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OC Register: Angels struggle at the plate in split-squad sweep

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THE GAMES: The Angels dropped a pair of games Saturday for the second time in three days, and the third time this spring. They lost 5-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium, collecting just two hits. They also lost 11-4 to the Chicago Cubs at Sloane Park in Mesa. The Angels have had three split-squad days this spring, and they’ve lost all six games.

PITCHING REPORT: At Tempe, RHP Trevor Cahill gave up homers to the first two hitters of the game – Marcus Thames and Christian Yelich – but then did not allow another hit through his 3 1/3 innings. Cahill said he’s been working on his cutter. “I throw one good one and then 10 bad ones,” he said. “It’s just that  next step of using it in a game. I felt like on flat ground I had a pretty good idea how to use it and what it was doing, and then off the mound it was not as good. Then it was a little better in the bullpen, but still not in the game. I have that next gear. I have to figure out how to throw it with that next level of adrenaline.”… RHP Luke Bard retired all five batters he faced with four strikeouts. “He was outstanding,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. … RHPs Hansel Robles and Noé Ramírez each pitched scoreless innings. … In Mesa, RHP Griffin Canning gave up three runs in 1-2/3 innings, on 48 pitches. The Angels’ top pitching prospect pitched a perfect first inning, but then walked four in the second inning. Canning has allowed six runs in four innings this spring. … Much of the Cubs’ damage was against pitchers not expected break camp with the big league team. RHPs John Curtiss and Jake Jewell, who are competing for major league spots, each pitched an inning without allowing an earned run.

HITTING REPORT: At Tempe, Tommy La Stella and Roberto Peña had the only Angels’ hits, and Brennan Lund drove in the only run. … In Mesa, Justin Bour hit a first-inning homer, his second of the spring. … Taylor Ward had a triple. … Jose Rojas, up from minor league camp, had an RBI double in his only at-bat. A product of Anaheim High, Fullerton College and Vanguard University, Rojas is 9 for 21 with six extra-base hits this spring.

DEFENSE REPORT: At Tempe, CF Torii Hunter Jr. made a nice diving catch. “He can cover some ground,” Ausmus said. “He’s got closing speed.” When Ausmus was asked if he suspected where Hunter got that, the manager quipped: “His mom.”

UP NEXT: Angels (LHP Tyler Skaggs) vs. Mariners (RHP Mike Leake), 1 p.m. PT, Tempe Diablo Stadium.

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