Halos 'still in it,' look to shift momentum

After being swept by Tribe, postseason-seeking Angels keep focus ahead

Halos 'still in it,' look to shift momentum

ANAHEIM -- As the regular season continues to dwindle, the Angels' margin for error is becoming increasingly slim. Every mistake has the potential to dent their postseason hopes, as evidenced by Thursday afternoon's 4-1 loss to the Indians, which sealed their three-game sweep at Angel Stadium.

The Halos cracked open the door for the red-hot Indians -- who have won 27 of their past 28 games -- by misplaying a fly ball to help set up Francisco Lindor's tiebreaking three-run home run off Parker Bridwell in the fifth inning, and by squandering a bases-loaded scoring opportunity against Cleveland relief ace Andrew Miller in the seventh.
 

Lindor's three-run shot

"They're good, but any team can be beaten if you're doing the things we need to do," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't do it consistently enough. When you open up the door for a good team like that, you're pretty sure they're going to take advantage of it. I think they did this afternoon."

The Indians scored all four of their runs on a pair of homers off Bridwell, who hung a curveball that Edwin Encarnacion hit out for a solo homer in the second before misplacing a fastball to Lindor in the fifth.

Encarnacion's solo tater

"We made mistakes," Bridwell said. "They didn't completely beat us. … In September, you've got to be a little more sharp."

The Angels have lost four games in a row for the first time since April, a skid that comes at the worst possible moment for the club. The defeat dropped the Halos 2 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot -- Minnesota beat Detroit on Thursday -- with only 10 games left to go.

"We can't look and see what the Twins are doing," Mike Trout said. "We've got to win games. It doesn't matter if they win or lose -- we've got to win. We're still in it, so we're going to keep pushing and try to win ballgames."

The Angels will now head to Houston for another crucial test, opening a three-game series against the AL West-champion Astros on Friday night. They'll end their final road trip of the season with four games against the last-place White Sox in Chicago before returning home for their final series of the year against the Mariners.

The Twins, meanwhile, are in the midst of a four-game set against the Tigers in Detroit, though they are also set to face the Indians for three games in Cleveland next week. Still, Scioscia, like Trout, reiterated that the Angels need to remain focused on righting their own ship rather than relying on other teams to lose down the stretch.

"The only way to change this momentum is to really focus on how we need to play the game and what we need to do," Scioscia said. "That's what we're going to do when we get on this plane and go to Houston."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.