Even eight isn't enough for Angels pitchers
ANAHEIM -- On the same night they honored their 2002 World Series title team, the Angels suffered a loss that made another championship seem even more distant.
The Angels stunningly squandered an 8-0 lead after three innings Saturday, saw another All-Star starting pitcher have a one-inning nightmare, allowed 10 unanswered runs and lost, 10-8, to Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium.
A night after ace Jered Weaver gave up a career-high nine earned runs in the 12-3 loss to the Rays, All-Star left-hander C.J. Wilson surrendered five runs in the fifth inning, paving the way for the Rays comeback.
Then, tied at 8 in the eighth inning, Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen (2-2) gave up what proved to be the winning two-run home run to Rays pinch-hitter Carlos Pena, who knocked a 2-and-2 fastball over the right-field wall.
With third consecutive loss by the Angels and victories by Texas and Oakland, the Angels dropped to eight games behind the AL West-leading Rangers and 31/2 games back in the race for the second wild card spot.
The loss spoiled a spirited start by the Angels offense, highlighted by home runs from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols among the 12 hits and eight runs on Rays starter Alex Cobb in the first 22/3 innings.
Wilson, who entered Saturday's game winless (0-5) in his past nine starts dating to June 26, cruised into the fifth inning with a one-hit shutout that was soon spoiled. He unraveled, giving up three singles, a Ben Zobrist three-run double, a two-run Evan Longoria home run on a changeup and two walks, including one to Desmond Jennings with the bases loaded.
Reliever Jason Isringhausen came in to get the final out in the devastating fifth, pairing with catcher Chris Iannetta, who had crossed up signals with Wilson earlier in the game. In the sixth inning, one Isringhausen-Iannetta miscommunication led to a passed ball, which allowed Ryan Roberts to advance to third base and later jog home on Jose Lobaton's sacrifice fly that tied the score at 8.
Left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who was activated before Saturday's game and had missed 20 games on the disabled list because of a left shoulder strain, entered in the sixth inning with two outs and got Jennings to hit a liner into the glove of third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Jepsen replaced Downs to post a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts before giving up single to Jeff Keppinger and the game-winning home run to Pena in the eighth.
The Angels threatened in the ninth with runners at second and third base and one out. Facing former Angels and All-Star closer Fernando Rodney (38th save), Aybar struck out and pinch hitter Maicer Izturis ground out to shortstop to end the wild game.