Defensive Miscues, Trout Too Much for Tribe; Angels 6, Indians 3
Bob Toth | On 29, Apr 2014
Phenom Mike Trout gave the Cleveland Indians a glimpse of just how much he can singlehandedly change the course of a baseball game, as his two hits on the night were instrumental in giving the Los Angeles Angels a 6-3 comeback win on Monday night.
Los Angeles broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth off of Indians starter Justin Masterson thanks to an unearned run. J.B. Shuck reached on the first pitch of the inning, as his hit to Nick Swisher at first base was mishandled. It was the 24th error by Indians players in 26 games this season.
Erick Aybar successfully sacrificed him over to second. In an eight pitch at bat, Trout came away victorious. His single to left, his second hit of the game, scored Shuck from second base to give the Angels a 4-3 lead. Trout advanced to second on the throw to the plate, which created an intentional walk situation with Albert Pujols. Raul Ibanez made Masterson pay for the decision as his triple to the wall in right center cleared Trout and Pujols and gave the Angels a 6-3 lead.
“With the open base, it’s not that we don’t think Trout is a good hitter,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “We’re trying to not face all of them. With an open base, with Masty’s stuff, right on right, I definitely thought about walking him. In the middle of the night tonight, I probably will.”
It was the first save for Smith with the Angels after being named the new closer to replace Ernesto Frieri, who was demoted from the position on Friday after blowing his second save in four chances. Smith is 1-0 on the season with eleven scoreless appearances in 12 chances.
The Angels struck the scoreboard first in the first, thanks in large part to yet another defensive miscue by the Indians that did not show up on the scorecard. Masterson got a groundout to lead off the bottom of the first, but Trout sent a drive into center field. Michael Bourn attempted to short hop the ball there, but the ball got past him and went all the way to the wall, allowing the speedy Trout to motor in to third with a standup triple. The next batter, Pujols, drove him in with his 22nd RBI of the season on a grounder to Jason Kipnis on the left side of second base due to the shift, giving the Angels an early 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Angels starter Tyler Skaggs was locked in, retiring the first ten batters in order before Swisher drove a 2-2 pitch to the wall in left field for a one-out double in the fourth. Kipnis drew a walk to bring the slumping Carlos Santana to the plate. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Santana drew the count to even before belting a hanging curveball into the seats in left. His second home run of the year doubled his RBI total to six and gave the Indians a 3-1 advantage.
After the triple by Trout, Masterson allowed just a pair of infield singles to birthday boy David Freese in the second and Ibanez in the fourth before the Angels threatened in the fifth. Third baseman Ian Stewart walked and Freese followed with a single to center, his second hit of the game. Both runners were moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Hank Conger. Shuck went down swinging on a slider in at the knees. Almost out of trouble, Masterson allowed a two-out, two-run double by Aybar over the bag at first to tie the game at three. The Tribe starter settled in to retire the dangerous Trout on a grounder to third to prevent further damage.
Skaggs was done after seven innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, walked one, and struck out a season-high six batters. Seventy of his 103 pitches were for strikes.
“I thought the first time through the order, I thought he threw a fastball that had a lot of life through the zone,” said Francona. “He was throwing a very good breaking ball over the plate. I thought the second time through we started making a little bit of an adjustment and hit some balls hard. Some of our right-handers hit some balls hard to right field. Santana hit his ball real well. Kip had a good at bat to get to Santana where he walked.
“I can see why they like him. There’s a lot to like with him.”
Masterson (0-1) earned his first loss in Angel Stadium of Anaheim in his career. He pitched seven and one-third innings on the night, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. He threw a season-high 113 pitches in the game.
“I thought he was pretty good. To let him face who he faced in that situation, I thought he still had something left. I thought he deserved to be out there,” said Francona. “I thought he was still executing pitches. We kinda got in a bind there, we’re going through the middle of the order. Was trying not to face every one of those guys if possible. He had handled Ibanez up to that point so well. It didn’t work.
“I think Masty still is our leader and everybody looks up to him. They [wins] will come. He stays out there for eight innings, they’ll come.”
Fernando Salas (2-0), who pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the Angels in the eighth, earned the win.
Catcher Yan Gomes extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the fifth.
The slumping Indians roster combined for just five hits on the night. Santana had two of the three hits after entering the game entrenched in a 3-for-59 slump.
“If we can get him hot, he will get hot,” said Francona of Santana. “that will go a long way to make it easier for us to score runs.”
After the game, Francona formally announced that Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Carlos Carrasco, has been moved out of the rotation into the bullpen. Zach McAllister will start Wednesday’s game in his place.
“[McAllister] threw 75 pitches his last outing so he’s in good shape to go Wednesday,” said Francona. “We’ve put Carlos in the bullpen. That way, we kind of fortify our bullpen. Hopefully, we can get him on a roll and he can help us out there. Talking with Mickey [Callaway] and we certainly talked with Chris [Antonetti], we’re trying to keep our starters on their fifth days right now. They’re starting to kind of get on a little rhythm. Mickey has such a good feel for knowing our guys that we felt like this was a good opportunity.”
With the loss, the Indians have dropped a season-high four straight games and fall to 11-15, maintaining their hold on the cellar position in the American League Central. The Angels’ win pushed their record to 12-13 on the season and keeps them in the middle of the pack in the AL West.
Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.11) will get the start for Mike Scioscia Tuesday. He is 7-3 lifetime against the Indians, but is just 1-3 at home. Corey Kluber (2-2, 3.90) will take the mound for Cleveland. He looks to build upon his first career complete game, a four-hitter against Kansas City, in his last start on April 24th.
First pitch for Tuesday night’s game is scheduled for 10:05 PM. Follow the action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports West, or the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels Radio Networks.
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Carlson