Devil Rays 2, Angels 1
The Angels lost their fourth straight on Sunday, falling 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Meanwhile, Oakland defeated Baltimore 10-3 to take a half-game lead in the AL West.
Los Angeles had been in first place for 139 of 146 days this season.
“We’re not paying attention to the scoreboard,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our attention has to be on us. We’re going through one of those funks. We need to get out of it before it is prolonged.
“The only way to overcome this is to grind it out,” Scioscia said. “There’s no easy fix. We’re a good club and we’ll get it back.”
Hendrickson (8-7) gave up one run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He is 4-0 in his last six starts. Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his career-best 31st save.
“This is our playoffs,” Huff said. “We’re a good team right now. Confidence is high right now. Hopefully we can keep this team together and see what happens next year.”
Orlando Cabrera homered for the Angels, who finished 2-4 on their road trip.
Huff put the Devil Rays ahead 2-0 with a two-run shot off Jarrod Washburn (7-8) in the second. He has 11 homers and 35 RBIs since the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay finished its 13-game stretch at Tropicana Field with a 9-4 record — a franchise record for wins during any homestand.
“It’s good to see these young kids get better and rewarded,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “But what’s really fun is winning baseball games. That’s the fun.”
Washburn allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings. He lost for the second time in eight decisions on the road this season.
“There’s definitely no panic,” Washburn said. “We’re still coming to the park and having fun. The road trip didn’t go like we wanted. We just need to find our groove.”
Hendrickson retired nine in a row before Garret Anderson hit a two-out double in the fourth. The left-hander then got some help from center fielder Damon Hollins, who took an extra base hit away from Bengie Molina with a shin-high running catch near the warning track.
“I made pitches when I had to, and the defense made plays to help me out,” Hendrickson said.
Los Angeles pulled within 2-1 on Cabrera’s homer in the sixth. The Angels have only five homers over the past 12 games, scoring three runs or less in eight of the contests.
The Angels threatened in the eighth with a runner on third and two outs, but Joe Borowski retired the only batter he faced, getting Cabrera on a liner to first.
Borowski has not allowed a run in his last 21 2-3 innings.
Tampa Bay improved to 27-15 since the All-Star break. It was the Devil Rays’ first sweep over Los Angeles.
“We have nothing to lose,” Huff said. “Play baseball and relax. The other team, as far as I’m concerned, has everything to lose.”
Bartolo Colon (17-6) will try to win his sixth consecutive decision when he goes against Oakland’s Barry Zito (12-10) on Tuesday. … Piniella turned 62 Sunday. His managerial record on his birthday is 7-11. … Washburn is 7-2 in his career against Tampa Bay. He dropped to 4-1 at Tropicana Field. … Anderson, sidelined Aug. 14-22 with a sore back and left knee, was the DH for the second time in the past three games. He started in left on Saturday. … Tampa Bay 2B Jorge Cantu grounded into his 21st double play of the year in the first. Cantu and Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada started the day as the only AL players with 20 or more.