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Angels went toe-to-toe with Indians until things unraveled in the 9th, lose series opener 6-3

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The good news? The Twins also lost. So there’s that, right?

Cleveland Indians v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Angels 3 Indians 6

The Indians recently got themselves into the history books by winning a bunch of games in a row. That’s NOT the type of team you want to come into your house, under any normal-ish circumstances, let alone in the midst of a crazy wild card race. The Halos had their work cut out for them, and for awhile there, they were keeping things close.

Maybe the Angels felt it would be easier for us fans to accept this loss if it were of a larger margin, and not a very tight, narrow defeat, and thus decided to give up a bunch of runs in the ninth, blowing the game wide open. That’s a decent excuse, right? Ok, I’ll go with that one, then, to answer for why the Halos were right there with Cleveland for 8 innings, and then threw it all away in the last frame.

Although, that’s really what they were doing the entire game: A step forward, two steps back. Tyler Skaggs, the starter of record this evening, would battle for 5.1 IP, giving up eight hits, but just two runs on the board. Not too bad against this Indians club, and definitely a lead that the Halos could claw their way back from. They almost did, too, when they added a run on the board in the bottom of the fifth, via crafty and weird double steal with two outs; Kole Calhoun was on third, Luis Valbuena on first, and KC scored from home before Valbuena was tagged out on the base path.

That made the score 2-1, and hope filled the air...until reliever Blake Wood gave a run right back, via home run in the sixth inning. The Angels were back to a two-run grave, a 3-1 tally on the jumbotron, but they still had some fight in them yet. In the eighth, they mounted a two-out rally, capped off by a Brandon Phillips single to center field that scored C.J. Cron. The score was 3-2, and we were on our way to the ninth, where the magic happens.

“Usually”, I should say. Magic USUALLY happens, but tonight, there was no magic, just barf. Barf, barf, barf...all over the infield and outfield and everywhere else at the ballpark. Barf. Bud Norris was the anti-hero of this ninth inning story, as he got two outs in the frame, but allowed three hits and three runs. The game had gotten away from them, to put it coolly, a 6-2 score now flashing on the FSW graphics on my television, and suddenly I felt sick. (barf)

Justin Upton hit a solo blast to left-center in the bottom of the ninth, making the game a useless 6-3 affair, and that was the last we’d hear from the Angels in this one. That was the ballgame, a jagged loss to swallow, especially when it had been so close for so long. The good news, of course, is that the Twins also lost tonight, getting the L handed to them by the Yankees. A win by the Halos would have brought them within half a game of the second Wild Card spot, but instead, they’re 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card.

Just as if they didn’t even play today, no ground gained but none really lost, so we can put this one behind us and...*ahem*...turn the page. Tomorrow, they’ll have another shot, and the Twins will have their hands full, too. There is hay to be made while that Wild Card sun is shining. Time to get to work, Halos.