Angels defense falters in loss to A's

Angels defense falters in loss to A's

ANAHEIM -- The Angels did neither themselves, nor starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker, any favors Sunday afternoon with their uncharacteristic poor defense.
 

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Their four-game winning streak came to a feeble end at Angel Stadium in an 8-1 loss to the Athletics and silky-smooth right-hander Sonny Gray.

The Angels, who'd made just one error in their first 11 June games, made three, and let in two unearned runs against a pitcher who only gave up one unearned run himself.

"As far as our defense, this year we've given up very few unearned runs," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Today was a day we just didn't get it done defensively."

Coming in, the Angels had made just 32 errors -- fourth-fewest in the American League -- in 62 games. They had allowed just 13 unearned runs, tied with the Rays for second-fewest, and trailing only the Royals (10).

"These guys have been playing really good defensively," Scioscia said. "We just let it get away today."

In the second inning, Shoemaker (4-5) had to get six outs to hold the A's to just one unearned run. On consecutive, potential double-play grounders, the Angels managed to get just one out, because of an error by second baseman Johnny Giavotella, and a transfer bobble that wasn't an error by shortstop Erick Aybar. Still, Shoemaker should've escaped with no damage, but catcher Chris Iannetta couldn't handle a two-out bunt by Eric Sogard, allowing Ben Zobrist to score the game's first run.

"It's part of the game," said Shoemaker, insistent that the defensive miscues didn't bother him. "These guys [his fielders] are really good. They're going to pick me up, and I'm going to pick them up."

Gray held the Angels to just five hits, including Albert Pujols' fourth-inning RBI single. He didn't walk anyone in 7 2/3 innings.

Shoemaker, who lasted two innings less, didn't walk anyone either. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits, the last Max Muncy's two-out RBI double in the sixth. Reliever Jose Alvarez came in and gave up three straight hits for two more runs in an outing that was as uncharacteristic as the Angels' defense Sunday. Alvarez had an OBA of .141 coming in.

"My stuff, I think it was pretty good," Shoemaker said. "Early on, I gave up a couple of soft hits, but that's part of the game."

Before the game, Scioscia had said the Angels had little margin of error against Gray (8-4), who's 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in eight career starts against them.

"I said we had to pitch, and defense is part of pitching," Scioscia said. "He has good stuff. Every time we have faced him, he's been tough.

"We've got to figure something out. He's in our division, and we're going to see him a lot."

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.