Their offense still stumbling in the darkness, the Angels’ latest loss was aided when a little too much light was cast upon their defense.
Right fielder Chris Young’s inability to secure a potential third-out fly ball in the first inning helped lead to four unearned runs as they fell to Toronto 5-3.
The Angels have lost six of seven and eight of 11 and continue to show faint signs of emerging from an offensive fog that now has been witnessed by two countries.
“It was obvious,” losing pitcher Garrett Richards said. “We were just a little flat tonight. But we’re not discouraged as a group. We know we have to come to play again tomorrow.”
The Blue Jays had lost four in a row -- all to the Oakland A’s, who began Tuesday trailing the Angels in the American League West -- and seven of eight overall, their most recent defeat marred by four errors.
Then they immediately benefited when the Angels’ defense was the one that hiccuped.
With two outs and a run in, Russell Martin sent a drive toward Young, who moved to his right to position himself, stuck up his glove and failed to make the catch.
The error allowed two more runs to score and, just as significantly, permitted former Angel Kendrys Morales to bat next.
After a visit from pitching coach Charles Nagy, Richards fell behind 2-1. He then delivered a slider that Morales dropped into the right-field bleachers for a 5-0 lead, and a nine-inning game felt over after one inning.
“I don’t think the guys were deflated,” Young said. “It definitely [stinks] to make a mistake like that in the first inning …That kind of set the tempo of the game …We just couldn’t get enough.”
Richards has allowed 10 unearned runs in his past five outings. Only one of the seven runs scored off him in his past two starts has been earned.
Down big early, he salvaged this game as best he could by keeping his team within a manageable distance.
The Blue Jays put their leadoff runner on in the third, fourth and fifth. They had runners at first and third with no outs in one inning and a runner at second with no outs in another inning and still Richards stalled Toronto at five runs.
“Once the first inning’s over, it’s over,” he said. “I thought I did a good job of moving on and going back to the task at hand: putting up zeroes on the board and giving us a chance to win.”
These Angels, however, haven’t seized many offensive opportunities of late. Not that they’ve created a ton of chances, either.
They haven’t had as many as 10 hits in a game since May 11. In the 10 games since then, they’ve batted .176 (54 for 307).
On Tuesday, their notable offense consisted of an RBI popfly single by Albert Pujols and run-scoring outs by Andrelton Simmons and Ian Kinsler.
Not even the return to the lineup of Shohei Ohtani could spark the Angels. After not batting for consecutive games because he pitched Sunday, Ohtani went hitless in four plate appearances.
He did hit another memorable batting practice homer, this one landing in the top deck in right, a feat that caused a stir at Rogers Centre, the exact sort of stir the Angels have been lacking once the real batting begins.