Home run in the 10th beats An­gels

AL East team ral­lies from a 4-0 deficit and pre­vails with a lead­off homer in the 10th.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Bill Shaikin bill.shaikin@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Bil­lShaikin

Kevin Kier­maier’s lead­off blast off Hus­ton Street gives Tampa Bay the vic­tory.

The Amer­i­can League East this sea­son is widely re­garded as medi­ocre at best, aw­ful at worst. So there is one statis­tic that must be par­tic­u­larly trou­bling to the An­gels, as they try to climb the stand­ings in the AL West.

There is one team in the AL West with a los­ing record against the AL East. That team would be the An­gels.

With their 6-5, 10-in­ning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wed­nes­day, the An­gels fell to 6-7 against the AL East. The Hous­ton As­tros, lead­ers of the AL West, are 8-2 against the AL East.

It’s a hand­ful of games so far, not a trend. But the An­gels leave Thurs­day for a sixgame trip against AL East op­po­nents — a three-game week­end se­ries at Yan­kee Sta­dium, fol­lowed by three more at Tampa Bay.

The An­gels came close on Wed­nes­day. They got one run in the bot­tom of the ninth to tie the score, on a sac­ri­fice f ly by Erick Ay­bar. But they stranded the po­ten­tial win­ning run on sec­ond base when, af­ter an in­ten­tional walk to Mike Trout, Al­bert Pu­jols grounded out.

Trout has nine in­ten­tional walks this sea­son, one shy of Detroit’s Miguel Cabr­era for the AL lead.

As the game went into ex­tra in­nings, the An­gels called on closer Hus­ton Street.

He gave up a home run to the first bat­ter he faced, Kevin Kier­maier, which was enough to se­cure the Rays’ vic­tory.

Four hours be­fore game time, the pic­ture was more up­beat for the An­gels. Their starter, Hec­tor San­ti­ago, who might be the friendli­est guy on the An­gels, en­gaged in friendly ban­ter as he ar­rived for work to find seven huge card­board boxes stacked next to his locker.

He ripped one open, to see what was in­side, and you wor­ried about a pitcher strain­ing his arm.

Then bullpen coach Steve Soliz walked past, and San­ti­ago picked up one of the boxes and threw it at Soliz. You wor­ried about a pitcher throw­ing out his arm.

The boxes con­tained Tshirts for “San­ti­ago’s Sol­diers,” a chil­dren’s char­ity he founded. The boxes even­tu­ally had to make way, so San­ti­ago picked them up, one by one, and stuffed them into the locker va­cated by the re­cently de­moted Vin­nie Pes­tano. You wor­ried about a pitcher throw­ing out his back.

But, for a while, San­ti­ago was fine, not only in the club­house but through the first five in­nings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first in­ning, picked off a run­ner in the sec­ond, and pitched per­fect in­nings from the third through the fifth.

By that time, the An­gels led 4-0, and San­ti­ago had low­ered his earned-run av­er­age to 2.01 — the same as the Rays’ Chris Archer, who daz­zled at An­gel Sta­dium on Tues­day with 15 strike­outs.

Then came, as the cliche would have it, the fate­ful sixth. Within five bat­ters, San­ti­ago gave up five runs. The shutout bid was gone. The lead was gone. He was gone.

Bran­don Guyer walked, Joey But­ler home­red, and the Rays had pulled within 4-2. Evan Lon­go­ria sin­gled, Logan Forsythe walked — on four pitches — and Steven Souza home­red. The Rays led, 5-4, and San­ti­ago’s ERA had risen to 2.69. The An­gels spared him the loss but couldn’t do more than that.

Rick Loomis Los An­ge­les Times

KOLE CAL­HOUN

of the An­gels gets a fa­cial at sec­ond base as the Rays’ As­drubal Cabr­era ap­plies the tag.

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