Jaso’s Pinch-Hit Heroics Continue A’s Dominance in Anaheim

By Matthew Harrington

Jesse Chavez once again produced a quality start, his third of the season, Monday night in Anaheim, but yet again the converted reliever-turned-starter headed off to the showers without a chance at being named the winning pitcher. Just like his previous two starts, Chavez’ offense rallied in its last at-bat to give the Athletics (9-4) a win. The A’s, owners of the best record in the American League, triumphed in their starter’s previous two efforts in extra innings.

Backed by a pinch-hit, two-run home run by John Jaso in the top of the ninth inning, Oakland stole a 3-2 come-from-behind victory to open up a three-game series against the Angels (6-7)at Angel Stadium. Yoenis Cespedes also homered, deposed closer Jim Johnson (1-2, 9.95 ERA) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his first win in green and gold and Luke Gregerson’s one-two-three ninth-inning save closed the door.

Chavez struggled in the bottom of the first, surrendering a two-strike single to leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun. The lefty caught phenom Mike Trout watching a nasty curveball for strike three, but Calhoun had already advanced to second when miscommunication between catcher Derek Norris and Chavez resulting in a passed ball earlier in the at-bat. Albert Pujols laced a single through the left side to plate Calhoun for a 1-0 lead.

Chavez cruised through the rest of his appearance, pitching seven innings, surrendering four hits and only one earned run on nine strikeouts. The lone earned run came off the bat of Pujols who crushed a homer to center field in the third inning, his 496th long ball of his career. Pujols now moves into lone possession of 26th place on the all-time long fly list.

Angels starter Hector Santiago countered Chavez, pitching seven innings of one-run ball with five hits and three punch-outs. Cespedes’ third homer, a solo shot to right center to make it 2-1 Angels in the fourth inning proved the lone blemish to Santiago’s ERA. The A’s outfielder now has home runs in consecutive games after going yard off Charlie Furbush in the A’s 3-0 win in Seattle Sunday.

The Halos Joe Smith and Oakland’s Johnson pitched scoreless eighths for their respective clubs, opening the door for Jaso’s fireworks in the ninth. Josh Donaldson, owner of a now eight game hitting streak, welcomed Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to the top of the ninth with a single. Cespedes then hit a deep fly out to center for the first out on a 2-2 count. Cespedes had asked for time from home plate Tim Welke, but was denied his request on the pitch. A’s manager Bob Melvin then called on Jaso to pinch hit for Norris after the backstop went 0-for-3 against Santiago.

Last season, Oakland finished dead last in batting average for pinch hitters with 20 hits in 139 substitute at-bats. Jaso entered Monday hitting .200 as a pinch hitter with a lone home run. He turned on a 1-2 offering from Frieri and deposited deep in the right field bleachers to put the A’s ahead 3-2. With Frieri (0-1, 6.75 ERA) lifted after his first blown save of the season, Jose Alvarez finished off the final two-thirds of the ninth.

Melvin tabbed Gregerson to be the closer-by-committee candidate Monday evening, and the right-hander reward his manager with a perfect inning. Gregerson produced ground outs by Ibanez and Howie Kendrick, the latter of which came on a bang-bang play challenged by Angels Manager Mike Scoscia but upheld after replay proved inconclusive to overturn the out call on the field. Gregerson coaxed a fly out from former World Series MVP (then with the St. Louis Cardinals)David Freese to notch his second save of the campaign and pick up the A’s 14th win in their last 20 games at Angel Stadium.

Oakland and Los Angeles faceoff in game two of the three-game set Tuesday night, with Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA) tabbed by Melvin to take the slab. He’ll be countered by Garret Richards (2-0, 0.75 ERA) who enters play Tuesday with only one earned run allowed over 12 innings.

The Angels trounce the A’s

By Jerry Feitelberg

It was just one of those nights. The Los Angeles Angels pounded the A’s 12-1. The Angels snapped the A’s five game winning streak behind C.J. Wilson’s pitching. Wilson is at the top of his game as he has now 9-0 in his last 13 starts and is 13-1 since June 14th. He won his seventeenth game of the year going seven innings allowing just one run and giving up just four hits. The Angels supported his effort as they scored twelve times and banged out fifteen hits including two monster home runs.

The A’s Jarrod Parker saw his streak of nineteen consecutive starts without a loss come to an end. Parker’s record is now 11-7. There were no bright spots for the A’s in the game. The only good news was that the Texas Rangers lost and the A’s magic number to clinch the AL West title is now at seven.

Any combination of A’s wins and/or Texas losses will give the A’s the crown for the second year in a row. The game summary follows.

Jarrod Parker got off to a rough start in the first inning. He walked the leadoff hitter on four straight balls. He retired the next two hitters but gave up a single to Josh Hamilton, a double to Mark Trumbo and a another single  to rookie Kole Calhoun that allowed the Angels to get an early 2-0 lead.

The Angels picked up an unearned run in the third inning. With one out and one on, Josh Hamilton hit a sharp line drive to Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo took his eye off the ball and it bounced into center  to put men on at first and third with one out.  The Angels scored on the next play when Mark Trumbo hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed the runner from third to score. Angels lead 3-0.

The Angels sent Parker to the showers in the top of fifth. The Angels scored three runs as Parker gave up four hits and walked a batter before Bob Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to pitch. Angels now lead 6-0 with men on at first and second with one out. Blevins retired the first batter he faced but the Angels banged out two more hits and scored two more runs before Blevins got the final out of the inning.

The Angels sent ten men to the plate and scored five runs on six hits.  Parker allowed eight runs(one unearned) as he exited the game after just 4 1/3rd inning of work.

The A’s scored a run in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson walked  Josh Donaldson with one out. That was followed by two singles and the A’s now trail 8-1.

The Angels continue to pour it on. They had two two-run home runs in the eighth to make it a 12-1 game. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each homered in the inning. Trout’s blast was unbelievable  as it was perhaps the longest home run hit this year at the Coliseum.

Game notes- The A’s still have the second best record in the American league. They are 88-62 and still maintain a six and a half game lead of the Rangers. Sonny Gray will pitch for the A’s Tuesday night and Garrett Richard will go for the Angels. Game time is at 7pm.

Sean Doolittle has been named a finalist for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.

Attendance was 14,621.