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Indians drop fourth consecutive game, lose 6-3 to Angels

By Stephanie Storm Published: April 29, 2014

He was the one guy the Indians had hoped to avoid over the next three days.

So wasn’t it just the struggling Tribe’s luck – or lack of luck - that they’d end up facing former teammate Joe Smith right from the start Monday in the first game of a three-game series at Angels Stadium?

Count it further bad luck that not only did the Indians face their former beloved eight-inning set-up man and the newly-minted Angels closer, but his first save in Anaheim came against them in the host’s 6-3 victory?  

In losing their fourth consecutive game following a three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants, about the only positive for the Indians on the night was the way Carlos Santana swung the bat.

The Tribe’s embattled four-hole hitter snapped a 0-for-12 skid with a 2-for-4 effort - including a fourth-inning home run that handed his team a 3-1 advantage. But Santana’s three-run homer was the only offense the Indians offense could muster.

The Angels took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on Mike Trout’s triple followed by Albert Pujols’ run-scoring ground out. An inning after the Indians pulled ahead, the Angelscame right back to tie the game 3-3 on Erick Aybar’s two-run double in the fifth inning.

Starting pitchers Justin Masterson and Tyler Skaggs settled down for a couple innings before the Angels got to Masterson for three runs in the eighth inning. Figuring his starter wasn’t laboring, Indians manager Terry Francona sent Masterson back out to face the Angles in the eighth. But the big right-hander lasted only a 1/3 of an inning before before an error opened the door and the host’s explosive offense took over.

Leadoff man J.B. Shuck reached safely on Nick Swisher’s fielding error to open the door and Aybar sacrificed him into scoring position. Trout lined a Masterson pitch just beyond the outstretched glove of a diving Lonnie Chisenhall at third, scoring Shuck from second.

The Angels added a pair of insurance runs on Raul Ibanez’s triple that finally chased Masterson from the mound. In 7 1/3 innings, Masterson dished up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Meanwhile Skaggs limited the Tribe to three runs on four hits and a walk, striking out six over seven inings. But the young left-hander left the game with it knotted 3-3 and didn’t figure into the decision. Reliever Fernando Salas improved to 2-0 with a hitless inning.

After the game, Francona confirmed that struggling starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco had been moved to the bullpen. The right-hander went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts.

After his last outing over the weekend in the Tribe’s three-game sweep by the host San Francisco Giants, Carrasco felt his velocity had decreased while utilizing  a revamped delivery that the Indians had spent all off season working with him on. The next day, Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway sat down with Carrasco to show him that wasn’t the case.

While Carrasco tries to figure out his issues in 'pen, Zach McAllister will start the final game of the six-game road trip Wednesday on short rest.    

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