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Angels fall in the 10th inning to the A's

The bullpen fails to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning of a 5-4 defeat and now leads the league with eight losses and nine blown saves.

May 16, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu is congratulated after scoring on Howie Kendrick's two-run single in the seventh inning on Monday night against the A's in Oakland.
Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu is congratulated after scoring on… (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press )

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia was running down a list of the best young pitchers in the American League when a trend became apparent: most of the pitchers played for teams in the West Division.

"Our division has some arms that are terrific," he said. "Both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen, you've got power arms."

Many of those power arms pitch for either Scioscia's Angels or the Oakland Athletics, who squared off in the opener of a brief two-game showdown Monday ranked first and second in the league in earned-run average.

Neither staff distinguished itself, though, with the Angels' bullpen faring worst, allowing Oakland to rally twice in its last two at-bats to win, 5-4, in 10 innings.

The loss went to Fernando Rodney (2-2), who gave up two walks, a wild pitch and Mark Ellis' fielder's choice grounder that drove in the winning run.

An inning earlier, closer Jordan Walden blew a save for the third time in five tries when Coco Crisp singled with two outs, stole second base and scored the tying run on Daric Barton's single.

Taken together, the Angels' bullpen has blown a league-high nine saves, lost a league-high eight games and has given up either the winning or tying run in three of the team's last four games.

Monday they did both.

"Any time you lose a ballgame late, it's tough," Scioscia said. "We have to just find it."

Scioscia promised to start looking for it by focusing on Rodney and his troubles.

"We're going to get back to the drawing board," Scioscia said of Rodney, who started the season as the closer but lost that role after giving up 16 hits and 13 walks in 17 1/3 innings. Monday he missed the strike zone with 14 of his 25 pitches, including one that sailed all the way to the backstop.

"He's having some issues with, as much the walks, it's command and counts," Scioscia said. "He can't bring his best stuff into games and into counts because he's behind so much. We're going to have to make some adjustments. That's the bottom line."

Monday's bullpen meltdown cost Joel Pineiro his 100th career win, a milestone he clearly deserved after a strong seven-inning outing in which he scattered six hits.

The game was delayed an hour and 25 minutes by weather, then played in a steady rain anyway. But Pineiro got in trouble just once, when the A's bunched two hits around a hit batter, an intentional walk and an error to score three times in the fifth inning.

Oakland starter Brett Anderson, meanwhile, walked a tightrope most of the night, finally falling off in the sixth inning when the Angels loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Two of those runners came home on outs, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

When two of the first three runners reached base in the seventh, Anderson was done, but the Angels weren't, taking the lead on Kendrick's two-out, two-run single off Michael Wuertz.

An inning later Pineiro turned the game over to the bullpen and left-hander Scott Downs responded with a scoreless eighth to get the lead to Walden, who couldn't hold it, sending the Angels to extra innings for the 10th time in 42 games.

Maicer Izturis went three for four, scoring the run that briefly put the Angels in front while Erick Aybar went hitless in four at-bats, ending a career-high 13-game hitting streak.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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