Angels let one slip away in rainy Baltimore

Angels let one slip away in rainy Baltimore

Angels let one slip away in rainy Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- The rain poured on, soaking the turf at Camden Yards and eventually turning the infield into a muddy Slip 'n Slide. But crew chief Joe West signaled the players out for the bottom of the sixth. And shortly after he did, a couple of runs -- one of which was aided by an egregious Josh Hamilton error -- doomed the Angels in a 4-3, rain-delayed loss to the Orioles, dropping them 10 games below .500.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia nonetheless felt the field was "playable" to start the bottom half, during which Manny Machado's single sneaked under Hamilton's glove in right field to score the go-ahead run and Adam Jones' sacrifice fly made it a two-run game.

In Scioscia's mind, other factors led to the Angels' 10th defeat in 14 games. Like Freddy Garcia using deception and trickery to give up only two runs in six innings, moving to 17-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 30 career starts against the Angels. Or Jered Weaver only recording 17 outs, falling victim to the two-plus-hour rain delay that took place shortly after the Orioles plated the go-ahead runs. Or the Angels, now 27-37, unable to capitalize on six chances with runners in scoring position.

"You want to keep the game going," Scioscia said. "The field was playable to start that inning, and I think that at the point they stopped it, it needed to be stopped. I didn't see any issue there at all."

Tied at 2 under a downpour in the bottom of the sixth, Nate McLouth led off with a bunt single, aided by a slipping Howie Kendrick, then stole second base. The next batter, Machado, hit a flare toward a hard-charging Hamilton, who tied the game with a solo homer the previous half-inning. McLouth was going to stop at third, but trotted home as the ball rolled past the Angels' slumping right fielder.

Two batters later, Jones, whose two-run homer in the fourth gave the Orioles their first lead, plated Machado with his sac fly.

One batter after that, after Nick Markakis' slide into second base turned into a hydroplane, West signaled the players off the field, prompting a rain delay of two hours and 14 minutes.

"We didn't stop it until the field became unplayable," West told a pool reporter. "As soon as we stopped it, the bottom fell out. We had to stop then anyway. But we stopped it because the field was becoming unplayable. And we made every effort to fix it along the way. We fixed the batter's box, put dry stuff on the mound, but when players start sliding, you can't take a chance with them getting injured."

The stoppage ended Weaver's outing, his third since coming off the disabled list, after 83 pitches and 5 2/3 innings. He was charged with four runs on six hits and one walk, and because the Angels couldn't make up the deficit, he fell to 1-2 in his first five starts.

"It was frustrating," said Weaver, his ERA now 3.77. "I heard the weather report yesterday and just didn't want to go out there and throw three innings and have it stop. It kind of feels like a wasted opportunity, I guess you can say, but weather always plays a part in the game, no matter where you're at. Obviously, it showed tonight. Like I said, you can't make any excuses. Both teams have to play in it."

When play resumed, Garrett Richards pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen, but the Angels missed a golden opportunity to come back.

They loaded the bases with one out against Tommy Hunter in the seventh inning, and they cut their deficit to one when Chris Davis fielded Hamilton's slow roller and inexplicably threw to second base, where he had no chance to get Mike Trout.

The next batter, Albert Pujols, struck out on three pitches, the last two of which were upper-90s fastballs.

The next batter, Mark Trumbo, hit a slow roller up the middle that Ryan Flaherty made a nifty play on to end the inning.

And that was as close as the Angels got.

"It's not like we came out after the rain delay and put our heads down," said Trout, who hit his 11th homer in the top of the third. "We gave ourselves a chance and just fell short."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read 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.