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OC Register: Angels still come up short of .500 after road loss to Rays


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    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning gives up a home run to Tampa Bay Rays Tommy Pham, behind left, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani hits a single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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  • Angels-Rays-Baseball-24.jpg

    Tampa Bay Rays’ Austin Meadows, left, is tagged out at home by Los Angeles Angels catcher Mike Zunino during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning works from the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Tampa Bay Rays Tommy Pham celebrates in the dug out after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning works from the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Los Angeles Angels Tommy La Stella heads to the. Dugout after scoring against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Tampa Bay Rays Ryne Stanek (55) works from the mound against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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    Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning waits for the ball after giving up a home run to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 16, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Angels flirtation with .500 continues.

The Angels lost 6-5 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, failing for the seventh time to even their record since the last time they were .500.

The Angels were 8-8 after a loss on April 15. Since then their record has been one-under seven times, and each time they lost the next game. Six of those have come since May 11. They are now 35-37.

In order to break through this time, they would have needed to take three of four from a Rays team that has spent the season in first or second place in the tough American League East.

Instead, they settled for a split, on their way to play four games in Toronto, with Justin Upton active for the first time this season.

As the Angels lineup continues to get deeper, they’ll need the pitching staff to improve.

Griffin Canning has been their most consistent starter since he arrived six weeks ago. Even without his best stuff on Sunday afternoon, he got through six innings and gave the Angels a chance to win. He allowed four runs, leaving with a one-run deficit.

Canning gave up a homer to Brandon Lowe on a 3-and-0 pitch in the first inning. In the second, the Rays scored two more after a single by Yandy Diaz, a triple by Kevin Kiermaier and a run-scoring foul popup.

Brian Goodwin helped Canning escape the third. Austin Meadows tripled and tried to score on a Tommy Pham fly ball to right, but Goodwin made the catch with his momentum going toward the plate and then unleashed a perfect throw, easily nailing Meadows.

Pham then blasted a solo homer in the fifth on fastball over the inside corner, putting the Rays up 4-3.

The Angels had missed opportunities to score more throughout the game.

In the first, they loaded the bases with no outs, but scored only on an Albert Pujols sacrifice fly. Cesar Puello hit into a double play. They left two on in the second, third and fifth innings.

In the eighth, the Angels had runners at first and second with one out when Jonathan Lucroy hit a ball 105 mph up the middle, but it hit the mound and hopped to shortstop Joey Wendle, who started an inning-ending double play.

Taylor Cole then gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth, which proved to be critical after Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

More to come on this story.

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