ANAHEIM -- Through the first two innings, everything looked OK for Wade LeBlanc.
He was throwing strikes, coaxing ground balls, and most importantly, keeping the Marlins off the scoreboard. But then the strikes turned into balls, the ground balls into base hits, the bloopers into singles -- and they all turned into runs.
Miami scored three runs in the third and four in the fourth to grab a commanding lead and cruise to a 7-1 victory over the Angels on Monday night at Angel Stadium. With the A's win earlier, the Halos fell into a tie for first place in the American League West.
"They did a good job making adjustments on what they saw the first time through, and obviously, I didn't," LeBlanc said. "I knew the adjustments I needed to make and I just didn't execute them.
"I didn't give this team much of a chance at all."
In place of injured ace Garrett Richards, LeBlanc lasted just 3 1/3 innings, surrendering six runs while serving up seven hits and three walks. It was his first Major League start in 15 months, and his shortest in over three years.
"I thought Wade started out OK, but I think he just got away from some of the things that he does well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "All in all, I don't think Wade got comfortable out there and really used some of his strengths the way he could have, and it ended up costing him."
This was not the LeBlanc that the Angels had seen in Triple-A Salt Lake (two runs allowed in his last 13 innings), nor was it the LeBlanc they needed to eat up innings as the fifth starter.
Instead, they got the pitcher who had as many baserunners as outs (10), and one who now sports a 10.13 ERA in three Major League outings this season.
They got the LeBlanc whose next start is now in doubt.
"If they think that I'm the most qualified to give them another start, another shot to win, I'd be more than grateful and work my butt off for them, but it's out of my hands," LeBlanc said.
Scioscia, however, was noncommittal about LeBlanc's future, opting to "get through tomorrow" rather than project the lefty's next start.
"Anytime you're making a decision, you're looking at your options, and Wade had been pitching really well in Triple-A and had a rough start tonight," Scioscia said. "You're always looking at your options, but we'll see how things turn out. We're not looking to the next start, we're looking towards tomorrow, because we have a lot of guys that have been pitching and didn't quite get the length today."
LeBlanc became just the Angels' seventh different starting pitcher this season, but his potential role at the back end of the rotation could be critical as the Angels battle the A's down the stretch.
"You can't worry about tomorrow," LeBlanc said. "If you worry about tomorrow, you're not able to do your job."
The Marlins made sure LeBlanc couldn't worry about tomorrow.
In the third, Miami used RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Casey McGehee sandwiched around Marcell Ozuna's sacrifice fly to deep right to open up a 3-0 lead. LeBlanc stranded two Marlins by striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning.
One frame later, though, the lefty couldn't escape. Donovan Solano doubled with one out, and Reed Johnson and Yelich followed with singles to extend Miami's lead to four and chase LeBlanc from the game.
After Cory Rasmus struck out Jeff Baker, Giancarlo Stanton delivered the knockout punch, sending a 94-mph fastball zooming toward the rocks in left-center to give the Marlins a seven-run cushion.
Stanton's 33rd home run of the season made a comeback even tougher, especially with the way Marlins starter Jarred Cosart was pitching.
Cosart made easy work of the high-powered Angels offense, throwing 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and yielding seven hits (three from Erick Aybar) while striking out four. Cosart had gone 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in two starts vs. the Angels earlier this season as a member of the Astros.
"We've faced him a couple of times, but never did he pound the zone like he did tonight," Scioscia said. "He was in the zone early and often."
The Angels didn't have a runner reach second base until the eighth inning, when the Marlins had already gone 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded four men on second and third.
Kole Calhoun's double in the eighth drove in Collin Cowgill to break up the shutout.