If nothing else, the Indians proved they could come up with a new way to extend their losing streak Saturday night.
The Tribe committed a season-high four errors — and could have been charged with two more — as the Los Angeles Angels rolled to a 7-2 victory at Progressive Field.
It was the Indians’ sixth straight loss, dropping them five games behind the Texas Rangers for the final American League wild-card berth and eight games off the pace in the Central Division.
“We played a bad baseball game tonight and we have to do a better job tomorrow,” Indians right fielder Drew Stubbs said. “I thought we played pretty lackluster the whole way. We’ve got to be more upbeat and more on top of our game than this.”
Stubbs and catcher Gomes had two hits apiece, while center fielder Michael Bourn and Gomes accounted for the Tribe’s two runs with RBI singles.
The rest of the team combined to go 2-for-22, including an 0-for-4 night by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who made Cleveland’s fourth error by bobbling a grounder with his glove, then his left hand in a split-second.
“When a team is trying to give you outs, you need to take every one of them,” Indians manager Terry Francona said tersely. “We didn’t play the game the way we’re supposed to tonight. They executed and we didn’t. They made plays and we didn’t. You can’t have that.”
The Tribe fell to 0-6 on a seven-game homestand that began with four losses to the division-leading Tigers. Cleveland has been outscored 37-15 during the skid that has largely reduced its playoff chances to rubble.
Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson (12-6, 3.49 ERA) earned the win, but only lasted 5⅓ innings because his pitch count reached 117. Five Los Angeles relievers followed and retired 11 straight to end the game.
The Indians’ bullpen was anything but perfect as Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen were rocked for four runs in the eighth inning, allowing the Angels to turn their 3-2 advantage into a five-run bulge.
Shaw allowed three runs without recording an out, while Allen gave up one run before leaving the bases loaded. Second baseman Kipnis and Cabrera added to their woes by committing their errors on back-to-back plays.
“It looked like we were going to take the lead, but all of a sudden, we’re getting blown out,” Francona said. “How you handle frustration determines how your season will be defined. We’re about to find out what kind of a team this is.”
Tribe starter Jimenez (8-7, 4.11 ERA) went 6⅓ innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out five. The right-hander exited with Los Angeles holding a 3-2 lead, and wound up with his third loss in three decisions against the Angels this season.
“We’re playing like a team that’s trying to survive the last couple of days,” Jimenez said. “We’re trying to do too much, instead of playing how you’re supposed to play the game. Everyone is trying too hard to make plays right now.”
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the second when Los Angeles third baseman Chris Nelson couldn’t corral a chopper by Stubbs, allowing Gomes to score from third.
Bourn laced a single over the glove of Angels second baseman Grant Green in the sixth, scoring Gomes to cut Los Angeles’ lead to 3-2.
The fireworks-fueled crowd of 32,733 was the largest at Progressive Field since July 5.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles Angels
TIME: 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Progressive Field
PITCHERS: Masterson (13-7, 3.33 ERA) vs. Williams (5-8, 4.77)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM