ANAHEIM, Calif. — An eighth-inning meltdown by Luis Garcia resulted in a dubious bit of history for the Phillies, as the 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday set a new record for longest losing streak to one opponent in interleague play.
The Phillies dropped their 12th straight to the Angels, passing the previous mark held by the Pittsburgh Pirates (11 consecutive losses to the Oakland A’s from 2002-2013) and Seattle Mariners (11 consecutive losses to the Washington Nationals from 2005-2014).
It is also the Phillies’ longest losing streak to any one opponent since dropping 12 in a row against the Houston Astros from 2004-2005.
The Phillies have not defeated the Angels since June 9, 2003.
Andrelton Simmons gave the Angels the lead by scoring on a wild pitch that sailed well over catcher Cameron Rupp. Rupp made a nice recovery to get the ball off the backstop, but Garcia’s tag was not in time.
Garcia gave up an 11-pitch walk to Luis Valbuena to start the inning, and Simmons followed it up with a double. C.J. Cron grounded out, but it was enough for pinch-runner Cliff Pennington to tie the game at 4-4.
The bullpen blues squandered a sensational game by Nick Williams. Williams hit his fifth career homer in the second inning to cancel out Mike Trout’s two-run shot in the first despite the two-time American League MVP’s sensational defensive effort. Trout timed his jump at the wall perfectly, but the trajectory of the ball put it inches over his outstretched glove.
Freddy Galvis followed it up with a sharp base hit to right that drove in Hyun Soo Kim and Cesar Hernandez.
Odubel Herrera denied Martin Maldonado a two-run homer in the fourth inning. With a leaping grab, Herrera was able to do what Trout had barely missed out on earlier. The Angels were able to push one run across in the inning.
Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff gave up three runs on three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking four.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin noted before the game that Eickhoff has struggled with his curveball this season, and that observation proved to be prescient. It was a 77.8 mph, thigh-high curve that Trout parked in left-center between the bullpen and faux rock work.
But Eickhoff settled down. Getting Albert Pujols to strike out with two runners on to end the second inning helped the right-hander find a groove, and he gave up only one walk over his final five innings of work.
Parker Bridwell went five innings, giving up four runs on six hits. He had four strikeouts and three walks.
Edubray Ramos made his first appearance since being recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. The Angels put runners on the corners with two outs in the seventh inning, but Ramos got Pujols to hit a pop fly to right field that ended his outing without giving up a run.
Mackanin said on Tuesday before the start of the three-game series that closer Hector Neris made him nervous with his penchant for getting into trouble, but it was Garcia (1-2, 2.49) who left the skipper in shock.
Yusmeiro Petit (3-0, 2.44) got the win for his one inning in relief, while Bud Norris picked up his 17th save.
At the plate
Williams added doubles in the sixth and eighth innings. The promising 23-year-old ended the evening 3 for 4 in his first-ever start as a designated hitter. Making just his 27th career appearance in the major leagues, Williams has nine multi-hit games.
Hernandez extended his hitting streak to eight games, and has reached base in 15 of his last 16 games since coming off the disabled list. Hernandez is hitting .412 (14 for 34) during the streak.
Kim went 1 for 3 and has reached base in seven of 16 plate appearances since joining the Phillies.
In the field
Andrew Knapp left the game in the second inning after he was hit in the right hand by a foul tip. Knapp was examined by a trainer and tried a couple of soft tosses before departing.
Rupp replaced Knapp at catcher.
The injury was officially termed a contusion.
Shortly after the game, the Phillies optioned right-handed starter Jake Thompson to Triple A Lehigh Valley. A corresponding roster move will be made Friday.
The Phillies’ eight-game road trip continues against the Colorado Rockies, who took three of four earlier this season in Philadelphia. Stopping the Rockies’ offense was a challenge before it could benefit from the thin air in Denver, as Colorado scored 24 runs in the late-May series.
Here are the probable pitching matchups:
Friday — Vince Velasquez (2-6, 4.91) vs. Kyle Freeland (11-7, 3.71)
Saturday — Nick Pivetta (4-6, 5.42) vs. Jon Gray (3-2, 5.52)
Sunday — Aaron Nola (8-7, 3.16) vs. Jeff Hoffman (3-2, 5.38)
Friday’s game starts at 8:40 p.m., Saturday’s at 8:10 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee finale is at 3:10 p.m.