Porcello better, but it's still another loss

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ANAHEIM -- Rick Porcello's first start in the second half wasn't as horrible as many of the ones he had in the first half. But neither was it as good as the last one he had before the break.

And, with no offensive backing from his teamamtes, it wasn't nearly enough on Saturday night as Porcello drew the loss in a 3-0 shutout by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Porcello (5-10) allowed an unearned run in the second, though he was hardly blameless there with two walks and a wild pitch which enabled the run to cross the plate.

He later was tagged for two solo homers by Kole Calhoun. He needed 102 pitches to record just 15 outs.

Twice, Porcello fell behind Calhoun. One homer came on a 2-and-0 pitch and another on a 3-and-1 offering. And with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols behind him, the last thing Porcello wanted to do was walk Calhoun and provide run-producing opportunities for the two hitters who follow him in the Angels lineup.

"I was hoping to execute some sinkers down-and-away,'' said Porcello, "and get a rollover into the shift and he took good swings on both pitches.''

"A lot of deep counts, a lot of pitches thrown,'' summarized John Farrell, "and a slower pace than we've seen from him. We gave them that run [in the second] and then it was two swings of the bat from Cole Kalhoun. Still, on a night when you're not scoring, those loom large.''

If there was a positive for Porcello, it was that he didn't suffer any big innings.

"They got some leadoff runners on, but he was able to manage it,'' said Farrell. "In the situations when he's had men in scoring position, he's done a much better job. WHen he's missed, he's missed to the extreme rather than the middle of the plate. That's a major step forward. He's got to continue in that direction.''

"We were in some tough spots tonight,'' Porcello said, ''and we were able to pitch out of it and limit the damage and keep us in the game. So, to me, that's the biggest emphasis going forward is limiting those big innings and we
were able to do that tonight.''

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