Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANAHEIM, Calif.— C.J. Wilson pitched two-hit ball over eight innings, Hank Conger hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Zach McAllister, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 7-1 today to send the Indians to their sixth straight loss.
Wilson (4-2) struck out eight, walked one and retired his last 18 batters after a leadoff double in the third by No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson. Cleveland’s other hit was an RBI single in the second by David Murphy, who was thrown out trying to steal for the inning’s final out.
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Los Angeles has scored seven or more runs each of Wilson’s victories, and fewer than four in both losses.
David Freese had a two-run single in the fifth against Marc Rzepczynski, and Mike Trout added a two-run double in the sixth off demoted starter Carlos Carrasco. Cleveland’s bullpen entered having stranded 42 of 46 inherited runners, the best percentage in the majors.
McAllister (3-2) threw 101 pitches over 4 1-3 innings and was charged with five runs, four hits and four walks. Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in the big leagues after throwing 75 pitches over five innings in a 5-3 loss at San Francisco on Saturday, McAllister was shifted to the rotation after Carrasco went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts.
Cleveland, which heads home to host the Chicago White Sox, was swept in consecutive series for the first time since last June at the New York Yankees and Detroit. The Indians totaled just 13 runs during the six-game trip, batting .183 and going 6 for 36 with runners in scoring position.
Cleveland opened the scoring in the second with David Murphy’s two-out RBI single.
Conger’s homer put the Angels ahead in the second, ending McAllister’s streak of 37 1-3 homerless innings since Houston’s Brandon Laird connected Sept. 20.
Albert Pujols made it 3-1 in the third with a sacrifice fly to center fielder Michael Bourn, who had no chance to make a play on Howie Kendrick at the plate after left fielder Mike Aviles banged into him. Aviles started in left field for the third time this season with Michael Brantley (1 for 14 against Wilson) getting the day off.
NOTES: Bourn had a leadoff single in the ninth against RHP Mike Morin, who was making his major league debut. But he was quickly erased on a double-play grounder by Aviles. ... Trout’s walkup music was “Trophies” by the group “Young Money.” ... Johnson started at 2B for the Indians in place of Jason Kipnis, who left Tuesday night’s game because of a strained abdominal muscle. “There’s no rush to put a guy on the DL. We can handle it. We’ll just kind of see how he responds,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’ve all seen it and been around it — where during the action of a game, a guy feels like it’s minimal. Then they wake up in the morning and feel like they’ve got a knife stuck in them.” ... All 15 big league homers by the switch-hitting Conger have been against right-handed pitchers, and nine of them have come with at least one man on base. ... The Angels didn’t fly their 2002 World Series championship banner, their eight division title flags or the California state flag because of fierce Santa Ana winds, which were clocked at 27 mph at gametime. ... Cleveland is the only team in the majors that hasn’t played an extra-inning game.