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OC Register: Jose Suarez struggles again in Angels’ sloppy loss to Pirates


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  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-11.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, hits a ground out to second, with Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings, center, and umpire Jeff Nelson, left, watching during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-12.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Max Stassi hits an RBI sacrifice fly to center field during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-10.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton scores between Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings, left, and starting pitcher Mitch Keller on sacrifice fly by Max Stassi during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-9.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starling Marte, right, steals second base as the late throw reaches Los Angeles Angels shortstop Wilfredo Tovar during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-8.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kevin Newman gets congratulations from teammates after hitting a solo home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-7.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pablo Reyes scores without a throw to Los Angeles Angels catcher Max Stassi, left, on a two-RBI double by Jacob Stallings during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-6.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jacob Stallings hits a two-RBI double to score Pablo Reyes and Melky Cabrera during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-5.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Melky Cabrera, left, congratulates Pablo Reyes after they score without a throw to the plate on a two-RBI double by Jacob Stallings, as Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Suarez, right, looks away during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-4.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, strikes out as Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings holds onto the ball during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-3.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller throws to a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-2.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Josh Bell, right, gets congratulations from Pablo Reyes, scoring on a throwing error by Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-1-1.jpg

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kevin Newman, right, slides into third safely beating the throw from the outfield to Los Angeles Angels third baseman Matt Thaiss on a single by Starling Marte during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Pirates-Angels-Baseball-13.jpg

    Angels starting pitcher Jose Suarez throws to a Pittsburgh Pirates batter during the first inning of a game in Anaheim Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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ANAHEIM – Jose Suarez was the winning pitcher in his major league debut June 2 in Seattle. He beat the Tampa Bay Rays 13 days later.

Since then, Suarez has made eight starts for the Angels and seen his earned-run average rise from 4.50 to 6.57. His third victory remains elusive.

Monday, Suarez suffered the shortest start of his young career in a 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 21-year-old left-hander was roughed up for seven hits and six runs – four earned – in only three innings. Three mindless errors in the field did nothing to help Suarez, who was removed with a 6-0 deficit.

With each start, Suarez presents the Angels with a clash of conflicting priorities. Excluding one-inning relief pitchers who preceded a long reliever, the Angels have cycled through 12 starters as their season has slipped away. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that Suarez is one of their five best options to remain in the rotation. Yet he is also of an age typically reserved for developing prospects to hone their craft in the minor leagues.

As the losses pile up on Suarez’s ledger, the urgency of the conflict grows. Does his short-term benefit to the Angels outweigh the long-term benefit of letting Suarez develop in a lower-pressure situation, shielded from the best hitters in the world?

“I don’t know if he’d be better off in the Pacific Coast League, quite frankly,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Balls are flying out there faster than they’re flying out here. But it is out of necessity. The big league club is the club that’s supposed to win games.

“Ideally would (Suarez, along with fellow rookies Patrick Sandoval and Griffin Canning) be in the minor leagues getting more experience? Possibly, but this is where we’re at and they’re here, so we’ve got to find a way to win with them. And in the process they get experience.”

Finding a way to win Monday was a task too tall.

Three of the Pirates’ first four hitters hit singles against Suarez, scoring their first run. A fielding error by third baseman Matt Thaiss – he charged a routine ground ball, only to watch it deflect off the heel of his glove – loaded the bases.

Suarez got the ground ball he needed from Melky Cabrera, but Angels first baseman Albert Pujols bounced his throw to home plate. The ball skipped past catcher Max Stassi and two runs scored on the throwing error.

Rookie second baseman Kevin Newman led off the second inning with a solo home run, his seventh of the season, giving Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead. Two more singles, followed by a two-run double by Jacob Stallings, brought the score to 6-0 in the third inning. The Angels were in a deep hole, and rookie reliever Jose Rodriguez was summoned from the bullpen.

Rodriguez and relievers Luis Garcia and JC Ramirez fared marginally better than Suarez.

Rodriguez allowed solo home runs to Stallings, Bryan Reynolds and Josh Bell. He was charged with three runs in four innings. Garcia tossed a scoreless eighth. Ramirez allowed doubles to Marte and Jose Osuna in the ninth, giving the Pirates their final run.

In his fourth career start, rookie right-hander Mitch Keller finally lived up to his billing as one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects. He allowed five hits and two runs in five innings.

The Angels loaded the bases in the fourth inning and scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by Stassi. Kole Calhoun singled and scored on an error in the fifth inning.

The loss snapped a modest two-game winning streak for the Angels (58-62) before an announced crowd of 33,527 at Angel Stadium. Calhoun and Luis Rengifo each had two of the Angels’ nine hits.

More to come on this report.

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