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Angels blown out by Tigers

Here JC Ramirez had been something of an unexpected bright spot in the Angels' patchwork rotation.

Alas, then came Thursday night, and out went his surprising dominance.

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Ramirez gave up a three-run homer to Justin Upton in the first inning and a two-run homer to ex-Angel Andrew Romine in the second and the Detroit Tigers strolled to a 7-1 victory.

Ramirez, 28, had spent his entire career in the bullpen until the Angels placed him in their patchwork rotation last month. In his previous four starts the hard-throwing Ramirez sported a 2.28 ERA, struck out 27 and walked seven.

He did settle down after the second inning, at one point retiring 10 consecutive batters, but with the Angels offense struggling against Detroit's Michael Fulmer despite the return of Mike Trout, the damage had been done.

Ramirez (3-3) at least spared the Angels a complete meltdown that could have left the bullpen beleaguered for a four-game series against Detroit, managing to pitch seven innings.

"The first inning has been huge for me in all the games I've been starting," Ramirez said. "I don't know why. Then I bounce back. Maybe I need to be more focused, be more mentally prepared for that first inning."

He gave up five runs on eight hits, seven in the first two innings. He struck out four and walked one.

It was the first time he'd pitched past the sixth inning, but it was only the sixth start of his career.

Fulmer, last year's American League rookie of the year, kept the Angels off-balance most of the night, though of late that has not been a gargantuan undertaking.

In 11 of their last 17 games, the Angels have been limited to three runs or fewer.

"We have probably a handful of guys in our lineup right now struggling to find their rhythm," manager Mike Scioscia said. "They're not seeing the ball as well as they can. We have some guys just fighting themselves who need to just exhale and take a step back, and that's what we're working on.

"We know we're better on the offensive side."

Fulmer (4-1) went seven strong innings, holding the Angels to one run on three hits. He walked two, struck out seven and generally looked like a guy in control.

The Angels were naturally hoping for an offensive spark with the return of Trout, who had sat out the previous five games because of a tight hamstring.

Easing him back, the Angels decided to start him at designated hitter and spare his legs the long outfield runs that normally come with playing center field.

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Trout, however, went hitless in four at-bats, ending his 17-game hitting streak.

He did look explosive out of the box and appeared to run without discomfort, so there was that.

The Angels scored their lone run in the fifth when Cliff Pennington, starting for struggling second baseman Danny Espinoza (0 for 34), walked with two outs and scored on a Yunel Escobar double.

Escobar had three of the Angels' four hits.

Ramirez, whose first 111 appearances had come as a reliever, opened the night for the Angels looking like someone who would not be around long.

The first two innings, everything hit against him seemed to be crushed.

In the first Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos singled and, two outs later, Upton drilled his seventh home run to deep center field.

In the second inning James McCann singled and Romine followed with his second home run.

It was very early, but it already felt like a rout.

The Angels had won 23 of their last 30 games against the Tigers, but they would go quietly Thursday.

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