As good as Huston Street is, and he has been nearly invincible for four years, he is not perfect, as the Angels were so painfully reminded of in the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers in Globe Life Park.
Street, acquired in a July 18 trade from San Diego, gave up no runs and five hits in 12 innings of his first 12 games with the Angels, converting all nine save opportunities and boosting the team's confidence in the bullpen.
That gave the veteran right-hander 33 saves in 34 opportunities this season and 118 saves in 126 opportunities since 2011, a 94% success rate that was the best among all relievers with a minimum of 50 save opportunities in that span.
But appearing in three consecutive games for the first time since May 4-6, Street failed to record an out Sunday. Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre led off the ninth inning with hard-hit singles, and Mike Carp flared a run-scoring single to center field that tied the score, 2-2, and advanced Beltre to third base.
Adam Rosales, with the Angels employing a five-man infield and a shallow two-man outfield, drove a single over left fielder Collin Cowgill's head to give the injury-ravaged Rangers, who have the worst record in the American League, their first victory when trailing after eight innings since April 24 against Oakland.
"It's always a strange feeling when you don't get your job done," Street said. "It's frustrating, but it happens. I didn't make very good pitches out there. That's the bottom line."
Manager Mike Scioscia refused to pin the blame on Street, and with good reason. The Angels failed to score after putting runners on first base and third base with no outs in the fourth inning and after loading the bases with no outs in the eighth.
And a two-run rally in the second inning could have been bigger had the Angels, who had the bases loaded with no outs after Efren Navarro's run-scoring single and Cowgill's infield single, come up with a clutch hit. They were two for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"This game was by no means lost in the ninth inning," Scioscia said. "This game was lost on the offensive side through a bunch of situations, where we needed to either score some runs with outs or get a key hit. And we weren't able to do it."
Hank Conger popped out to shortstop for the first out of the second inning, with the bases loaded, and of the fourth, with runners on first and third.
"If I hit a soft ground ball or a sacrifice fly, I could have done the job," Conger said. "I just got under a couple of balls in those situations."
Kole Calhoun followed Conger's fourth-inning popup with a wicked low liner that pitcher Nick Tepesch caught and turned into an inning-ending double play.
"I hit it right into his glove," Calhoun said.
Mike Trout, who ended a skid at 0 for 18 with a fifth-inning single, walked to open the eighth inning and took off for second base as Albert Pujols doubled to left field. But Trout didn't pick up the ball off the bat and slid into second as Pujols' drive caromed off the wall.
The speedy Trout had to stop at third base. Howie Kendrick was walked intentionally to load the bases, but reliever Shawn Tolleson struck out Erick Aybar and David Freese, and left-hander Neal Cotts struck out Navarro to end the inning, the Angels failing to pad a 2-1 lead.
"When I heard the ball hit, I tried looking for it, but I probably should have looked at DiSar," Trout said, referring to third base coach Gary DiSarcina. "Once I did find the ball, I was able to get to third, but I should have scored, for sure."
It was that kind of game for the Angels.
"Looking back, we had a bunch of opportunities to score some runs, where all we had to do was put the ball in play," Trout said. "It was one of those games where we just didn't get that big hit."
Even with the defeat, the Angels remained tied for first in the AL West because Oakland also lost.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times