DETROIT (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels are slumping and the timing isn’t good with Texas coming to town.
Los Angeles lost three of four in Detroit after dropping two of three in New York.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia hoped his players could relax during the flight home and figure out a way to bounce back in a key series against the Rangers.
“We just need to kind of catch our breath a little,” Scioscia said. “We haven’t played well out of the break and we’ve got to get our groove back.”
Max Scherzer struck out nine and got plenty of run support as Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila homered to help the Tigers beat Los Angeles 5-1 Thursday.
Since beating Detroit 13-0 Tuesday night, the Angels were outscored 12-3.
“We shut down a powerhouse,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “They got a lot of nice combinations of power and speed, it’s pretty impressive.”
Mike Trout, who has combined power and speed as well as anyone in baseball this year, struck out in his first two at-bats against Scherzer before striking back with his 14th homer in the sixth to allow the Angels to avoid being shut out. The hot-hitting rookie has scored in 11 straight games, pulling within two of matching the franchise-record streak set by Jim Edmonds in 1995.
That wasn’t enough against Scherzer and the suddenly rolling Tigers in the Motor City.
“He kept us off balance all day, there wasn’t a lot to be had,” Trout said. “He was throwing in the upper 90s with two other great pitches. It made it difficult to come up with a good plan against him. The way he was throwing, I don’t think anyone could’ve done much.”
Scherzer (9-5) gave up only one run — on Trout’s homer in the sixth inning — three hits and four walks over seven innings.
Jerome Williams (6-7) allowed five runs and nine hits over six-plus innings. Williams has lost five straight starts for the first time in his career.
“They’re a good hitting team and I left the ball up in the zone,” he said. “I just gotta get back to where I was earlier in the season.”
Prince Fielder provided a spark for the home team with his bat and hustle in the second inning. He hit a flare down the left-field line and rumbled to second, sliding ahead of the tag and knocking Maicer Izturis way off the bag.
“I gave myself a little headache,” Fielder said. “I don’t know what I hit, but I was a little dizzy.”
Fielder scored the game’s first run on Jhonny Peralta’s two-out double and Avila made it 3-0 on the next pitch with his sixth home run.
Danny Worth’s RBI double brought Peralta home for a four-run cushion in the fourth inning. Cabrera cracked a pitch to left for his 21st homer to put Detroit ahead 6-0 in the fifth.
After Scherzer’s strong start, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde combined to pitch two perfect innings.
The Angels have won just five of their last 13 games.
They need to turn it around soon to avoid falling behind AL West-leading Texas even more. Angels ace Jered Weaver will face the Rangers, whose probable pitcher is Derek Holland in the series opener Friday night.
“They’re the champs,” Torii Hunter said. “I’m giving them their props. It’s due. But we’re trying to take it from them.
“You always want to win your division. The wild card is not important to us right now. If we’re five games out on the last day – then the wild card is very important.”
NOTES: Albert Pujols went 0 for 3 with a walk as the Angels’ DH because manager Mike Scioscia didn’t want to risk having him and his banged-up left foot in the field. … Williams was 6-2 before losing his last five starts.