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A's get to Dan Haren early in a 6-1 victory over Angels

Haren gives up two homers to David DeJesus and fails to win for the seventh start in a row. Angels are held in check by Guillermo Moscoso, who goes six innings in his first major league start.

May 24, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna

He has been as dependable as a Swiss watch, delivering one quality start after another, but Tuesday night Dan Haren was more like a Timex — he took a licking and kept on ticking.

The Angels' right-hander went seven innings, equaling the average length of his first 10 starts, but unlike those previous games, Haren did not give his team a chance to win.

The Oakland Athletics scored five runs in the first four innings, three of them on a pair of David DeJesus home runs, and cruised to a 6-1 victory at Angel Stadium.

Guillermo Moscoso, in his first big league start after being called up from triple A, gave up three hits in six shutout innings, and Josh Willingham added a two-run double in the third, as the A's ended a six-game losing streak.

Haren (4-3) is winless in his last seven starts, a lack of run support the culprit in most of those games but not Tuesday night.

"Dan's not going to be on every pitch, every night," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "They hit some balls with guys in scoring position and got a good lead. Dan settled down and put some zeroes up, but we couldn't get anything going offensively."

Haren ranked fourth in the American League in earned-run average (1.84) and fifth in strikeouts (66) entering the game, and he gave up only three homers in his first 10 starts.

The A's hit .200 with one home run and 10 runs during their losing streak, and they entered with 25 homers, the fewest in baseball.

But they showed plenty of muscle Tuesday, DeJesus ripping a solo homer to right on a full-count fastball in the second and a two-run shot to center on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth.

DeJesus entered with two home runs on the season — both in a May 4 game against Cleveland — and a .111 average (two for 18) and no homers against Haren.

"The first homer, it was a 3-2 count with no one on, and I wanted to challenge him," Haren said. "The next one he ambushed me on the first pitch.

"Oakland is a tricky team. Sometimes they're aggressive, sometimes they're not. Obviously, DeJesus was seeing the ball pretty good. … I had his number for a long time, but he got the best of me today."

Despite a 2.24 ERA on the season, Haren has not won since April 17. Jered Weaver has not won since April 25.

"The bottom line is, the least thing a pitcher can control is a win or a loss," Scioscia said. "You can control your innings by being pitch-efficient and making pitches, you can minimize damage and give length, and if you're not getting support in the field and at the plate, you're not going to control that win or a loss."

The win should ease some tension in an A's clubhouse that was filled with friction after Monday night's 4-1 loss to the Angels.

After Oakland reliever Brian Fuentes suffered his fourth loss in as many appearances, the left-hander criticized Manager Bob Geren's "unorthodox managing," the former Angels closer adding that he has "zero" communication with Geren.

Fuentes, who is 1-7 with a 5.06 ERA, apologized Tuesday, not for what he said but for airing his beefs to reporters.

Geren and Fuentes then cleared the air in a pregame conversation in which the manager informed Fuentes that Grant Balfour would be his closer for now.

"I gave him my thoughts, he gave me his thoughts," Geren said. "Everything's good. We shook hands. Everything's fine."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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