By Pete Zarustica
As the summer heats up, the Los Angeles Angels appear to be cooling down. With the All-Star break rest behind them and superstar Mike Trout back in the lineup, the Halos nevertheless have lost three of four after a 4-3 defeat by the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
Mike Trout and Martin Maldonado homered for the Angels, but they couldn’t get but two more hits. They could not hang on to a 2-1 lead. Bryce Harper put on a show for the Nats, going 4-for-4 and hitting a home run and a triple.
“He’s a tough out because he doesn’t give in,” Angels starter Jesse Chavez said of Harper. “He knows his strengths, he knows his weaknesses, and he doesn’t chase his weaknesses. That’s a sign of a good hitter, and that’s what Trouty does as well. Tonight he was able to get the four hits and kind of was our Achilles’ heel.”
The loss put the Angels’ record at 46-50 and they remain in fourth place in the American League West. Perhaps more significantly, they are four games back in the AL wild card race, with four teams ahead of them.
Some other bad news came in the form of a knee sprain to Cameron Maybin. The leftfielder hurt himself trying to steal second base. He could miss four weeks of action.
The key hit in the game was a home run by Adam Lind in the top of the ninth to put Washington ahead 4-2. The Angels rallied with a run in the bottom of the inning and had two runners on with two out, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
Chavez had a fairly good start, working six innings and giving up eight hits and two runs, including two homers. He struck out five batters and walked none. The loss went to Cam Bedrosian (2-2).
The two-game series with the Nationals concludes on Wednesday with Alex Meyer (3-5) making the start for the Orange County team.