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Angels fall to the Cubs in extra innings, 8-6

Mark Trumbo belts two home runs and Howie Kendrick hits one, but Jason Vargas is roughed up.

June 05, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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The Angels had the proverbial golden opportunity to get back into the race in the American League West.

They blew it.

The Angels' 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings Wednesday capped a string of 29 consecutive games against teams with losing records. All of those teams occupy fourth or fifth place in their division.

BOX SCORE: Chicago Cubs 8, Angels 6 (10 innings)

And how did the Angels do during this time? They were 15-14, even including an eight-game winning streak. Their deficit in the AL West increased from nine games to 11.

"It goes back to us having to take care of business," Mark Trumbo said. "We did for a little while, at the beginning of the stretch. Lately, it's reverted to up and down.

"It would have been nice to capitalize a little more. We are where we are."

The Angels are 11 games behind the Texas Rangers and 9 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, 8 1/2 games out of the final AL wild-card spot.

Of the Angels' next 19 games, starting Friday in Boston, all but four come against teams with winning records.

"I feel we should expect to beat everybody. We should," pitcher Jason Vargas said.

However, Vargas said, the Angels were particularly stung by their four-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Houston Astros.

"We have to win ballgames regardless of who we're playing," Vargas said. "When you play a club with quite a bit less experience and they're in your division, you need to take advantage."

Trumbo hit two home runs Wednesday, including a score-tying solo shot in the eighth inning and another solo shot in the 10th. However, Angels rookie Robert Coello gave up three runs in the top of the 10th — all on a double by Anthony Rizzo, the first extra-base hit Coello has given up this season — and the Angels lost for the fifth time in six games.

Vargas put the blame on himself. He was the AL pitcher of the month for May, but his first start in June did not go so well.

The Angels staked him to a 4-1 lead after four innings, in part on a two-run home run from Howie Kendrick.

Kendrick had four hits Wednesday. He has eight home runs this season, matching his 2012 total.

In the fifth inning, the Cubs tied the score on a three-run home run by Cody Ransom.

"I feel like I cost us the game in that at-bat," Vargas said.

Ransom is a utility infielder, playing for his fourth team in two years. He hit a first-pitch, get-it-over changeup that Vargas said was left up in the strike zone and in any case was too "defensive" a pitch to throw with a three-run lead.

"I feel like I just made a dumb mistake," Vargas said.

The Angels finally have the starting five they intended in their rotation, and Manager Mike Scioscia is hopeful the pitchers will continue a modest revival. The Angels rank ninth in the league in earned-run average and eighth in runs scored, but Scioscia said the burden is on the offense to get better.

"We need to build a little bit of momentum," he said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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