ARLINGTON -- Veteran closer Huston Street finally gave up his first runs with his new team on Sunday, turning a one-run lead into a walk-off loss against the Rangers at Globe Life Park, one that denied the Angels a chance to move a season-best 24 games above .500 and instead snapped their four-game winning streak.
But, as Angels manager Mike Scioscia pointed out after the 2-1 defeat, "This game was not lost in the ninth inning."
It was lost in the second, when the Angels got only two runs in a frame that began with four consecutive singles. It was lost in the fourth, one that began with runners on the corners and ended with zero runs. And it was lost, most profoundly, in the eighth, when the Angels loaded the bases with none out and Rangers reliever Shawn Tolleson came back to strike out Erick Aybar and David Freese, before left-hander Neal Cotts came in and fanned Efren Navarro, denying them an important insurance run.
One day after reaching first place for the first time since Opening Day 2013 an Angels offense that was without Josh Hamilton, the slumping cleanup hitter who asked Scioscia for the day off, went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
"Looking back on the day, we had a bunch of opportunities to score some runs and just had to put the ball in play," said Mike Trout, who didn't score from first on Albert Pujols' eighth-inning liner off the left-field wall because he was going on the pitch and didn't see it.
"Hitting with runners in scoring position is the name of the game," said Hank Conger, who hit shallow popups in two situations that saw him come up with a runner on third and less than two outs. "We'd like those chances back."
Hector Santiago pitched six innings of one-run ball, and Kevin Jepsen and Joe Smith shut the Rangers down in the seventh and eighth to preserve a 2-1 lead. Street took the mound with an 0.80 ERA this season, while converting 33 of 34 saves, and had notched 12 scoreless innings since being acquired by the Angels on July 19.
Then he gave up four straight singles.
Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre ripped hard liners through the left side, putting runners on first and second with none out. Mike Carp dumped a single into shallow center field, tying the game. And Adam Rosales lined a slider well over Collin Cowgill's head in left to deny the Angels a sweep.
"It's always a strange feeling when you don't get your job done," Street said. "It's not really strange so much as it is frustrating, but it happens. It's the game; that's why we play them. I didn't make very good pitches out there. That's the bottom line."
Street was appearing in his third straight game for the first time since May 4-6, but said he "felt fine."
"For any closer it's tough, I'm sure, to pitch consecutive days in a row," said Rosales, whose Rangers snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Angels. "Our offense did great. Rios getting on -- it's contagious any time you see a guy hit a ball hard like that. You want to do the same thing."
The Angels will head to Boston having taken two of three, and they'll march forward with plenty of encouragement because of Santiago's start.
The 26-year-old left-hander was taken out of the rotation after starting the year 0-7, and was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake with a 4.82 ERA as of May 19. Since getting called back up on June 10, though, Santiago has a 2.59 ERA. And over his last five starts -- a winless stretch, strangely -- he has a 1.63 ERA.
With Tyler Skaggs out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and little help available in their Minor League system, this is the Santiago the Angels need.
Conger said the key for Santiago has been "just kind of toning everything down," and successfully making the transition from being a reliever who can "come in and just let it go" to a starter who needs to set himself up for success in multiple innings.
"He's made the adjustment," Conger said, "and the results have really been showing."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.