CLEVELAND — Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels have a more pressing concern than the AL wild-card race: They need to win their next game to avoid falling below .500.
Abraham Almonte hit his first career grand slam and Josh Tomlin pitched into the eighth inning, leading the Cleveland Indians past the slumping Angels 9-2 Sunday for their fifth straight victory.
Trout and Kole Calhoun both lost catchable fly balls in the sun, and the Indians' offense made them pay. Cleveland capped a three-game sweep and dropped the Angels (65-65) back to .500 for the first time since June 26.
Los Angeles, which has lost eight of 10 overall and 16 of 19 on the road, is 3 1/2 games behind Texas in the race for the second AL wild card.
"We are where we are. We're not going to look back," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to re-establish some things on the field that we've done at times well this year."
Jered Weaver (6-10) gave up eight runs and nine hits in six innings. He was hurt by those two costly miscues that led to five Cleveland runs.
"Talking to the guys, (the sun) was peeking through and then it was up there like a heat lamp," Scioscia said. "But those guys are pretty good at getting around balls. They just lost two of them today."
Cleveland had a 2-0 lead when Michael Brantley singled with one out in the fifth. Carlos Santana lifted what appeared to be a routine fly to right, but Calhoun lost sight of it. The ball fell for a double and Brantley went to third.
Scioscia went to the mound to talk strategy. Lonnie Chisenhall was intentionally walked before Almonte sent his slam to right-center.
"One too many heaters in — or if you still call it a fastball, I don't know," Weaver said. "Whatever you guys want to call it."
Brantley's RBI double gave Cleveland the lead in the first. Brantley scored when Trout lost Santana's fly ball near the warning track.
"It could have been a different game, but that's the way it goes," Weaver said. "Just been running into a little bad luck in some situations and haven't been able to pitch my way out of those situations."
Outfield miscues are becoming a trend when Weaver pitches. In his previous start against the Tigers, an 8-7 win, Weaver endured a four-run third inning. Trout lost a ball in the lights that dropped for a double.
At the end of that inning, Weaver was seen yelling angrily in the dugout, but later denied shouting at Trout or anyone in particular.
Tomlin (3-1) was charged with two runs in seven-plus innings. The right-hander was making his fourth start since coming off the disabled list Aug. 15 after having shoulder surgery in March.
Grant Green homered for the Angels in the sixth, his first of the season.
Trout broke out of his slump at the plate by going 4 for 4 with an RBI. He entered the game hitting .194 (18 for 93) in August, and he hasn't homered in 22 games.
SNAP OUT OF IT
On July 26, the Angels held a one-game lead in the AL West. Since then, Los Angeles has been in a tailspin — due in large part to a sputtering offense.
"On the offensive side, there's no doubt that (the slump has) been prolonged," Scioscia said. "There's always tools you try to use to get out of it. We've tried no BP, extra BP, we've tried, 'Hey, let's just go American Legion and come out here and get loose and play.' As of right now, we're still searching for that offensive chemistry."
Angels 3B David Freese (broken right finger), on a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake, will likely be activated when rosters expand Tuesday.
Angels LHP Hector Santiago (7-8) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Oakland. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Athletics since the beginning of last season.