August 27, 2014

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Cleveland wraps up winless road trip with lopsided loss to Angels

Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, right, makes a catch on a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols just before colliding with left fielder Mike Aviles Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo)

Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, right, makes a catch on a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols just before colliding with left fielder Mike Aviles Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Cleveland Indians’ winless road trip was mercifully brief — just six games. The lack of timely offense and sporadic starting pitching only magnified the disappointment for manager Terry Francona.

Zach McAllister didn’t get through the fifth inning Wednesday, giving up a two-run homer to Hank Conger in a 7-1 loss that extended Cleveland’s losing streak to six games. The Indians were held to two hits by C.J. Wilson, who retired his last 18 batters after giving up an RBI single to David Murphy in the second inning.

The Indians, who head home to host the Chicago White Sox, were swept in consecutive series for the first time since last June at the New York Yankees and Detroit. The Tribe totaled 13 runs during the six games against the Angels and San Francisco Giants, batting .183 and going 6-for-36 with runners in scoring position.

“It was a really tough trip. There’s no way around it,” Francona said. “Not a lot went right for us. But we have to put it behind us. We have to go fix it, and we’ll do that.”

McAllister (3-2) threw 101 pitches over 4⅓ innings and was charged with five runs, four hits and four walks. Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in the big leagues after throwing 75 pitches over five innings in a 5-3 loss at San Francisco on Saturday, McAllister was bumped up in the rotation after Carlos Carrasco went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts.

“I didn’t have the command I would have liked, and I went deep into some at-bats that really pushed my pitch count up,” McAllister said. “I made a lot of pitches early and walked some guys. But as far as the way my body felt and my arm felt, I felt extremely good out there.”

Conger’s drive into the right field seats on a 1-2 count ended McAllister’s streak of 37⅓ homerless innings since Houston’s Brandon Laird connected Sept. 20.

“I thought Zach really competed, but I thought it was hard for him to put hitters away — which drove his pitch count up,” Francona said. “He’d been on three days’ rest, but he’s strong as a horse and he was working hard. After he left, we gave up a couple of runs that inning, so his line is going to look worse than how he pitched.”

Albert Pujols made it 3-1 in the third with a sacrifice fly to center fielder Michael Bourn, who had no chance to make a play on Howie Kendrick at the plate after left fielder Mike Aviles banged into him. Aviles started in left field for the third time this season with Michael Brantley (1 for 14 against Wilson) getting the day off.

David Freese had a two-run single in the fifth against Marc Rzepczynski, and Mike Trout added a two-run double in the sixth off Carrasco in his second appearance out of the bullpen. Cleveland’s relievers entered Wednesday having stranded 42 of 46 inherited runners, the best percentage in the majors.

Wilson (4-2) struck out eight, walked one and didn’t allow a baserunner after No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson led off the third inning with a double.

“I try to hold the other team down so that there’s no momentum,” Wilson said. “I think a lot of guys fall into the trap of thinking in the fourth inning: ‘Hey, this game is over, so I’m going to cruise from here.’ So you’ve got to take every pitch seriously and every at-bat seriously. As a starting pitcher, you just try to hold down the other team enough until your offensive buddies beat ’em up.”

Notes

  • The Indians are 0-6 on the road in games started by lefties.
  • Johnson started at 2B for the Indians in place of Jason Kipnis, who left Tuesday night’s game because of a strained abdominal muscle. “There’s no rush to put a guy on the DL. We can handle it. We’ll just kind of see how he responds,” Francona said. “We’ve all seen it and been around it — where during the action of a game, a guy feels like it’s minimal. Then they wake up in the morning and feel like they’ve got a knife stuck in them.”
  • Cleveland is the only team in the majors that hasn’t played an extra-inning game.

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