After Pujols' DP, Weaver allows Tribe to rally as trip ends on sour note
By Shane Jackson
CLEVELAND -- The Angels had a chance to create a cushion in the same inning they started to let their lead slip away.
The fifth inning of Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Indians was a microcosm of the Halos' four-game set with the Tribe. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong as Los Angeles was swept in Cleveland, ending a nine-game road trip without a win.
"To win a game, you need to do a lot of things on the field," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had opportunities in the fifth to add to a 4-1 lead and couldn't. We also had opportunities to get out of the fifth to save a run and we didn't."
The loss extended the Angels' losing streak to 10 consecutive games. It is the team's longest drought since an 11-game skid from July 16-26, 1999. During this double-digit slump, the Halos have been outscored, 70-31.
"Nothing is unbelievable, anything can happen in this game," Albert Pujols said. "I'm pretty sure it happens to a lot of great teams. This is not the first time it's happened. It's just baseball. Stuff happens like that, it's contagious. When you struggle, you struggle. When you are going good, you are going good."
Through the first four frames, it appeared they might just salvage the series and the road trip. Los Angeles led 4-1, thanks to a pair of home runs from Ji-Man Choi and Geovany Soto. Meanwhile, right-hander Jered Weaver had held the Tribe to just four hits.
To open the fifth, the Angels put their first two runners on and were looking to break the game open. Instead, with runners on the corners, Kole Calhoun struck out and Pujols followed him with an inning-ending double play.
"Those guys swung the bats pretty well," Pujols said. "But they also got some good luck. When you are playing good, those are the breaks you get. Obviously, we didn't get those breaks because we are not playing good right now."
Things then took a turn for the worse as the first three Tribe batters reached to begin the home half. A force at the plate and a flyout kept Cleveland from plating a run for a brief moment. Then following a bases-loaded walk, Mike Napoli rolled a chopper to Johnny Giavotella, who was played on the other side of second.
Giavotella tossed it to Cliff Pennington at second base for the force instead of throwing over to first, and Pennington was unable to beat Francisco Lindor to the bag. Fortunately for the Angels, Pennington was able to recover and make a play at the plate to maintain their one-run advantage.
"[Cliff] Pennington is playing heavy pull," Scioscia said. "So is Giavotella, and when Johnny had the ball the real play was at first base. He just misread it."
But the damage had been done. The momentum shifted toward the other dugout as the Tribe tacked on two more to chase Weaver in the sixth.
"It's frustrating," Weaver said. "This isn't the way you want to go about a season. This could be my last year here and definitely not the way I want to go out. It's frustrating to sit back and watch. We just can't seem to get anything going."
Now the Angels can only hope a return back home will be enough to get back on track.
"It's frustrating, we lost 10 games in a row," Pujols said. "But we have to get ready to play. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. Hopefully we can turn things around."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.