Angels New Closer Can't, Um, Close In Loss

This past offseason, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim decided not to pay the ridiculously big money to keep record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez, instead paying less to get a good closer in Brian Fuentes.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Fuentes gave up three runs in the ninth and the Angels went from up 4-0 after seven to losing 6-4.

That wasted a brilliant effort by rookie Nick Adenhart, who pitched six scoreless innings. It wasn’t always pretty, he had to work out of two bases-loaded jams and needed a double play ball in the fourth inning to get out of runners on the corners with one out. But, when Adenhart needed to make a big pitch and get an out, he did.

The wheels started to come off in the eighth against Angels set up man Scot Shields. With runners on the corners and one out, Shields induced a ground ball to Chone Figgins at third, who threw it home but catcher Mike Napoli dropped the ball when making the tag and one run scored. With two on and two out, Ryan Sweeney singled off Shields to make it 4-3 Angels.

Fuentes still had a one-run lead when he entered the game in the ninth. He even had two outs and pinch-runner Bobby Crosby on first (after a leadoff walk). That’s when Kurt Suzuki’s full swing left a bunt-like trickler up the right side that neither Fuentes or Naploi could field. Nomar Garciaparra next hit a ball sharply to left field and Gary Mathews Jr. went for the safe rather than spectacular play, let the single fall and that tied the score at 4-4.

Then Mark Ellis hit an infield single deep in the hole that scored another run. Matt Holliday topped it all off with a single that scored Garciaparra and the A’s held on for their second win in three nights against the Angels.

Fuentes is a good closer. This kind of performance will not be the norm. But it also will happen more than it did with K-Rod.

The Angels scored three of their runs in the fourth inning and Bobby Abreu’s sacrifice fly added a fourth run in the seventh inning. But that was not enough.

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