ANAHEIM: In an effort to give the Indians a fighting chance on the final day of the team’s disappointing six-game road trip, the club turned to its best starting pitcher of the season to date: Zach McAllister.
Starting Wednesday on short rest in the place of struggling Carlos Carrasco (who’d been banished to the bullpen) even McAllister couldn’t drag the Indians out of their all-around slump. The Tribe fell to the Angels 7-1 without much of a fight at a blustery Angels Stadium.
With the loss, the Tribe extended its losing streak to six games, going 0-for-California with back-to-back three-game series sweeps by the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels.
Despite the right-hander’s best intentions, McAllister made it just 4? innings, giving up five runs on four hits and four walks and took the loss. It was obvious he wasn’t at his strongest when he walked the leadoff batter in the first two innings and then gave up a two-run home run to Hank Conger that erased the Indians’ early lead.
About the only positive for the Indians was making it on the board first, but even that little offense was aided by the Angels’ starter, C.J. Wilson. With one out in the second inning, Wilson hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch, and then moved him along to second on a wild pitch.
But with two out, Cabrera scored on David Murphy’s single to center, the hit increasing Murphy’s average with runners in scoring position to .529 (9-for-17). However, the Indians ran themselves out of the inning when Murphy was caught stealing at second base by catcher Conger.
They never threatened again as Wilson retired the last 18 batters he faced after giving up a third-inning double to Elliot Johnson to start the inning.
Conger carried the defensive momentum with him to the plate in the bottom of the inning, belting a McAllister one-out pitch into the right-field jet stream that carried it over the wall for a two-run home run that handed the Angels a 2-1 advantage. The homer was the first allowed by McAllister in 37 consecutive innings, dating back to Sept. 20th against Houston’s Brandon Laird.
The Tribe’s defensive woes continued as catcher Yan Gomes airmailed a throw into shallow center field in an attempt to catch a stealing Howie Kendrick. Instead, Kendrick stole the base, then advanced to third on the bad throw. He soon trotted home on an Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.
Even after McAllister’s day was done, reliever Marc Rzepczynski couldn’t escape the jam he inherited. A two-run single by David Freese pushed the Angels’ lead to fourth runs at 5-1. Not wanting to blow through the bullpen, manager Terry Francona called on Carrasco to make his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. But he gave up a two-out, two-run double to Mike Trout (which was credited to Rzepczynski), giving the Angels an insurmountable six-run lead after six innings.
The Indians could have started the team plane from that point, because they went down without much of a struggle the rest of the way as Wilson mowed through the lineup.
The left-hander left after eight innings, earning the win having limited the Indians to the lone early run on two hits, striking out eight.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.