Callaspo made three poor throws, two of which were charged as errors. The Astros are the only AL team to make more errors than the Angels this season.

They have stolen fewer bases than all but two teams in the league, but they have been caught stealing more than all but one team.

Wilson held the Astros to three runs and six hits in 71/3 innings. He also struck out nine.

Unfortunately for Wilson and the Angels, four of those hits went for extra bases. Carlos Corporan hit a solo home run in the first inning, Carlos Pena did the same in the fifth, and Brandon Barnes doubled and scored in the sixth.

Mark Trumbo hit his team-high 13th home run for the Angels, and Hank Conger homered too.

The Angels got off to a horribly slow start this season. They comforted themselves by saying they did the same thing last year, then had a pretty good season after all.

This is worse. The Angels got to the .500 mark for good last season on May 28. Here we are in the first week of June this year, and the Angels are seven games under .500.

The Angels are 101/2 games out of first place, even with the eight-game winning streak that ended last week. It is now June, and the Angels ought to be able to say what kind of team they are.

"You come at a time where we lost three in a row," Scioscia said. "If you would have asked us last week where we were, we saw a lot of things moving in the right direction.

"In the small picture of this series, we've been horrible. Our team is going to improve as we move through the season."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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