CLEVELAND — On the outside looking in at a tight AL wild card race, the Los Angeles Angels are experiencing some serious road woes.
Joe Smith (4-4) gave up five runs in the eighth, capped by Yan Gomes' grand slam, as the Angels' bullpen suffered another late-inning setback in an 8-3 loss Saturday night.
Asked about his performance, Smith said, "Apparently nothing was working. I didn't get an out."
The Indians, winners of four straight, scored three runs against reliever Trevor Gott on Friday to take the series opener 3-1.
Los Angeles has lost 15 of 18 on the road and seven of nine overall while falling 2 1-2 games out of the second wild card spot.
"Right now, the process is to try to get some offensive continuity and re-establish our starting pitching," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There are some things that we need to hopefully reboot."
With the score tied 3-3, Smith relieved starter Garrett Richards, who turned in seven innings, striking out nine and walking none. Richards retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
But of the five batters Smith faced, he gave up five runs, four hits and an intentional walk.
Carlos Santana's RBI double broke the tie and Gomes jumped on the first pitch for his first career grand slam. Bryan Shaw (3-2) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for Cleveland.
Despite the uncharacteristic struggles for Smith, the Angels will continue to trust their usually reliable reliever.
"We feel good with Joe's sinker in any situation," Scioscia said. "He's been phenomenal all year and this is one that obviously just got away from him a little bit."
Kole Calhoun got the Angels started early, homering deep into seats in right-center field on the first pitch of the game, which broke an 0-for-17 slump. The last time an Angel homered on the game's first pitch came on June 7, 2008, when Maicer Izturis did it against Oakland.
David Murphy, who was traded from Cleveland to Los Angeles on July 28, homered in the fourth. Michael Brantley's fielding error on Kaleb Cowart's two-out double allowed the tying run to score in the same inning.
But the middle of the Angels' lineup was kept silent, as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols combined to go 0 for 7.
After going 0 for 3, Trout's rough August continues. His average dipped to .194 (18 for 93) for the month, but the most alarming stat for the Angels is that Trout hasn't homered in 21 games, which is the longest drought of his career.
Trout injured his wrist in late August and missed two games because of it, but Scioscia downplayed that as a reason for his center fielder's recent struggles. And to Scioscia, the Angels' troubles right now stretch beyond Trout.
"To be honest, if Mike was doing his normal stuff, it still might not be enough right now," Scioscia said. "Not one guy is going to carry us ... we need to re-establish the depth in our lineup."
The game was delayed by rain for 38 minutes in the bottom of the third.
Murphy is making his first visit to Progressive Field since being traded to the Angels. Though he still finds it a little bit weird to be playing against his former teammates, he's been having fun with it.
"If something happens and (I'm) running by second base, I can yell something at (Jason) Kipnis," Murphy said.
Angels: 3B David Freese (broken right finger) is expected to rejoin the team in Oakland next week. He went 0 for 2 with two walks in a rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver is 9-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 19 career appearances against Cleveland.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin has held opposing hitters to a .171 average in three starts since returning from shoulder surgery.