ANAHEIM: The cat did its part any way. In the fourth inning on Thurs day night (Friday in Manila) at Angel Stadium, a fluffy orange cat found its way on to the field and darted between the pitchers mound and the plate, a diversion that the cheering crowd clearly enjoyed.
Moments later, the Angels scored two runs to take the lead, seemingly planting the seeds for the birth of a Thing.
Except the Angels still lost, just as they had in the five previous games, falling, 12-10, to the St. Louis Cardinals and spoiling the work of the would-be Rally Cat.
Instead of a cute story, it was just another loss.
Although the Angels offense didn’t get stymied to the extent it had been in the first five games of the streak, the hitters couldn’t cover up the failures of the pitchers, most notably Jered Weaver.
The Angels gave up a season-high in runs, the ugly finish to a winless six-game homestand.
It was the first time the Angels lost six straight home games since June 2011.
That was so long ago that both Weaver and Wainwright were aces. Clearly, they are not any more, the latest evidence coming as they shared the mound on Thursday.
Weaver actually began the game by retiring the first 11 Cardinals hitters, his velocity peaking at a relatively robust 85 mph. He even struck out three batters in a row.
But it all ended for him quickly.
Matt Holliday hit a homer, the first of four consecutive hits that produced three runs and a 3-2 Cardinals lead.
In the fifth – just after the cat-aided rally gave the Angels a 5-3 lead — Weaver allowed hits to the first five hitters, including Matt Carpenter’s three-run blast and Holliday’s second dinger.
Weaver allowed a season-high in runs before trudging off the mound, down 8-5.
Still, the Angels were in the game because the offense, which had managed just eight runs in the previous five games, scored nearly that total in a three-inning span.
Including Kole Calhoun’s two-run single and Daniel Nava’s homer, the Angels scored seven runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The Angels trailed just 8-7 in the sixth, but the Cardinals padded the lead when the first four batters of the inning reached base. It took three relievers – Greg Mahle, Javy Guerra and Jose Alvarez – to find an out.
Before the game, Manager Mike Scioscia was philosophical about what it will take the shake the team out of its rut.
“We have to pour our hearts into every game and the results will be there,” he said. “Part of the process is worrying about that game and pouring everything into that game.”
Scioscia said a combination of little things will add up to victories eventually.
“If you do enough things well on the field all of the sudden that luck seems to appear,” he said. “You can talk about a lot of things. We haven’t done enough things on the field well, beginning with our rotation getting us to a certain point in the games on a consistent basis. On the offensive side we definitely haven’t pressured teams like we need to.”