CLEVELAND (AP) - The losses keep piling up for the Los Angeles Angels. And Albert Pujols is still looking for his first home run.
Pujols singled in four at_bats, but the Angels' bullpen blew another lead and lost to the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Asdrubal Cabrera's one-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth Friday night. The Angels' fifth straight loss dropped them to 0-6 in one-run games and deeper into last place in the AL West.
After the game, veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu was released, highly touted rookie Mike Trout called up from Triple-A Salt Lake, and pitcher Jered Weaver talked about the Angels' struggles.
``Obviously, we're not very happy with what's going on,' Weaver said after pitching six scoreless innings, but getting a no-decision when the bullpen fell to 1 for 7 in save chances this year.
``We need to really start getting things going from all around. It's a bitter taste in our mouth right now.'
Angels right fielder Torii Hunter drove in two runs and threw out a runner trying to score, but Pujols remained homerless in 20 games since signing a $240 million, 10-year contract. It's his longest drought to start a season.
Pujols lined a two-out single in the first and scored on a single to right by Hunter, who was out trying for second.
Pujols' regular-season homerless drought is at a career-worst 109 at_bats. He has not connected since Sept. 22 last year with St. Louis.
Pujols, who on Thursday snapped his career-worst hitless streak at 21 at_bats with a ground single against Tampa Bay, has not homered in 80 at_bats with the Angels. He had a 105-at-bat drought April 23-May 23 last year - then rebounded to help the Cardinals win the World Series.
``It's a short sample to look at anything that's going on to give any trends right now,' Scioscia said. ``There's some things he will do as he gets comfortable in the batters' box that and we'll start to see.
``Your stats are naked at the beginning of the season and there's a lot of attention at the end. In the middle sometimes bad stretches are absorbed because of a good start. Maybe it doesn't get as much attention as it does at the start of the season.'
Or the attention the Angels received after landing Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson as free agents that had many picking Los Angeles to easily head to postseason play.
``The comments about us early in the season are far gone,' Weaver said. ``We need to start turning things around and get stuff on the same page. The expectations earlier in the season were higher and we're not doing what we're capable of. We're waiting for the ship to get turned around and when it does hopefully we can run with it and people will have to start looking out for us.'
Cleveland, which had 36 comeback triumphs, including 12 last at-bat wins a year ago, rallied against the Angels' battered bullpen.
``Last year, we had a lot of fun with some walk-offs,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``It's nice to be able to go out and do that again.'
Aaron Cunningham opened the ninth against David Carpenter (0-1) by doubling over leaping left fielder Vernon Wells at the wall. Michael Brantley lined out to center before Jason Kipnis singled. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar got a glove on the line drive, slowing the ball down and preventing Cunningham from scoring.
Cabrera hit a 2-0 pitch to right, making the Indians 6-0 in one-run games and the Angels 0-6. It was the sixth time the Angels lost after leading in the seventh inning.
Vinnie Pestano (1-0) struck out the only two batters he faced for the win. The native of southern California was inundated with tweets and text messages from family and friends afterwards.
``Everybody back home was watching it on TV,' Pestano said. ``It was a high leverage situation and I'm glad I got it done.'
He replaced Justin Masterson after the Indians starter walked Kendrys Morales and Peter Bourjos in the ninth. Pestano fanned Vernon Wells and Aybar to keep it tied at 2.
Weaver left with a 2-0 lead. He gave up seven hits and four walks, striking out eight.
Casey Kotchman broke a 0-for-24 skid with a seventh-inning single off reliever Hisanori Takahashi and scored on a double by Brantley. Kevin Jepsen then yielded an RBI single to Kipnis that tied it at 2.
Scioscia said he thinks the bullpen will rebound.
``Most of the improvement has to come from in-house,' he said. ``We have some good arms down there. Some of the guys aren't throwing to their capabilities and it's having a cascading effect in a negative way on some other guys when you try to expand their role.'
Masterson allowed only four hits over 8 1-3 innings, but remained winless since Sept. 18. The right-hander Masterson came up big against Pujols with a runner on second in the eighth. He retired Pujols on a foul popup to end the inning after pitching coach Scott Radinsky visited the mound.
``You go after Pujols in that situation,' Acta said. ``He's (Masterson) our number one and you go after him.'
NOTES: Scioscia replaced RHP Jordan Walden with LHP Scott Downs as closer. ... The Angels have lost 11 straight one-run games going back to last season, according to Stats LLC. ... Hunter's assist was the 99th of his outfield career, fifth most among active players. ... Angels RHP Bobby Cassevah was activated from the DL (sore right shoulder) and optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
The Associated Press News Service
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