Angels come up short, fall in series finale to Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles had their lowest-scoring game this season as they fell short and split a four game series in Tampa Bay.

After scoring at least five runs in each of the three previous games in the series, the Angels were much more quiet Thursday.

Los Angeles was held to six hits by three Tampa Bay pitchers and as the Rays pulled out a 2-1 victory at Tropicana Field.

The Angels, who left seven runners on base, managed to get the tying run to second base with two outs in the ninth for Brandon Drury, who grounded out to end the game.

Right-hander Griffin Canning (0-3), who allowed two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, had his best start of the season after allowing four or more earned runs in each of his previous three appearances. Relievers Luis Garcia and Matt Moore followed Canning with scoreless appearances, keeping the Angels within striking distance.

However, the bats did not have enough firepower behind them as a 2-2 series split concluded the second stop in a 10-game road trip.

Here are three takeaways:

Rosario makes difference

The Angels pitching staff seemed to struggle against against Rays second baseman Amed Rosario for the entire series. Rosario went 7 for 18 (.389) with four RBIs in the series, including the walk-off hit in the second game.

He was back at again Thursday as his first-inning triple started the scoring.

Rosario extended his hitting streak to 10 games and improved his batting average to .339. The stellar series series was nothing new for the 28-year-old, who has a .355 career average with 33 hits, 3 home runs, 10 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 22 games against the Angeles.

Los Angeles will have to wait until next season stop Rosario. With their win on Thursday, Tampa Bay claimed the season series, 4-3, and kept the Angels from grabbing a series victory against them for the first time since 2014.

Canning shows improvement

Canning’s start was critical after a tough beginning to the year. While the team was unable give him a win, he showed improvement during all 5 1/3 innings and the 27-year-old lowered his ERA from 9.88 to 8.05.

However, he was outdueled by Rays starter Ryan Pepiot (2-2), who allowed one earned run and struck out seven batters in six innings. He was the key piece in the Rays’ blockbuster trade that sent pitcher Tyler Glasnow to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As a highly regarded prospect in the midst of his first full season, the 26-year-old has posted a 4.37 ERA.

As for Canning, he delivered what was by far his best start of the season, throwing 55 strikes in 84 pitches. It’s something that he can build on as he tries to gather some momentum.

Trout stays hot on basepaths

Even when Trout went hitless, he still managed to create offense,. With the Angels down 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Trout opened with a walk and then stole second and third base, giving him five steals this season.

It allowed Miguel Sano to deliver a sacrifice fly that proved to be the Angels’ lone run.

Trout has opened the season with a newfound aggression on the bases, showing his desire to help the team manufacture runs any way that he can. After recording six stolen bases during his his last four seasons combined, he needs two steals to through that mark this season.

Speed isn’t foreign to Trout, who stole a career-high 49 during his rookie year (2012) and had two more 30-plus steals season before his dropoff. Assuming he stays healthy, his skills with the bat and aggressive baserunning should have him primed for another incredible season.

The Angels next visit the Cincinnati Reds (9-9) for a three-game series to cap a 10-game road trip. The series opens at 3:40 p.m. Friday with Angels left-hander Tyler Anderson (2-1, 1.47 ERA) facing a starter to be announced.