Shorthanded lineup buckles in Texas

Rangers' Perez stifles Angels' potential game-turning rally

Shorthanded lineup buckles in Texas

ARLINGTON -- Mike Trout needed a game to rest his legs as the designated hitter on Tuesday, so right-handed power hitter C.J. Cron sat against a lefty. Johnny Giavotella, the 5-foot-8 second baseman with 10 home runs in 290 career Major League games, batted fifth. And the four hitters behind him -- Carlos Perez, Gregorio Petit, Rafael Ortega and Shane Robinson -- had combined for a lifetime batting average of .243.

The result: One run and seven hits, with none of them coming amid seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Shorthanded as it might be, the Angels' offense has stepped up of late, scoring more frequently than all but four teams in May. But there will be nights like this, when a guy like Martin Perez has his good stuff and can carve his way through a lineup that isn't as deep as intended when the season began.

"We know what the other guys bring to the table -- they're all ballplayers, they're all going to go out and play hard, and have been playing really hard lately," Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said after a 4-1 loss against the division-rival Rangers at Globe Life Park. "We just came up a little short tonight."

The Angels had their chances, none more prevalent than the one presented to them in the top of the sixth, the second of three consecutive innings in which they put the leadoff man on base and did not score.

Robinson and Yunel Escobar began with singles to put runners on the corners. But Calhoun's grounder allowed Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland to nail the lead runner at home. Trout then struck out looking on an 0-2 slider that caught the inside corner. And after Albert Pujols drew a walk, Giavotella swung through an 0-2, 96-mph fastball to strand the bases loaded.

Perez escapes bases-loaded jam

Giavotella was the Angels' hottest hitter entering the night, carrying a career-high 12-game hitting streak and a .358 batting average since the start of May.

He was also one of only five regulars in the Angels' lineup.

The primary catcher, Geovany Soto, is recovering from knee surgery. The primary left fielder, Daniel Nava, who was counted on to bat second, is on the disabled list for the second time this season. The everyday shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, is trying to come back from thumb surgery. And Cron, one of few sources for power, was confined to the bench.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia remains steadfast in his belief that this year's lineup is "going to be more productive" than the unit from 2015, dismissing the notion that injuries have been a significant hindrance for his offense.

He was asked if it's fair to ask this group, with three players who began the year in the Minor Leagues, to produce consistently.

"Well, I think we've been doing a good job on the offensive end for the last couple of weeks with a lot of these guys that are playing," Scioscia said. "We have confidence that we can get a lineup deeper than we saw last year. At times we have, and at times we've struggled with some things. But the guys that we put out there, we have every confidence that they're going to do a job and pressure the other team and hopefully lead to runs."

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.