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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Angels miss another opportunity as Francisco Lindor leads Indians to victory

Lindor's record-setting bomb continued Angels struggles
The Los Angeles Angels continue to miss out on golden opportunities to grab control of the final postseason spot in the American League.

In Anaheim, a two-run homer off the bat of Cleveland Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor was the pivotal blow as the Tribe knocked off the Halos by a 6-5 score.

The result was a third consecutive defeat for the Angels, the eighth loss in their last dozen games. It left them a game and a half behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for that final AL Wildcard spot.

The Twins were pounded 11-3 in the Bronx by the host New York Yankees, a third straight loss for Minnesota. With the win, the 'Magic Number' lowered to just 3 for the Yanks to clinch their own postseason berth.

"We're trying to go out there and get as many wins as possible so we can make it to the playoffs," said Angels second baseman Brandon Phillips per Maria Guardado for MLB.com. "But we have to do the key things in key situations to make that possible."

Phillips had a pair of doubles and scored a run to pace the LA attack. Both Justin Upton and C.J. Cron also chipped in with a pair of hits, Cron driving his 16th home run of the season out in the 5th inning.

The Angels produced eleven hits and walked twice on Wednesday, and left just six runners on base, which is not usually a lot. But their pitching was unable to contain the NL Central champion Indians in those key situations.

Cleveland banged out 13 hits against Angels pitchers, with five Indians hitters registering a two-hit game. Lindor's homer came in the 7th inning with the score tied at 2-2. 

It was the 31st home run of the season for the AL MVP candidate, setting a new MLB record for switch-hitting shortstops. He had shared that mark with Jimmy Rollins and Jose Valentin.

"I'm blessed to play this game day in and day out, and to be named along with all those great shortstops that have played the game. That's something special," said Lindor per MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "That's something that'll be there for, probably, one more year. Somebody will come in and do it."

The Angels remain just one game in back of the Twins in the all-important loss column in the standings. They'll wrap this series with the Indians with a late afternoon tilt on Thursday, then head out on the road for seven games, beginning with three tough ones at Houston this weekend.

Meanwhile the Twins, losers in five of their last six, begin a four-game long weekend series in Detroit on Thursday which begins their own seven-game road trip.

With Minnesota continuing to struggle as well, it was another lost opportunity for the Angels. They have just 11 games remaining in the regular season, and those chances are beginning to dwindle with each passing day.

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