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Angels split close games against the A's

After Jered Weaver wins his sixth consecutive decision in a 4-2 victory in the opener, Oakland scores with two outs in the 10th inning for a 4-3 triumph.

July 17, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo (6) is chased by A's second baseman Jemile Weeks during a rundown between second and third bases in the sixth inning of their first game on Saturday. Callaspo was eventually tagged out.
Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo (6) is chased by A's second… (Kevin Bartram / Reuters )

Reporting from Oakland -- It wasn't so much the Scott Sizemore walk-off single that gave the Oakland Athletics a 4-3, 10-inning victory and a doubleheader split that fried Angels Manager Mike Scioscia on Saturday.

It was reliever Rich Thompson's leadoff walk to Josh Willingham that brought Scioscia to the Oakland Coliseum mound, where a stern and rather one-sided conversation took place.

"I told Rich he has to trust his stuff and make pitches in the zone," Scioscia said after seven hours of baseball produced a 4-2 Angels victory in the first game and a gut-wrenching loss in the second.

"His Achilles' heel has been getting behind the count and walking guys. He doesn't have the same confidence he did early in the season, and if he regains it, he's going to pitch well."

After the walk, pinch-runner Cliff Pennington took second on David DeJesus' sacrifice bunt. Conor Jackson grounded to third for the second out, and Landon Powell walked. Sizemore then lined a hit to the gap in right-center to give the A's the win.

Afterward, the combination of frustration and exhaustion was clearly evident in a quiet Angels clubhouse, especially at the locker of 36-year-old right fielder Torii Hunter, who was hitless in eight at-bats on the day.

"It was a tough loss — we battled, battled, and couldn't get any more hits," Hunter said. "Me going 0 for 8 didn't help the team."

Considering the Angels had 11 hits and struck out 21 times in the two games, "we were fortunate to get a split," Scioscia said. "We didn't hit the ball very well all afternoon."

The Angels scored their runs in the second game on homers, Mark Trumbo's two-run shot in the second, his team-leading 18th, and Vernon Wells' solo shot in the sixth, his 10th in 27 games.

The A's scored twice in the fourth when they bunched four singles off Ervin Santana, including RBI hits by DeJesus and Powell, and once in the fifth on a walk, a Santana error and Coco Crisp's RBI groundout.

Oakland threatened in the seventh, putting runners on second and third with one out, but left-hander Hisanori Takahashi struck out Ryan Sweeney and DeJesus.

Takahashi added a hitless eighth and ninth to send the game into extra innings, but the Angels couldn't pull it out for a sweep.

"Both teams were tired, both teams were feeling the same way, but that's no excuse," Hunter said. "Oakland came through."

Jered Weaver (12-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in 62/3 innings to win the first game, but the right-hander did not feel as good as he looked, at least early on.

Weaver, who leads the major leagues with a 1.90 earned-run average, threw a scoreless inning in Tuesday's All-Star game, but it had been nine days since he pitched for the Angels on July 7.

"The first inning was awkward — it felt like I had a month off," said Weaver, who didn't give up a hit until the fifth. "It felt like a spring training game for a while."

Weaver's teammates were up to speed. Erick Aybar raced from first to third on Hunter's first-inning groundout to shortstop and scored on Bobby Abreu's single. He lined his seventh homer of the season to right field in the seventh to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

Aybar also helped snuff out a potential A's rally in the fifth, taking a throw from Wells on Kurt Suzuki's fifth-inning double to left and throwing a strike home that beat DeJesus by about 12 feet.

DeJesus, trying to score from first, was an easy out for catcher Jeff Mathis, who applied the tag to preserve a 1-0 lead.

"That was big," Weaver said. "Vernon got the ball in quick, and Aybar made an accurate throw. I was happy to see their thirdbase coach wave him around because I felt like we had a good shot at him."

The A's scored twice in the seventh on Suzuki's sacrifice fly and Jemile Weeks' RBI single.

The Angels added one more run on Abreu's RBI single in the ninth, and closer Jordan Walden threw a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.

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