Los Angeles Times

Grand, but not good


- By Mike DiGiovanna

Bour’s slam in eighth gets Angels close, but they’ve lost nine of 11.



The Angels keep telling themselves it’s early, that the offense will come around, especially when injured slugger Shohei Ohtani returns in early May, that the rotation, which former manager Mike Scioscia always called “the heartbeat of the club,” would start pumping out quality starts, that the wins would follow.

“It’ll turn,” pitcher Matt Harvey said. “We’re good here in the locker room. Everybody is positive and staying focused on the task at hand. We’ll be fine.”

The Angels are not fine. In fact, they are a six-game win streak short of mediocrity after Tuesday night’s 7-5 loss to the depleted New York Yankees before 38,016 in Angel Stadium.

The Angels have lost nine of 11 games since they won six straight over Texas and Milwaukee from April 5 to 10. They are 9-15 and in last place in the American League West, six games behind Seattle.

They have plenty of fight in them, though. They rallied to trim a 7-1 deficit to 7-5 in the eighth inning when Justin Bour crushed his fourth career grand slam, a 435-foot shot to right-center field, and put two more runners on with no outs when Andrelton Simmons doubled to right-center and Albert Pujols walked.

But a team that erased all of an eight-run deficit against Seattle on Thursday night could not come all the way back Tuesday night.

Yankees reliever Luis Cessa struck out Brian Goodwin and got Kevan Smith to bounce into an inning-ending double play that third baseman Gio Urshela started with a lunging stop of Smith’s grounder to his left.

Zach Britton retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth for the save.

Nine of the Angels’ 15 losses have been by two runs or fewer.

“We’ve been putting a lot of good at-bats against some pretty good arms in the bullpen,” outfielder Peter Bourjos said. “It’s a sign of a good offense. I think the offense will continue to get better, and I think we’ll be on the right side of these things.”

The Yankees racked up 14 hits, including a triple, double and two singles by Brett Gardner and a pair of solo home runs by Luke Voit, to extend their win streak to five games.

New York right-hander Domingo German was dominant through 62⁄3 innings, allowing one unearned run and four hits, striking out five and walking one to improve to 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA in five starts.

After Monday night’s 14inning loss to the Yankees, in which the Angels needed eight innings from their relievers, it was important that starter Chris Stratton not only pitch effectivel­y but deep into the game.

He did neither, lasting five innings in which he gave up four runs and nine hits, including two homers, struck out six and walked one. He fell to 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA.

Stratton put the Angels in an early hole when he hung a 77-mph curve to Voit, who drove his sixth homer of the season and second in two nights against the Angels over the center-field wall for a 1-0 Yankees lead in the first.

New York increased it to 2-0 in the second when Mike Ford singled to right, Mike Tauchman walked, Thairo Estrada hit a one-out single to right for his first major league hit to load the bases and Tyler Wade hit a runscoring grounder.

Stratton pitched around traffic in the third and fourth but could not prevent the Yankees from doubling their advantage in the fifth. Gardner singled to left with one out, and Ford slammed his first big league homer, a twoout, two-run shot that traveled 419 feet to right field, to make it 4-0.

The Angels cut the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Goodwin doubled, Tommy La Stella reached on an error and David Fletcher hit an RBI grounder.

The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the seventh on Gleyber Torres’ RBI single and Austin Romine’s RBI groundout for a 6-1 lead, and Voit homered off reliever Sam Freeman in the eighth.

Fletcher sparked the Angels’ eighth-inning rally with a single to left. Kole Calhoun singled to right and Mike Trout walked ahead of Bour’s slam.

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 ?? Chris Carlson Associated Press ?? NEW YORK’S Brett Gardner celebrates after his triple against the Angels during the third inning. The Yankees would go on to beat the Angels 7-5.
Chris Carlson Associated Press NEW YORK’S Brett Gardner celebrates after his triple against the Angels during the third inning. The Yankees would go on to beat the Angels 7-5.

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