Angels Drop Opener, Fifth Consecutive to Rangers

By Michael Hllywa

Coming off a four-game series win against the Blue Jays, a bit of optimism for redemption was in the air with the Rangers coming to town. But a lackluster Jerome Williams and an injury to Howie Kendrick sucked all of the wind out of the stadium as a three-run Rangers fifth inning was enough to sink the Halos.

After squaring with the same Martin Perez last week, in a start where Williams went 7.2 innings and allowed only one run, Jerome took two steps back in tonight’s start. Last week in Texas, Jerome induced 12 groundball outs. Tonight? Five. He allowed five earned runs (one of which came in after Michael Kohn had entered the game in relief), and couldn’t get through the sixth inning.

The downward slide started in the fifth inning. Mark Trumbo had given the Angels an early 1-0 lead when he doubled home Mike Trout in the first inning. And with two outs, men on second and third and one already in, Williams induced a blooper into shallow right field. If the ball is caught, the Angels escape the jam with the score knotted up at one. But Collin Cowgill and Howie Kendrick collided, and the ball rolled free, allowing both runs to score, and Elvis Andrus to end up at third with a triple. Howie was hurt on the play, and was later diagnosed with a hyper-extended knee and was listed as day-to-day.

An Adrian Beltre home run and Jurickson Profar RBI single in the sixth made it 5-1, a plenty big enough lead to absorb the last Angels run to score via an RBI groundout by Cowgill.

The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, and J.B. Shuck gave an 0-2 slider a ride, but enough of one to get above the glove of David Murphy in right field. Trout’s third walk of the game in the ninth didn’t mean a thing as closer Joe Nathan retired the other three Angels he faced with ease.

It wasn’t all negative though. Mike Trout extended his on-base streak to 36 games, tying him with Chili Davis and Erick Aybar for the second longest on-base streak in Angels history. Joe Blanton relieved Michael Kohn to start the seventh inning, and need only 21 pitches to get through his three innings of relief. Where was this kind of efficiency a month ago, Joe? And, my favorite play of the game, Ian Kinsler got picked off second base in the fourth inning. Why does that matter? Because if you ever get a chance to laugh at Ian Kinsler, you take it.

The Angels look to get back to winning tomorrow evening when youngster Garrett Richards takes the mound against Yu Darvish at 7:05 PM PST. Did I say they loo to get back to winning tomorrow? I meant Wednesday. Light up the fail-o, light up more injuries and discouragement.