Angels’ long haul ends in a 2-0 loss at Kansas City
Reporting from Kansas City, Mo. — They played 20 games in as many days, visiting six cities in five states and traveling about 7,600 miles in what will be their longest streak without a day off this season.
Yet, by the time they returned home Wednesday night, after Kansas City’s 2-0 victory on Billy Butler’s disputed ninth-inning home run, the Angels had actually lost ground, dropping to .500 and falling to third place, two games off the pace in the American League West.
Twenty days and 20 games ago, the Angels had a winning record and 11/2 -game lead in the standings.
“When you really think about it, it’s good enough to kind of stay right there, close to where we need to be after 20 games straight,” said outfielder Torii Hunter who, along with infielders Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo, played every game of the marathon sojourn. “Mentally, I think it hit me more than anything.”
But the numbers took a beating, too, with the Angels hitting .248, getting outscored by 15 runs and being shut out four times in the last three weeks, including Wednesday. They lost outfielder Vernon Wells just before the streak started, lost infielder Howie Kendrick midway through and lost 12 games before it was over, staggering across the finish line Wednesday in a game in which they had more strikeouts (10) than hits (7).
“Man, I’m so happy to have this day off,” said Hunter, who hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the third inning.
“It comes at a good time,” said Callaspo, who was robbed of two runs batted in when shortstop Alcides Escobar took a hit away with the bases loaded in the eighth.
The final indignity came an inning later when the game was decided not on the field but in a video room, with the umpires overruling themselves by giving Butler a two-run home run on a ball they originally called a double.
Rookie Tyler Chatwood had blanked the Royals for 72/3 innings before leaving in favor of Scott Downs, who pitched out of an eighth-inning jam.
After getting Eric Hosmer to start the ninth inning, Downs gave up a single to Jeff Francoeur that needed three bounces to get out of the infield. Butler followed by working the count to 3 and 1 before driving a ball off the padding atop the left-field wall.
Francoeur stopped at third base and Butler at second, thinking it was a double, but after Manager Ned Yost asked for a video review, Butler was given a walk-off homer, a call Angels Manager Mike Scioscia agreed with.
“We need to get better,” Scioscia said. “We’re not where we need to be as a team. So that’s what we’re going to focus on. That will temper some of the frustration when you see days like this.”
The players, meanwhile, are focusing on a day off.
“It just didn’t work out. It wasn’t our day,” Hunter said. “We didn’t want to lose like that. But at the same time, we’ve got to put it past us and come back ready to go Friday, rejuvenated.
“Guys don’t need to think about no baseball tomorrow. Just relax.”
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