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Angels are day to day after 6-5 loss to A's

August 28, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

A 6-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics, in which they nearly came back from an early six-run deficit, was the least of the Angels' concerns Wednesday night.

The Angels played the game without third baseman and leadoff batter Chone Figgins, who injured his left big toe in a rundown Tuesday night.

Second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is batting .308, left in the fourth inning because of a tight left hamstring, the same one he strained in April, an injury that forced him to miss six weeks.

Then shortstop Erick Aybar left in the top of the ninth because of a tight left hamstring, leaving the Angels' bench so thin that outfielder Juan Rivera played second base -- for the first time in his career.

On the bright side, first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had three hits and a run batted in, appeared to escape unscathed.

Though the injuries don't appear serious, they could have the Angels' front office scurrying for reinforcements from triple-A Salt Lake today.

"We're worried about all three of those guys," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Figgy was really hobbling around today, so that's a concern. Aybar is as tough as they come, so for him to come out, it has to be an issue. And Howie re-injured the same hamstring, so you have to be concerned about that."

The Angels may also need some pitching help after left-hander Joe Saunders put them in a huge early hole, giving up six runs and eight hits in 1 1/3 innings, by far his worst start of the season.

That forced the Angels to use long man Shane Loux for three innings, left-hander Darren Oliver for 1 1/3 innings and right-hander Jose Arredondo for two innings.

Saunders (14-7) took a Rajai Davis grounder off the ring finger of his pitching hand to open the game, "one of those stupid reaction plays pitchers do," he said, but that isn't why he struggled.

"What affected me was not getting ahead of guys and throwing strikes," said Saunders, who has yielded 12 earned runs and 17 hits in 6 2/3 innings of his last two starts and gave up Bobby Crosby's two-run double and Emil Brown's two-run homer during a five-run second inning Wednesday night.

"I'm in a funk, and I've got to start making adjustments. I'm a better pitcher than this. It's not a good feeling to let the team down and make the bullpen work their tails off to keep us in the game."

Some stout relief work gave the Angels a chance to come back, and they rallied in the fourth inning, which featured Garret Anderson's leadoff triple, Aybar's two-run single, Kendrick's RBI fielder's choice grounder and Teixeira's RBI single.

But as Kendrick slowed around second on Teixeira's hit, he tweaked his hamstring and was removed. He and Aybar were listed as day to day.

The Angels pulled to within 6-5 in the fifth when Mike Napoli walked with one out, Robb Quinlan singled and Aybar hit an RBI single to left.

The Angels threatened again in the sixth when Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero led off with singles, but Torii Hunter struck out for the third time, Anderson flied to center, and right-hander Huston Street whiffed Napoli for the third out.

Street and closer Brad Ziegler blanked the Angels over the final three innings, with Ziegler getting Rivera to bounce into a game-ending double play.

The Angels also played the final three innings without Scioscia, who was ejected by home-plate umpire Paul Schreiber during a pitching change in the seventh.

Scioscia was still fuming over a questionable call in the second, when Schreiber punched out Aybar on strikes on a shin-high fastball with the bases loaded and one out.

"Paul is a good ump," Scioscia said. "I just thought he missed that pitch on Aybar."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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