- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The slumping Los Angeles Angels offense has hit a new low in a week full of them.

Jaime Garcia combined with two relievers on a four-hitter to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the Angels 5-2 on Wednesday night.

The Angels have lost five straight and nine of 11. The four hits were the fewest they’ve managed during the skid.

“We just need to keep fighting and sooner or later it will click,” said Albert Pujols, who is 2 for his last 21 at the plate. “You can’t get frustrated. We have a lot of at-bats left.”

Garcia (3-2) pitched seven innings, gave up the four hits and two unearned runs and struck out eight to win his second straight start.

He was dominant from the outset. The veteran left-hander retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced, sat down six of seven after C.J. Cron’s two-run home run in the fourth ended his no-bit bid, and pitched out of his lone jam with a pair of clutch strikeouts in the seventh.

With runners on second and third and one out in the seventh, Garcia struck out Johnny Giovatella and Shane Robinson swinging on offspeed pitches in the dirt to escape unscathed.

“In that situation right there I was trying to not to let any emotions get to me,” Garcia said. “I’ve had games in the past where I’ve tried to do too much, so I just tried to keep my emotions down and just worried about making one pitch.”

His Angels counterpart Matt Shoemaker (1-5), recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, got tagged for seven hits and four runs in four-plus innings, the second straight game an Angels starter failed to get out of the fifth inning.

The second inning was Shoemaker’s undoing.

Their first five Cardinals batters reached base in the frame, including RBI singles by Matt Adams and Kolten Wong to open the scoring. Alemdys Diaz and Matt Carpenter followed with consecutive sacrifice flies to make it 4-0.

“”That’s kind of been my trend this season: one bad inning,” Shoemaker said. “You eliminate that, and we might win 2-0, 2-1. So I’m just trying to find a way to stop that from happening.”

Cron notched the Angels’ first hit with his long homer to center in the fourth to cut the deficit in half, but Garcia held Los Angeles in check the rest of the way.

Rosenthal stifled an attempted Angels rally in the ninth to finish it. He walked Cron and Geovany Soto with two outs in to bring the tying run to the plate, but Giovatella flied out to left to end it.

“It’s frustrating, but we need to keep our head up,” Pujols said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and sooner or later hopefully it comes out.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tommy Pham (left oblique strain) entered the second week of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis but does not have a timetable for a return to the majors.

Angels: LF Craig Gentry (back strain) resumed baseball activities but does not have a timetable for his return.

ROSTER MOVES

The Angels acquired RHP Jhoulys Chacin from the Atlanta Braves earlier in the day in exchange for minor league LHP Adam McCreery.

Chacin, 28, was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts for the Braves. He will start for the Angels on Sunday.

The Angels also designated 1B Ji-Man Choi for assignment. Choi was 1 for 18 for the Angels after they picked him up in the Rule 5 draft last offseason.

WINNING THE CHALLENGE

The Cardinals successfully got a call overturned on a challenge in the fourth inning.

Mike Trout was originally ruled safe on an infield single, but the Cardinals challenged and a video review showed the shortstop Diaz’s one-hopper to first beat Trout barely.

Trout was ruled out upon review, giving the Cardinals their sixth successful challenge in nine attempts this season.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (2-3, 6.30) is unbeaten in his last three starts after dropping his first three decisions of the season.

Angels: RHP Jered Weaver (3-1, 4.72) goes for his first win of the month after a no-decision in his last start despite allowing only one earned run in six innings.

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