Tide turns on Halos as lead slips in eighth

Tide turns on Halos as lead slips in eighth

Tide turns on Halos as lead slips in eighth
LOS ANGELES -- Whether it was taken from them or they simply gave it away depends on your perspective.

Bottom line: The Angels lost a game they probably should've won on Tuesday night.

Jerome Williams pitched brilliantly through seven innings in front of a sold-out Dodger Stadium, but the offense went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, the bottom of the eighth slipped away for several reasons -- Dee Gordon being ruled safe on a close call at second base, Scott Downs being unavailable to pitch to Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera hitting a back-breaking homer -- and the Angels wound up with a crushing 5-2 defeat to their crosstown rivals.

Certainly not the way Mike Scioscia wanted to celebrate his bobblehead night.

"We had a lot of chances, and you can't really hang winning and losing on if an umpire misses a call," the Angels' skipper said of Gordon's stolen base, which he profusely argued with Joe West about on-field. "You have to play at a higher level, and tonight we just didn't get it done."

The loss evened up the Freeway Series, snapped the Angels' four-game winning streak and halted a string of 10 straight road wins that was one shy of the franchise record.

With two outs and the Angels leading, 2-1, the speedy Gordon found himself on first base after a fielder's choice groundout. Three pitches later, he took off. Angels catcher Hank Conger received a high fastball and fired a throw right on the money at second base, with Maicer Izturis appearing to tag Gordon on the left hip a tick before his hand snuck into the bag.

But West ruled him safe, A.J. Ellis followed up with a walk and Williams remained in the game, giving up an RBI single to Ethier and a three-run homer to Rivera that led to the bitter loss and prompted many in the Angels' clubhouse to point to that controversial call at second base.

"I can't tell from home plate," said Conger, who didn't even want to look at the replay. "But when he put down the tag, it looked like it was good."

Williams had an even better view.

"Out," he said stone-faced when asked about the call that could've gotten him out of the eighth. "I'm right there. I could see it. [The tag] was right there."

But West, serving as the crew chief and rotating as the second-base umpire that night, disagreed.

"I saw him tag him high and I thought his hand was on the base," he said. "I've been looking at this [dang replay] about 10 times, and I can't see any different."

The biggest blow may have been the two-out, four-pitch walk to Ellis. Because the next batter was the lefty-hitting Ethier, and the Angels couldn't turn to any of their lefty relievers. Hisanori Takahashi was unavailable after throwing 1 2/3 innings the night before and Downs, who has given up just one earned run in 21 2/3 innings this year, was ruled out after experiencing stiffness in his left rib-cage area while trying to field a comebacker two games earlier in Colorado.

"You can't control it, you can't really do anything about it but get back out there as fast as you can," said Downs, who's day to day and doesn't expect to miss extended time. "I don't like sitting and watching, knowing I can't help the team."

With Downs watching, Ethier -- signed to a five-year, $85 million extension earlier in the day -- took a hanging 2-2 curveball from Williams and lined it into right field for a base hit. The next batter, Rivera, swung at a high, first-pitch fastball and hit out to hand his former team a crushing loss.

Williams had a gem on his hands as he took the mound for the bottom of the eighth.

Then the wheels came flying right off.

"He was throwing the ball good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He deserved to be in there. Honestly, I really kind of felt, not too bad, but I felt bad for him walking off the field there because he really pitched well."

"Great game," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said of Williams, who wound up being charged with five runs in 7 2/3 innings to run his ERA to 4.20. "I hate that he got the loss like that, but those guys over there, they battled back."

Minus Albert Pujols, who notched his seventh straight multi-hit game, the Angels couldn't do much against Aaron Harang, who gave up six hits and four walks in seven innings but constantly pitched out of trouble. The only runs he gave up came on a couple of Dodgers errors.

Williams, meanwhile, breezed through the first seven innings, giving up one run, scattering four hits, walking one batter and exhausting only 76 pitches. Prior to the game, the Angels had called up David Pauley to add an extra arm to a bullpen that had accounted for 11 innings the last three games, was without its two lefties and had seen Jason Isringhausen, Ernesto Frieri and LaTroy Hawkins pitch plenty recently.

Scioscia had Jordan Walden warming up and ready to come into the game, but the Angels needed Williams to try to finish off the eighth.

He felt Williams could.

"He was pitching a heck of a game," Scioscia said. "We all thought he had enough stuff to get out of the inning, and he did get out of the inning. Unfortunately, we didn't get the call."

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.