ANAHEIM -- The stage was set, but the stars bungled their lines.
Trailing by two runs in the eighth inning Monday night, the Angels had their two most powerful hitters coming to the plate with runners on second and third and just one out.
But with the crowd chanting, "Pujols! Pujols", Albert Pujols hit a weak grounder back to the pitcher and Mark Trumbo struck out for the fourth time in the game as the Angels lost 8-6 to the Seattle Mariners.
Mr. Dynamo. Mike Trout has been working in a vacuum lately as the only hitter in this lineup consistently generating action. The rookie had only one sharply hit ball all night, but with his speed, he doesn't always have to crush it to get on base. Trout dropped a perfect bunt for a hit and blooped a couple to right, one of them for a hustle double, before smacking an RBI single to left. For the last few weeks, he has been the Angels' best player.
Second Dimension. It's not really fair to say Kendrys Morales hasn't shown any right-handed power this season, because he hasn't been given many chances. Entering Monday, the switch hitter had 154 at-bats from the left side and 28 from the right. But if he keeps doing what he did Monday, when he had the first multi-home run game of this Angels season (both hitting right-handed), that will change. Morales was batting .250 right-handed coming into the game.
Pride of place. It wasn't exactly dominant work from reliever Hisanori Takahashi, but he soaked up some innings in a game the Angels were unlikely to win. Plus, he got Japanese icon Ichiro Suzuki out twice, once by strikeout. Before Takahashi came to the Angels last year, the two had faced each other only in Japan. In 2000, Takahashi pitched for the Yomiuri Giants and Suzuki was with the Orix Blue Wave.
Swervin' Ervin. For a while, run support was the reason Ervin Santana couldn't get a win. Now, it's all him. Santana combined his usual bugaboo -- the home run -- with an occasional visitor -- walks -- in his shortest start of the year, just 4 2/3 innings. Santana heard plenty of boos when Mike Scioscia came out to get the ball. He walked six batters and gave up a mammoth home run to Kyle Seager. That was the 16th Santana has given up this season, most in the majors.
Newly slumping. For the first time this season, Trumbo is swinging at balls well outside the strike zone, part of the reason he has joined the long list of cold Angels hitters. Trumbo, who leads the Angels in virtually every offensive category, went down swinging four times and is now one for his last 16 with seven strikeouts.
Extensive risk. When Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar signed their four-year contract extensions recently, both were generally viewed as team-friendly deals. Kendrick got $33.5 million and Aybar got $35 million. Now, that's looking like a lot of money for two hitters generating scant offense. Aybar (.222) has been in a season-long funk and Kendrick (team-high 46 strikeouts) hasn't looked like himself for a month.