ANAHEIM — The first two games after the much-anticipated return of Mike Trout have not exactly gone as the Angels had hoped.
Other than two homers by slumping Luis Valbuena, little went right for the Angels in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night, their second straight loss with Trout back in the lineup.
The Angels (45-49) dropped four games under .500, equaling a season worst, for the first time since they were 8-12 on April 23.
The Angels’ offensive malaise, which plagued the team during the last couple weeks of Trout’s absence, has not subsided in his presence. In the first two games after the All-Star break, the Angels have scored four runs and they have 13 hits, including three by Trout.
On Saturday night, the Angels didn’t score against Rays starter Alex Cobb until Valbuena’s solo homer in the seventh, after they trailed by five runs.
Their most promising rally was in the second, when Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar led off with back-to-back singles. Andrelton Simmons struck out and Valbuena hit into a double play.
In the fourth, after Trout singled, Pujols hit a drive that was caught at the warning track in right. Escobar then belted one to left, but Shane Peterson leapt at the fence and hauled it in.
In the sixth, Pujols grounded out to strand two more runners. He grounded out to leave two in the eighth also.
The Angels were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, a night after going hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Offense wasn’t the only issue. Starter JC Ramirez gave up four runs in six innings. It was a setback after his encouraging six scoreless innings in his last outing before the All-Star break.
Ramirez had only one clean inning against the Rays. In the first, he struck out the final two to strand two runners, but he couldn’t escape any of the next three innings without damage.
The Rays nicked him for a run in the second, two on a Logan Morrison homer in the third and one more in the fourth….