CLEVELAND (AP) — Over the course of a long season, every team will experience some difficult losses.
The Angels learned that first-hand Thursday.
Ernesto Frieri gave up a two-out, walk-off grand slam to Nick Swisher in the 10th inning that sent Los Angeles to a 5-3 loss in the final stop of a six-game road trip.
The Angels were on the verge of a satisfying win after Albert Pujols’ two-run single gave them a 3-1 lead in the top of the 10th, but manager Mike Scioscia’s decision to use rookie Cam Bedrosian to start the inning backfired and Frieri finished off the loss.
“Ernie has been struggling a bit and we wanted to give them a fresh look,” Scioscia said. “(Bedrosian) is a guy they hadn’t seen and we hoped that he could make some pitches. Got close, he couldn’t get it done.”
Frieri was left almost stunned after allowing the game-winning grand slam. He has given up six runs in his last three outings, including four Saturday in Atlanta and another on Tuesday against the Indians.
“Today I missed a pitch again and I got hurt. It cost us the win,” Frieri said. “I’m fighting, man. I don’t know. Been working, been watching videos, asking questions. It feels like nothing wants to go my way.”
Even though the calendar says it’s June, the loss wasn’t easy to take. Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, who allowed one run in seven innings, knows how important it is to not let games like this get away.
“We’re running out of games. We’re almost halfway through the season and we need to win,” Wilson said. “We can’t afford to lose games like this.”
Swisher had gone 0 for 4 with three strikeouts before he belted a 1-2 pitch into the right field seats to cap an improbable comeback after Pujols’ clutch piece of hitting. He slapped a 3-2 pitch from Scott Atchison through the open right side of the infield to break a 1-all tie. The Indians were playing the Angels slugger to pull with Jason Kipnis playing near the bag at second base, but Pujols foiled that strategy.
“You’ve got to take something away, fortunately we were able to come back and win the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We’d do it again, but it was hard to see that ball go through the infield.”
Atchison struck out the first two hitters in the 10th before Kole Calhoun singled. Mike Trout’s double, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, moved Calhoun to third.
Trout also walked twice and has reached base safely in 36 of his last 37 games. He’s batting .407 (35 for 86) in his last 23 games.
The Indians responded off Bedrosian (0-1). Michael Bourn drew a leadoff walk and took third on Kipnis’ one-out double. Carlos Santana walked to load the bases and Frieri replaced Bedrosian. David Murphy flied out before Swisher delivered.
Kyle Crockett (1-0) retired the final hitter in the 10th for his first major league win.
Wilson and Justin Masterson both allowed one run in seven innings as neither pitcher was affected by Wednesday night’s rainout, which pushed their scheduled start back a day.
Masterson’s wild pitch put Los Angeles ahead in the second, but Bourn tied it with an RBI groundout in the third.
Masterson held the Angels to four hits, walked three and hit a batter. Wilson allowed three hits, walked four and struck out six.
Howie Kendrick doubled with one out in the second and took third on a groundout. With David Freese batting, Masterson’s low and outside pitch skipped past catcher Yan Gomes, allowing Kendrick to score.
Gomes led off the third with a single for Cleveland’s first hit. He moved to third on a walk and a fielder’s choice, and scored on Bourn’s ground ball to the right side.
NOTES: The teams will make up Wednesday’s rainout on a mutual day off at Progressive Field, with July 28 being the most likely possibility. The Angels begin a series in Baltimore the following day while the Indians start a homestand the next day. … Angels LHP Tyler Skaggs (strained right hamstring) is expected to throw a simulated game Friday. … The Angels, who finished 2-4 on their trip, return home for six games, beginning Friday against Texas. RHP Garrett Richards (6-2) will pitch the opener.