Squan­der­ing into trou­ble

For the sec­ond time in eight days, they find a way to squan­der a big, late lead and lose 11-10.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Pe­dro Moura pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura

An­gels suf­fer their sec­ond come-from-ahead 11-10 loss in eight days.

Mike Trout starred, the An­gels fought, and yet they came up short. It was true Sun­day. It’s of­ten been true this sea­son. In two months, it should be an apt de­scrip­tor for their com­pleted sea­son.

Trout has played 20 games since his July re­turn from a torn thumb lig­a­ment. In 19 of those games, he has reached base. In 14 of them, he has done so more than once. Plate ap­pear­ance by plate ap­pear­ance, he is string­ing to­gether a sea­son for the ages to add to an in­creas­ingly as­ton­ish­ing ca­reer. He is hit­ting, walk­ing and slug­ging at rates bet­ter than his pre­vi­ous bests.

He turns 26 Mon­day, and his next hit will be his 1,000th. By all ad­vanced mea­sures, he is al­ready the most valu­able player in fran­chise his­tory. And, still, it ob­vi­ously is not enough.

In the longest nine-in­ning game ever played at An­gel Sta­dium, the An­gels suf­fered a de­mor­al­iz­ing 11-10 de­feat to the Oak­land Ath­let­ics on Sun­day. One week ear­lier in Toronto, they lost by the same score, in sim­i­lar, shorter fash­ion.

Then, closer Bud Nor­ris was the pri­mary cul­prit, stricken with the loss for sur­ren­der­ing a walk-off grand slam. This time, he shared the bur­den with setup man Blake Parker. Each man en­tered spring train­ing as a non­roster in­vi­tee. To­gether they propped up the bullpen and be­came un­likely Al­lS­tar can­di­dates. And, late on this mid­sum­mer af­ter­noon, they im­ploded to­gether, turn­ing a four-run eighth-in­ning lead into a one-run de­feat.

In­clud­ing Sun­day, the two men have made 100 ap­pear­ances for the An­gels this sea­son. Be­fore this sea­son, the 32-year-olds had com­bined to re­lieve in 137 ma­jor league games. Their un­usu­ally tax­ing work­loads could be con­nected to their fal­ter­ing per­for­mances.

“I’ve never pitched in 50plus games be­fore,” Nor­ris said. “It’s late in the year. My body’s def­i­nitely go­ing through some things.”

He fa­nat­i­cally stud­ied the tape after­ward, seek­ing to un­cover what went wrong with his de­liv­ery.

The An­gels (55-57) fell back to three games out of the sec­ond Amer­i­can League wild-card spot. Their com­peti­tors from Seat­tle and Kansas City split a dou­ble­header that re­quired only 90 more min­utes to com­plete than the An­gels’ sin­gle game.

To be­gin the An­gels’ first in­ning, Yunel Es­co­bar cor­nered left-han­der Sean Manaea in a 3-and-1 count and roped a fast­ball into the left-field seats for a home run. In the third in­ning, Trout hooked a low changeup to a sim­i­lar spot for his 22nd homer, one of three times he got on base.

That lead re­mained un­til the fourth, as An­gels starter Ricky No­lasco had man­aged to strand an as­sort­ment of baserun­ners. Oak­land then pushed across four quick runs on two dou­bles, a walk and a vi­cious home run from Mark Canha.

The An­gels matched the Ath­let­ics’ out­put in the bot­tom of the in­ning. Two walks and a Kole Cal­houn sin­gle loaded the bases for backup catcher Juan Graterol, who laced a two-run dou­ble down the left-field line. Cliff Pen­ning­ton then blooped an RBI sin­gle into cen­ter field, where an er­ror al­lowed an­other run to score.

When No­lasco sur­ren­dered a lead­off dou­ble to Ryon Healy in the fifth, An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia called in re­liever Cam Be­drosian, who let in a run with a wild pitch. Be­drosian would’ve let in an­other had Cal­houn not chased down a drive to right.

The An­gels pushed across two runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, An­drel­ton Sim­mons spark­ing the ini­tial rally with a dou­ble, and an Oak­land er­ror con­tin­u­ing the sec­ond.

Right-han­der Yus­meiro Pe­tit, an­other non­roster-re­liever suc­cess story, gave up a run in two in­nings be­fore Parker took over for the eighth. He was not sharp, and nei­ther was Nor­ris, who re­placed him. The two yielded the An­gels’ lead on three sin­gles, two dou­bles and one home run.

Parker re­gret­ted noth­ing. He said he’d again throw the same fast­ball that led to Khris Davis’ home run. Nor­ris lamented one pitch — a 2and-2 slider he left over the plate for Bruce Max­well, who sin­gled in the ty­ing and go-ahead runs.

“I needed to bounce a slider,” Nor­ris said. “It caught too much of the plate.”

So, the An­gels trailed as they bat­ted in the bot­tom of the eighth. C.J. Cron dou­bled, Sim­mons took a fast­ball off his ribs and Cal­houn moved them up a base with a one-out tap-out. Af­ter a walk to load the bases, pinch-hit­ter Luis Val­buena struck out swing­ing, and the An­gels went down in or­der in the ninth.

The last in­ning was quick; the other eight were not. The 4-hour 12-minute af­fair be­came by 10 min­utes the longest nine-in­ning game in An­gel Sta­dium’s 51year his­tory.

Paul Buck Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

OAK­LAND THIRD BASE­MAN Matt Chap­man beats the throw to An­gels catcher Juan Graterol to score the go-ahead run on Bruce Max­well’s sin­gle, cap­ping the Ath­let­ics’ five-run eighth-in­ning rally from a 10-6 deficit.

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