Pitcher Jerome Williams ends night at hospital as Angels lose, 5-3

Whether he retains his rotation spot after a 5-3 interleague loss to the San Francisco Giants at Angel Stadium was probably the furthest thing from Angels starter Jerome Williams’ mind Monday night.

Williams, who was tagged for four runs and seven hits in 31/3 innings, was taken by ambulance to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange for precautionary reasons after experiencing shortness of breath after he came out of the game.

Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications, said after the game that Williams, who has had asthma problems in the past, was “feeling fine” and “resting comfortably” but would remain hospitalized overnight for observation.

“We found out in the fifth inning that Jerome had passed out in the locker room,” right fielder Torii Hunter said. “All you can do is say a little prayer and hope he’s OK. It’s tough when a teammate, a brother, is going through something like that. You try to focus on the game, but between pitches, you’re thinking about him.”

Manager Mike Scioscia said he spoke to Williams several times on the bench during the game and the pitcher told him he felt fine. It wasn’t until Williams returned to the clubhouse that Scioscia was told the pitcher was feeling dizzy and was taken to the hospital.

“I think he’s feeling much better right now than he did when he left, but we’re taking this one step at a time, and hopefully it’s not something serious,” Scioscia said. “Unfortunately, his outing wasn’t what he anticipated or what we needed, but now, we’re dealing with a bigger issue, and hopefully he’ll be fine.”

Control problems also plagued Williams, who walked three while prolonging a slide in which he has given up 14 earned runs and 19 hits in 162/3 innings of his last three starts.

His timing couldn’t be worse. With Jered Weaver coming off the disabled list to start Wednesday night against the Giants, the Angels will have to bump a starter from the rotation, and Williams is looking more like a candidate to be demoted to the bullpen.

Garrett Richards seemed like a target to be sent back to triple A, but the rookie is 2-0 with an 0.86 earned-run average in four games in place of the injured Weaver and threw eight shutout innings in Sunday’s win over Arizona.

The Giants, in their first trip to Anaheim since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2002 World Series, banged out 13 hits Monday, including three singles and two RBIs from second baseman Ryan Theriot and a big two-run triple from shortstop and ex-UCLA star Brandon Crawford in the second inning.

San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain was hardly perfect in his first start since throwing a perfect game against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, but he lasted long enough to win his eighth straight decision and improve to 9-2, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings, striking out four and walking four.

Any hope Cain had of matching Johnny Vander Meer’s major league record of consecutive no-hitters was dashed three pitches into the first inning, when Mike Trout singled to left.

Trout stole second, and scored on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.

Crawford followed a pair of walks with his two-run triple to right in the second, and Angels left fielder Mark Trumbo tied it, 2-2, with a solo homer to right-center, his 16th of the season, in the bottom of the second.

But Angel Pagan’s RBI single in the third put San Francisco up for good, and the Giants added RBI singles by Theriot in the fourth and sixth innings.