Angels keeping heads high after tough loss

Angels keeping heads high after tough loss

KANSAS CITY -- Manager Mike Scioscia talked about how his team just has to "turn the page." His catcher, Chris Iannetta, said it's "still early" and that this is still "far from being a dire situation." And Huston Street, fresh off his fourth blown save, called Sunday's soul-crushing, 10th-inning, 4-3 loss "just one game."

It felt like more.

The days keep passing and the losses keep coming, every one seemingly a little bit tougher than the other. The Angels finished their seven-game road trip with just one win and have now lost 17 of their last 23 games, a debilitating rut immediately following an uplifting 20-game stretch in which they won 17 times.

The Angels are now 3 1/2 games behind the Astros in the American League West -- their largest deficit in 14 days -- and a half-game behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot.

The last time they were on the outside looking in for a playoff spot was July 2.

"We have to play together," right fielder Kole Calhoun said. "We have to get something going. We have to get a sense of urgency going. We have to come to the park ready to win every day. We're playing good ball; we're right there with everybody. These are some tough games, a tough road trip. We've got to pull together as a team and turn this thing around."

It looked as though the Angels were on their way when Calhoun turned on a Wade Davis curveball in the eighth inning and launched a go-ahead solo homer to right field, a ball that Statcast™ had traveling an estimated 426.99 feet. But Street walked backup catcher Drew Butera, batting .198, to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth and then gave up a game-tying sacrifice fly to Alex Rios.

Calhoun's go-ahead homer

"That's what happens when you walk guys," Street said. "I've got to pitch more aggressively."

The Angels appeared destined for victory immediately after that, when Mike Trout raced into the gap in right-center and made a running, stumbling catch on a Paulo Orlando line drive that was tailing away from him, temporarily saving the game and hoping to ignite his club.

Trout's game-saving catch

But with two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the 10th, former Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales took a 1-0 changeup from rookie Trevor Gott and lined it into left-center field, handing his former team a walk-off loss.

"Tonight was probably the toughest one of the whole road trip," said starter Hector Santiago, who retired 19 of his final 23 batters in his best start since the first half.

"We have to keep our heads up," Trout said. "There's a lot of baseball left to play. Obviously, it was a tough road trip, but we'll go home and hopefully win a couple games."

The Angels will hope for more than a couple, and they'll hope for a lot more offense.

They entered the series finale last in the Majors in runs per game and slugging percentage in August and finished the road trip with just nine hits in 63 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Their ongoing offensive struggles have put a lot of pressure on their starters and taxed the bullpen, a unit that absorbed 25 1/3 innings this week.

Nothing is going right.

"We're not going to get concerned until mathematically we're out of it, and we're a long, long ways from that," Street said. "As a team we need to execute better. That's the bottom line. Tonight I didn't execute, and that's why we lost. But as a team, when we execute and all do what we're capable of doing, we're going to win a lot of games, because we're really good."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.