Angels lose again to Orioles, 5-0
The Angels have become equal-opportunity imploders, failing to execute baseball basics against some of the best and worst teams in baseball.
Four days after shortstop Erick Aybar lost track of the number of outs in an inning against division-leading Tampa Bay, first baseman Mike Napoli was caught in no-man’s land on a grounder and the Angels committed a pair of errors Saturday at Angel Stadium during a 5-0 loss to the last-place Baltimore Orioles.
Napoli’s inability to cover first base allowed a runner to score from second base without the ball leaving the infield as the Angels continued to blur the distinction between themselves and a team that is 36 games under .500, falling to 0-5 this season against the Orioles.
“They beat us in about every aspect, and it’s happening a little too often for our liking,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “The bottom line is we need to bring a higher level of play.”
Second baseman Howie Kendrick also mishandled a routine grounder in the fourth inning and catcher Bobby Wilson threw a ball into center field on an eighth-inning stolen base attempt, allowing a runner to take third base and eventually score on Craig Tatum’s two-out single.
The Angels have lost five of six games while the resurgent Orioles clinched their first winning month since June 2008 and improved to 17-17 against the American League West, a mark of distinction for a team that is only 11-37 in its own division.
Kevin Millwood became the latest struggling Baltimore pitcher to defeat the Angels, holding them scoreless in eight innings for his first victory against an AL team this season.
Millwood had been 2-10 over his previous 15 starts and 0-4 in five starts this month before Saturday.
Then again, it should have come as little surprise given what has transpired between these teams this season. The winning pitchers in Baltimore’s five victories over the Angels had a combined record of 16-47 entering those games.
Millwood (3-14) was locked in a scoreless duel with Scott Kazmir until Josh Bell blasted a two-run homer to right-center field off the Angels’ left-hander with one out in the fifth inning.
Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton doubled down the left-field line leading off the sixth before things took an embarrassing turn. With one out, Kazmir fielded Jake Fox’s grounder on the first-base side of the mound and then realized that Napoli was not in a position to get back to the bag to take his throw.
“I looked up and he was right behind me,” Kazmir said.
Said Scioscia: “Mike was caught in between. … There’s probably a little experience issue there too, and it shows up from time to time.”
Kazmir lost a race with Fox to first base and stumbled over the baserunner as Wigginton rounded third base and scored ahead of the pitcher’s throw to Wilson.
Hitting with runners in scoring position continued to be something of a misnomer for the Angels, who went one for six and are now one for 12 in that situation in the first two games of this series. They have been held scoreless for a season-high 17 consecutive innings.
A two-on, one-out threat fizzled in the fifth when Peter Bourjos grounded into a double play. The Angels again had two on with one out in the seventh after Napoli doubled to right-center and Aybar singled to left. But Wilson fouled out to first and Bourjos popped up to second to end the inning.
“Every game, there’s one big hit we don’t get, and tonight it was myself,” Bourjos said. “I didn’t get the job done.”