Halos lose steam as eight-game streak ends

Halos lose steam as eight-game streak ends

Halos lose steam as eight-game streak ends
ANAHEIM -- The way Mark Trumbo had been swinging it -- the way his entire team had been playing -- made you think the Angels' slugger was destined to come through in Wednesday's bottom of the ninth, with two on, two outs and a one-run deficit on the scoreboard.

Trumbo already had a home run and three hits in the game. He slugged a walk-off homer just two nights before -- capping one of three comeback wins during his club's rejuvenating eight-game run -- and the Angels had already erased a four-run deficit in the series finale against the Yankees.

This time, though, it didn't go their way.

Trumbo was just a tad out in front on Rafael Soriano's out-over-the-plate, full-count slider, the barrel of his broken bat boomeranging toward third base and his lazy fly ball falling snuggly into the glove of left fielder Dewayne Wise, ending a 6-5 loss and putting an end to an 18-11 month of May for the Angels.

"Tough at-bat, tough out," Trumbo said. "They're not all going to fall. If you can go away and feel like you gave it your best effort, you can sleep a lot easier at night."

And the Angels, who have their first day off in three weeks on Thursday, no doubt will.

Their latest defeat snapped an uplifting, season-high eight-game winning streak, one that has their record at .500 and their deficit in the American League West at 5 1/2 games as they prepare for a three-game weekend series against the first-place Rangers, who are coming off a 21-8 loss to the Mariners.

Safe to say the Angels aren't the same team that was outscored by 12 while losing two of three in Texas from May 11-13.

They certainly don't feel the same.

"We've been playing much more consistently," Trumbo said. "I think we're in a much better spot to give them a really good fight and do some damage."

The Yankees did plenty of damage against Ervin Santana, all of it coming in a third inning that saw them use two home runs to get five runs before the Angels right-hander could even record one out. Curtis Granderson took him out for a three-run homer, then Robinson Cano hit a two-run shot, giving the Yankees a 5-1 lead and forcing Santana to throw 48 pitches to make it out of the frame.

"It was a tough inning," Santana said. "I got behind in the count in that inning almost to everybody, and it's not easy to get behind in the count against these guys because they're good. They make adjustments quick."

The 29-year-old, who gave up the five runs in five innings to run his ERA to 4.78, has always been prone to the home run ball. But he averaged 24 per season from 2006-11. Through 11 starts this year, he's already given up a Major League-leading 15.

"I think it's a byproduct of challenging guys, which Ervin does," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's very aggressive in the zone with all his pitches and occasionally there's going to be guys who square up the ball and hit it a long way. This is a powerful lineup. You make mistakes, and they're not going to miss them at all."

The Angels of two weeks ago would've rolled over after an early four-run deficit. These Angels came right back with a four-run fourth off Yankees starter Ivan Nova.

Trumbo hit a two-run homer to right field to give him four in as many team games, which is one shy of the club record (by Bobby Bonds in 1977) and the most since Rex Hudler did the same in '96. Five batters later, the electric Mike Trout hit a two-out, two-run double, scoring Erick Aybar and catcher Bobby Wilson, who reached on a bunt single, to tie it up.

"We're swinging better," Scioscia said, "and when you're swinging better, you're going to have an opportunity to get back in games."

But the Yankees regained the lead in the sixth off Hisanori Takahashi, on a triple from Raul Ibanez and a sacrifice fly from Nick Swisher, and the Angels couldn't come back a second time.

After four consecutive scoreless innings, they got two runners on in the ninth against Soriano, via a one-out walk by Alberto Callaspo and an infield single by Albert Pujols. Torii Hunter, who came in as a pinch-runner earlier in the game, then grounded into a fielder's choice.

That brought up Trumbo, who had only faced Soriano once.

"I don't have a ton of history against him," Trumbo said. "When in doubt, I kind of probably just sit fastball away and I think I can adjust to a number of pitches."

On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, after two straight foul balls, Soriano retired the red-hot Angels slugger to end the game.

"I saw the whole game how he's been doing," said Soriano, who has a 1.96 ERA and is 6-for-6 in saves. "I threw him a 3-2 slider, break his bat, popup to left field. It doesn't matter to me. I make a good pitch and see what happens."

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