CLEVELAND -- Asked if he tried to go deep in Sunday's eighth inning, while needing only a home run for his second career cycle, Mike Trout smiled wide and snickered, offering some rare levity in an otherwise solemn Angels clubhouse.
"When I do that, I get my foot down late and I get jammed," Trout said after a 9-2, sweep-clinching loss to the Indians. "That's what happened."
CLEVELAND -- Abraham Almonte launched a grand slam, Carlos Santana drove in three runs with a little help from the sun and Josh Tomlin spun seven-plus strong innings to lead the Indians to a 9-2 rout over the Angels on Sunday at Progressive Field.
The win was the eighth in the past 10 games for Cleveland (63-66), which still has a pulse in the American League Wild Card race. The Indians entered the day five back of the second Wild Card spot with five teams, including the Angels (65-65), ahead of them. Los Angeles, which was 6 1/2 games out of first in the AL West and 2 1/2 back of a Wild Card spot, has lost eight of 10 and 25 of 36.
CLEVELAND -- August is almost over, and the Angels are a .500 team. It has been 65 days since they had the same amount of wins as losses, but then they were unable to score in a first inning that began with a single and a triple, and they lost two fly balls in the sun and gave up their second grand slam in as many days in a Sunday afternoon game from Progressive Field.
And now, after their 25th loss in their past 36 games, the Angels are 65-65.
Hector Santiago starts against fellow lefty Felix Doubront in the opener of a three-game series between the Angels and A's from O.co Coliseum on Monday, with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m. PT.
Santiago (7-8, 3.13 ERA) gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers on Wednesday, a night that saw Justin Verlander come three outs away from a no-hitter, and he hasn't really been the same in the second half. Since making the All-Star team, the Angels' southpaw has a 5.23 ERA over an eight-start stretch.
CLEVELAND -- David Freese, out with a fractured right index finger since July 23, was expected to start his third straight game at third base for Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, then be activated for Monday's series opener against the A's if all goes well.
CLEVELAND -- One night after coming from behind with three runs against seventh-inning reliever Trevor Gott, the Indians went off against Angels setup man Joe Smith in the eighth, getting a go-ahead double by Carlos Santana and a game-breaking grand slam by Yan Gomes to capture an 8-3 win from Progressive Field on Saturday.
Gomes knew the ball was leaving the ballpark right off the bat.
CLEVELAND -- Joe Smith hadn't given up a home run to a right-handed hitter all season, until Indians catcher Yan Gomes sent one into Progressive Field's bushes Saturday night. In a career that dates back to 2007, Smith had never allowed five runs in one outing, until Saturday's eighth inning, when the Angels' setup man turned a tied game into an 8-3 deficit and yet another crushing loss.
"Tough night for Joe," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's been there for us all year, and he'll be a big part of what we hope to accomplish the rest of the way. We'll turn the page on this."
CLEVELAND -- Opinions could change drastically depending on who the general manager becomes, but there has been a growing desire to re-sign David Freese among those who remain in the Angels' front office. They like what Freese brings to the clubhouse, and they've seen how much the offense has dropped off ever since he landed on the disabled list with a fractured right index finger on July 23.
But there won't be many quality third basemen available in the open market this offseason, with Aramis Ramirez expected to retire and the likes of Juan Uribe, Alberto Callaspo and Casey McGehee rounding out the other options. Freese could price himself out of the Angels' plans.
CLEVELAND -- To Angels manager Mike Scioscia, the logic was easy to digest -- even though the end result was so difficult to stomach. Andrew Heaney was only 12 pitches away from his career high, the bottom of the Indians' order was due up and the next reliever in line, Trevor Gott, had a 1.65 ERA.
"The decision," Scioscia said late Friday night, "just swayed on the opportunity to get Trevor Gott, who's been terrific, into a clean inning, or stretch Andrew a little bit, where maybe he wasn't quite as crisp, into maybe one or two hitters."
Trevor Bauer notched his 10th win by holding a floundering Angels offense to just one run -- an RBI single by Kaleb Cowart -- in eight innings, scattering five hits, walking three and striking out seven to lower his ERA to 4.31.
DETROIT -- At about 12:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, David Shoemaker made his way down the aisle of Section 126 at Comerica Park, right behind home plate. He found Row 24, shuffled to Seat 5, sat down and saw his son, Matt, warm up for his first start in his hometown.
DETROIT -- After the Angels 2-0 victory over the Tigers in Thursday's series finale at Comerica Park, Mike Trout -- the consensus best all-around player in the game -- had come to bat with runners in scoring position only 102 times. One-hundred and thirty-three Major League hitters had more plate appearances in that situation.
It is perhaps the Angels' biggest hindrance this season, a flaw that could cost Trout the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.
By Alden Gonzalez and Alejandro Zúñiga
DETROIT -- Pitching in his hometown for the first time, with at least 50 friends and family members in the stands, Matt Shoemaker dominated the Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon, throwing 7 1/3 innings of one-hit ball while leading the Angels to a 2-0 victory.
"It's incredibly special," Shoemaker said. "Family and friends, tons of them here. It means a lot, definitely special, getting a win for this ballclub in a tight playoff race."
DETROIT -- The Angels will need a big lift from their starting rotation to reach the playoffs, but that's a department they'll also have to monitor closely down the stretch. Hector Santiago, Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards, three of their key starters, are approaching dangerous territory.
Santiago, in his first full season in a Major League rotation, has thrown 149 2/3 innings, two-thirds of an inning higher than his previous career high with as many as seven starts left. At 154 innings, Richards is 14 2/3 innings shy of matching last season's total, and he's coming off an entire offseason of rehab.
DETROIT -- With one out in the top of the sixth inning of the Angels' 5-0 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night, Chris Iannetta reached full desperation mode. The Angels' catcher had just popped up another hittable fastball, dropping his batting average to .184 and making an out for the 48th time in his last 54 at-bats. Iannetta walked back into the dugout and told Paul Sorrento, one of the team's assistant hitting coaches, "All right, man, I've got nothing."
So Sorrento scurried back to the tunnel to review tape of Iannetta's productive 2011 season with the Rockies, noticed how tall his bat stood and how closed his stance was and told him he should do that.
DETROIT -- The long path back to pitching dominance for Justin Verlander ended Wednesday night with a familiar sight. The Tigers' ace came within three outs of his third career no-hitter, settling for a one-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Angels on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
"Over the last seven or eight starts, he's kind of shown that he's still got Justin Verlander inside of him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "and I think tonight was a little bit of an exclamation point."
DETROIT -- Angels catcher Carlos Perez was out of the starting lineup for Wedneesday night's game, but he'll probably be back in the lineup on Thursday afternoon. At that point, the 24-year-old rookie will have been behind the plate for 14 of the club's 25 games this month, largely because Chris Iannetta is in a slump and the team is desperate for wins.
But there's another layer to this: The Angels need to find out if Perez is capable of filling an everyday role.
DETROIT -- Forty-one active position players have been called upon to pitch in a Major League game, and three of them -- Drew Butera, Skip Schumaker and Josh Wilson -- have done so on more than two occasions.
None of them have done that with the Angels, though.
Pujols, Aybar lead offense as Angels overpower Tigers
By Alden Gonzalez and Alejandro Zuniga
DETROIT -- Albert Pujols homered, Erick Aybar notched three hits and the Angels held on Tuesday night, beating the Tigers at Comerica Park, 8-7, to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Tigers have now dropped five in a row, moving into a tie with Cleveland for fourth in the American League Central. Their starter, Alfredo Simon, put them in a 4-0 hole after the first and finished giving up eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking four batters, uncorking three wild pitches and hitting a batter.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast.
Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
DETROIT -- Jered Weaver was exasperated, at the fly ball that landed between two of his outfielders, at the four-run inning it helped set up, at how bloated his ERA had become, and at how trying these last five weeks had been for his team. All of it. And it all spilled out after the third inning of a Tuesday night game at Comerica Park, in a loud, obscenity-laced dugout tirade from the Angels' longtime ace.
"It was just more of trying to get the guys fired up and trying to get guys motivated," Weaver said after the Angels ultimately pulled through against the Tigers, winning, 8-7, to snap a four-game losing streak. "I hadn't really been vocal this year. It's obviously not the way I've wanted my season to go. But we're in the midst of a playoff race, and we have to play good baseball to get to where we want to be."
Weaver says outburst meant to fire up slumping Halos
By Michael Bauman
DETROIT -- For those who spent the past month asking the question: "The Angels have to be better than this, don't they?" Tuesday night, yes, they were better.
The Halos weren't close to perfect, but they did generate considerable offense and they received some invaluable work from their bullpen. An emotional outburst from starting pitcher Jered Weaver seemed to help more than it hurt. It all added up to an 8-7 victory over the Tigers.
DETROIT -- The Angels placed second baseman Johnny Giavotella on the 15-day disabled list with an undisclosed illness prior to Tuesday's 8-7 win over the Tigers, then watched his replacement, Grant Green, exit early with discomfort in his right knee.
Green suffered the injury while fielding a grounder in the second inning and was taken out after the third. A postgame MRI revealed that he had "tweaked a tendon" in his knee, Green said, but he hoped to return as soon as Wednesday.
Newcomb struck out six batters while allowing one walk in his seven shutout frames. He tossed 64 pitches before being pulled and has allowed just four earned runs in five Double-A starts (28 total innings). Tuesday night marked the first time he pitched into the seventh inning for the Travelers.