On Your Heels: A’s nip Angels 8-7, creep closer to Astros at the top of the AL West

By Morris Phillips

Like today’s starting pitcher, Blake Treinen is a singular force of momentum as a closer.

Treinen stepped on the mound for the bottom of the ninth on Sunday knowing this: only one of the 13 pitchers that preceded him escaped without allowing at least one walk or a hit in a game that resembled batting practice as much as a major league affair can. With the A’s clinging to an 8-7 lead–narrowed from 8-3 by the Angels over the previous four innings–Treinen was entrusted with the task of getting the final three outs.

Challenging task and circumstances? Sure, how else could you explain Treinen needing 11 pitches–not nine–to finish the afternoon with three, consecutive strikeouts?

Well, for the bullpen-rich A’s, Trienen is the closer of closers. Consider the 30-year old fireballer the crescendo of crescendos. Following trade acquisitions Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney–both closers for their former teams–not to mention premiere setup man, Lou Trivino, Treinen was one more power arm than the Angels could withstand on Sunday.

While the offenses piled up the runs on Sunday, the bullpens dictated the outcome. The Angels’ bullpen, beset by injuries, had a rag tag, patched together look while the A’s relievers, as a unit, resembled an out-making machine. Afterwards, Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia admitted his guys weren’t exactly a seamless organization.

“We’re looking at whoever is available to give us innings,” said Scioscia, who went without a starter on Sunday, as bullpen guy Taylor Cole took the ball to start, and was followed by six more relievers. “We tried to line them up as best we can, but it’s just not as efficient as it is if you have at least the functionality of having starters that are getting to a certain point of the game.”

Trevor Cahill, looking for his fourth win in as many starts, achieved just once previously in his decade-long, big league career, didn’t exactly deliver the A’s to their bullpen. Not the dominant force on the road as he’s been at the Coliseum, Cahill blew an early 3-0 A’s lead in two, swift acts. Then after he steadied in the third and fourth innings, Cahill fell into trouble in the fifth, and was lifted despite the A’s leading 7-4 at that point.

Jed Lowrie’s two-run homer in the fourth off ex-Athletic Jim Johnson appeared to give the A’s a comfortable lead, but then Cahill gave a run back in the bottom of the frame. Yusmeiro Petit was touched for a run in the sixth, and Familia allowed two runs in the eighth, setting the stage for the narrowed finish.

Treinen picked up his 30th save in 34 chances, lowered his ERA to 0.92, and boosted his strikeouts per nine innings to 12.

Lowrie’s double and homer were the 1,000th and 1,001st hits of his career.

With the A’s winning while the Mariners finished off a four-game sweep off the Astros, the A’s climbed within 2 1/2 games of the AL West division lead. That’s as close as the A’s have been to first place since April 3, and seamlessly sets up their next six games–three against the Mariners, then three against the Astros–all at the Coliseum.

Sean Manaea faces Marco Gonzalez in the series opener with both lefties looking to improve on their double-digit win totals.

The A’s score early and often in 7-0 win over Angels on Saturday night

a-angels score
Photo: @NBCAuthentic

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics jumped back into the win column on Saturday night with a 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. The A’s scored their seven runs in the first four innings and the Angels were never able to respond.

Marcus Semien may have had his best game of the season at the plate on Saturday. The A’s shortstop went 3-for-5, hitting two home runs (8, 9), driving in four runs (43) and scoring three runs. Semien’s third hit was his 26th double of the year.

angels semien
Semien’s second home run was the 8000th in Oakland history Photo: @Athletics

Khris Davis also joined the power show on Saturday night in Anaheim. “KD” smashed his 34th round-tripper of the season in the third inning off Angels starter Tyler Skaggs. Davis also hit an RBI-single in the fourth inning. Davis now has 92 RBIs for the year to date.

Matt Chapman had a 2-for-5 game with the bat. Chapman hit a single up the middle in the top of the first to drive Semien home from second to score the A’s first run of the game. It was Chapman’s 40th RBI of the season. Chapman scored a run in the fourth inning on Davis’ RBI single.

Stephen Piscotty went 3-for-5 with the bat and scored a run for Oakland. A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a 2-for-4 game at the plate and also scored a run.

The A’s scored seven runs on 14 hits while leaving nine men on base. They went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position. And while they picked up 14 hits, their batters struck out just seven times. More hits than strikeouts–is that allowed in an MLB game this year?

angels bomel
Photo/Graphic: @Athletics

Strong starting pitching for Oakland
Edwin Jackson–who almost did not make the Major League roster–picked up his fourth win of the season in this game. He worked 7.1 innings of shutout baseball, allowing the Halos just three hits and three walks while striking out six batters. The 7.1 innings represents the deepest into a game Jackson has worked since joining the A’s. He had worked into the sixth inning six times. Jackson threw 110 pitches (65 strikes).

Jackson’s strong starting pitching effort meant that Trivino, Familia, and Treinen were able to take the night off.

Ryan Buchter worked 0.2 innings of relief in the eighth inning, striking out two batters. Emilio Pagan worked the bottom of the ninth, which got a little more exciting than the A’s would have liked. Pagan loaded up the bases with no outs but worked his way out of trouble without allowing a run to score.

The win affects the West, but not the Wild Card
The Mariners beat the Astros again on Saturday, so the A’s gained ground on Houston, but did not create any additional separation between themselves and Seattle.

Oakland has cut the Houston lead in the American League West to 3.5 games. The Astros have lost three straight games. The Astros and A’s play a three-game series next weekend in Oakland.

The A’s lead over the M’s in the Wild Card race stays steady at 1.5 games. The A’s and M’s play a three-game series Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Oakland.

Up Next
The three-game series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1:07 pm PDT game. The A’s will send RHP Trevor Cahill to the mound (4-2, 3.12) to face the Angels’ Taylor Cole, who will start what will be a bullpen game for LAA.

Angels Rally on Pair of Homers, Top A’s 4-3

Photo credit: mlb.com

By Matthew Harrington

So many times this season the Oakland Athletics have lived by the long ball to win games, but Friday night in Anaheim, the dinger doomed the Green and Gold. The Los Angeles Angels hit two two-run shots, outscoring the A’s 4-3 in the first game of a three-game set. The A’s hit a pair of dingers themselves, a solo shot by Jed Lowrie and a two-run blast by Khris Davis, but Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun’s round-trippers tipped the scales in the Halos’ favor.

The Swingin’ A’s did just that in the first inning, jumping on Angels’ starter Felix Pena after Matt Champan launched his 16th homer of the year with one out and no one on. Jed Lowrie reached base, allowing Davis to crush his team-leading 33rd homer of the season for a 3-0 lead.

Brett Anderson would exit the game in line for the win, but the A’s margin for error was razor thin, nursing a 3-2 lead after Calhoun’s 16th homer of the year knocked in two runs in the bottom of the third.

A’s manager Bob Melvin’s most reliable reliever not named Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, came into the game in the sixth, but struggled to stymie the Angels after Upton’s two-run shot. Former Athletic Jim Johnson picked up the win, despite throwing just 1/3 of an inning. Blake Parker picked up his 11th save of the season.

The A’s still remain 1 1/2 games up on the Seattle Mariners and they got positive results from newly-acquired reliever Fernando Rodney. He pitched a perfect inning, notching a punchout along the way. Edwin Jackson takes the hill for Oakland in game two, opposed by Tyler Skaggs of the Angels.

The A’s and Angels face each other for game two on Saturday night at 6:07 pm PDT.

Preview of the A’s and Angels’ 3-game series starting Friday night

Photo credit: youtube.com

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s start a short three-game road trip starting Friday night at Angel Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels. The A’s record of 34-11 is the best in baseball since June 16th. They went 7-1 in the last homestand against the Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. The A’s split the two-game series with the Dodgers, and the entire experience felt as if it were the MLB playoffs.

The A’s are playing with supreme confidence right now. They acquired twp pitchers, Jeurys Familia and Shawn Kelley, to buttress the bullpen, and added a starter, Mike Fiers. Fiers’ debut against the Dodgers was impressive. Fiers didn’t receive credit for the win, but he gave the A’s 5 1/3 innings of work before A’s manager Bob Melvin turned the game over to his outstanding bullpen.

After the quick stop in Anaheim, the A’s will return home to face the Seattle Mariners for three and the Houston Astros for another three. The A’s lead the M’s by three games in the race for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. They trail the division-leading Astros by five.

There were high hopes for the Angels this year. The people in Orange County thought their team would be contending for the division crown. Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia was optimistic that this year would belong to his team. After all, they signed the highly-touted Japanese star, Shohei Ohtani, to play for them. Ohtani would pitch and on the days he didn’t, he would be their DH.

Unfortunately, Ohtani has been sidelined with elbow problems for most of the year. He has received plated rich plasma infusions to treat a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. He hasn’t pitched since June 6th. His record was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA. Ohtani is expected to resume throwing off the mound on August 11th. As a DH, Ohtani is hitting .268 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 69 games.

In addition to Ohtani’s problems, the Angels’ pitching staff has also been racked with injuries. Pitchers John Lamb, Garrett Richards, and Kenyan Middleton all have undergone Tommy John surgery. Jake Jewell had surgery to his right ankle and is out for the year. Alex Meyer had surgery on his right shoulder last September and has not been able to return to action. Matt Shoemaker has surgery on his right forearm and may be back in August. Lefty Tyler Skaggs may return this weekend after being sidelined with a left abductor strain.

The Angels’ best player Mike Trout is day-to-day due to an injury to his wrist. He is expected back this weekend. Trout, the two-time MVP in the American League, is hitting .309 with 30 home runs and 60 RBIs. Kole Calhoun, who struggled earlier in the season, had raised his average to .214 and has 15 homers and 44 RBIs. Justin Upton is another dangerous hitter in the Angels’ lineup. Upton is at .255 and has 23 dingers to go along with 65 RBIs. The other offensive threat is the 38-year-old Albert Pujols. Pujols is hitting .253 and has banged out 18 homers along with 56 RBIs.

The A’s and Angels have met 10 times so far this season. Both teams have five wins apiece. After this weekend’s series, they will play six more games. Three will be in Oakland, and the A’s will wrap up the season in Anaheim.

The probable starters for Friday night’s game will be Felix Pena (1-3) for LA and lefty Brett Anderson for Oakland. Edwin Jackson will pitch on Saturday, and Trevor Cahill will go on Sunday. Sunday’s starter for the Angels have not been announced yet.

The Angels would love nothing better than to be spoilers. The A’s cannot take this team for granted. Yes, the Angels are disappointed by their lack of success so far this season. They have the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, but they will still miss the playoffs.

There have also been a lot of rumors regarding the status of their long-time manager Mike Scioscia. Scioscia has managed the team for 19 years, and he won a World Championship in 2002. Reports have him leaving at the end of the season. Scioscia has adamantly denied the reports. However, in baseball, one never knows.

A’s power their way past the Angels 6-4 on Saturday to end the losing streak

Semien HR
Semien hits his sixth HR in the top of the sixth inning Photo: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics can cross two things off of their to-do list after beating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6-4 on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum. First, they needed desperately needed end a four-game losing streak that began last Tuesday. Task completed.

Secondly, the A’s needed to get a win versus an AL West division opponent. They had lost six straight games to AL West teams and 12 of their last 13 games versus the West. The win on Saturday allows the team to check that off their list as well.

The A’s cannot let down after this victory, but it should prove to them that they are very capable of playing and winning in the Western Division.

Manaea looked unstoppable for four innings

Manaea vs LAA
Manaea looked unstoppable for the first four innings Photo: @Athletics

Sean Manaea made the start for the A’s and his slider was really working for him. The lefty set the Angels down in order for the first four innings. He looked unbeatable especially after Chad Pinder hit a home run to stake Manaea to a 1-0 lead.

Then came the top of the fifth inning. Albert Pujols led off the inning with a single. Martin Maldonado followed up with a single to right field. With runners at first and second, that brought Chris Young to bat. Young was the last minute replacement for Justin Upton who was scratched due to a stiff lower back.

Young HR
Young crushes a HR off Manaea Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Young hit a no doubt about it home run to over the left field wall to give the Angels a 3-1 lead. Manaea was able to work his way out of trouble to end the inning, but the mood of the team and fans had definitely changed.

The sixth inning was the Angels’ downfall
The Angels had to use LHP John Lamb — who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake — to make the start. Lamb gave up a home run to Pinder in the fourth inning and then, Marcus Semien hit his sixth round-tripper of the season off Lamb to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. That would be all for Lamb, who exited the game with a 3-2 lead.

Reliever Noe Ramirez entered the game and hit the first batter he faced — Chad Pinder. Jed Lowrie flied out to center for the first out of the inning. DH Khris Davis walked. Rameriez then hit Matt Olson for his second hit-batsmen of the inning. With the bases loaded, Stephen Piscotty hit a blistering single up the middle that drove Davis and Olson home to score. When the inning ended, the A’s led the game 5-3.

Oakland would add one more run in the seventh inning on a Jed Lowrie RBI single.

The top of the ninth inning got a little exciting
Blake Treinen was brought in to close out the game in the top of the ninth. It was his first time on the mound in six games and he looked a little rusty.

The A’s closer gave up a run (earned) on one hit while walking two and striking out one Angels hitter. The situation did not become desperate, but it was not as clean of a close as the team would have liked it to have been.

Bob Melvin’s postgame comments

In the Batter’s Box
Oakland (35-36)

  • Chad Pinder had a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate for the A’s. He was just a double short of posting a cycle on Saturday. Pinder’s home run was his sixth of the season and he recorded his 14th RBI. Pinder hit his first triple of the year in the game.
  • Marcus Semiem hit his sixth HR to pick up his 27th RBI of the year.
  • Stephen Piscotty raised his RBI total to 29.
  • Jed Lowrie now has 43 RBI which is keeping close to the leaders in the majors
  • The A’s scored six runs off six hits and recorded six RBI. Their batters struck out eight times.
  • The A’s left six men on base while going 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Los Angeles of Anaheim (38-33)

  • No batter for the Angels had a multi-hit game.
  • Chris Young picked up the big hit with his 3-run home run in the fifth inning. That upped his RBI total to 10.
  • Mike Trout and Albert Pujols each recorded a hit.
  • The Angels scored four runs on six hits while striking out six times.
  • The Angels left four men on base and went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

On the Hill
A’s (Streak: Lost 1 game; 4-6 in last 10)

  • The win went to starting pitcher Sean Manaea, who is now 6-5 on the season. It was his first win since back in May. Manaea worked 6.0-innings giving up three runs (all earned) off four hits. He walked one and struck out four. He did give up one home run.
  • Treinen earned the save (15) but struggled to get there.
  • Petit and Trivino each worked an inning of scorless relief.

Angels (Streak: Lost 1 game; 5-5 in last 10)

  • John Lamb who made the start did not figure into the decision.
  • Noe’ Rameriez (2-3) was charged with the loss.
  • Jake Jewell was used for one inning of relief by the Angels and it was his Major League debut.

Up Next

The Angels and A’s will close out  this three-game series with the “rubber game” of the match on Sunday at 1:05 pm PDT. The Angels will start LHP Andrew Heaney (3-5, 3.68) -who will the third lefthander to start for LA in this series. The A’s will counter with RHP Daniel Mengden (6-6, 3.90).

big foul
Foul territory is tough to cover at the Coliseum Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Angels crush A’s 8-4 in game one of weekend series

Kinsler home run
Kinsler crosses the plate after hitting a home run the fourth inning Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Where did the “Big Mo” go? You remember “Big Mo” – a.k.a momentum. Right now, it feels like the Oakland Athletics have lost all of the momentum that they had been building up earlier in the season.

The A’s are 5-8 in the month of June which is not good, but what makes that record even more devastating is the fact that six of those eight losses have come at the hands of American League West teams. The A’s cannot be losing that many games inside the division and hold on to any hopes of making the playoffs even as a Wild Card team.

What hurts, even more, is the Angels came into the game riding a five-game losing streak of their own. They are a team that had great expectations for 2018 and have now been beset by injuries.

The Angels are the team that the A’s must pass first if they are going to move up in the Western Division and make a run at the Mariners and Astros.

This game did not start well
Chris Bassitt was back on the mound making his second start in a week for Trevor Cahill, who is now on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained right achilles. Bassitt pitched well last Saturday against the Royals, despite taking the loss. Things did not go well Friday night.

After inducing Angels leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler to ground out, Bassitt gave up a single to Mike Trout. He then issued a walk to Justin Upton. Albert Pujols reached base safely when Bassitt fielded a ground ball and his throw to first base sailed into foul territory. Trout and Upton were able to scramble home to score while Pujols ended up at second. When the top of the first was over, the Angels lead 2-0 with both runs being unearned.

Bassitt no mystery
Bassitt was no mystery to the Angels batters Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

The third inning brought more bad news for Bassitt and the A’s. Trout singled to open the inning. Upton followed immediately with a single of his own. With Trout at second and Upton at first, Pujols reached first on Chad Pinder’s throwing error that allowed Trout to score and Upton to advance to third.

The Angels went on to score two more runs in the top of the third inning and held a 5-0 lead as the A’s prepared to come to bat in the bottom of the third.

Los Angeles went scored again in the fourth inning — which would be the final inning of work for starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. The Angels would go on to score two more runs off Oakland reliever Carlos Ramiez in the top of the fifth.

The A’s finally put runs up on the board in the home half of the fifth inning. Mark Canha led off the inning and reached base on a throwing error charged to the LA shortstop. Piscotty and Smolinski both struck out. Catcher Josh Phegley hit an RBI double to center field that drove Canha home to score. Marcus Semien then hit an RBI double of his own that allowed Phegley to score the second run of the game for the A’s. After five full innings, the Angels held an 8-2 lead.

The A’s added one more run in the bottom of the eighth when Chad Pinder ran home from third on a wild pitch by Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian to make it an 8-3 game.

The A’s never quit trying. In the ninth inning, Stephen Piscotty picked up a one-out single off LA reliever Justin Anderson. Pinch-hitter Dustin Fowler hit a hard grounder to second that Kinsler had trouble fielding and he legged it out for a single while Piscotty advanced to third. With Semien at-bat, Fowler moved up to second on defensive indifference. Semien walked to load the bases.

Anderson threw a wild pitch to Chad Pinder and Piscotty was able to score from third base to make it an 8-4 contest. Pinder struck out to end the game.

The Angels beat the A’s 8-4 in game one of the three-game series.

Tyler Scaggs picked up the win for the Angels and upped his record to 6-4, 2.81 ERA. The A’s Chris Bassitt is hung with the loss as his record drops to 0-2, 2.45 ERA. There was no save awarded for the game.

Major postgame news
In his postgame news conference, manager Bob Melvin confirmed that Matt Chapman will be going on the disabled list beginning Saturday due to a hand injury. Franklin Barreto was lifted from the Nashville Sounds game in El Paso before its conclusion so he could travel to Oakland for Saturday.

Chad Pinder will most likely be the primary replacement at third base but do not be surprised to see Lowrie spend time at the “hot corner” while Barreto fills in at second base.

Melvin’s postgame comments

In the batter’s box
Angels (38-32, 3rd place AL West)

  • Mike Trout (the best player in baseball? If not, tell me who is better!) collected three hits in the game. That was hit his 21st multi-hit game of the season.
  • Ian Kinsler hit his ninth home run of the year in the fourth inning off of Bassitt. He is batting (21-for-66) with five doubles, seven home runs, and 12 RBI in his last 16 games.
  • Catcher Jose Briceno broke an 0-for-8 hittless streak with a 3-for-4 game at the plate on Friday night.

A’s (34-36, 4th place AL West)

  • Jed Lowrie got back on track by ending an 0-for-8 hitless streak by picking up three hits in four trips to the plate on Friday night.
  • Josh Phegley had his first multi-hit game of season. One of those hits was an RBI-double.
  • Marcus Semien is being very productive with runners in scoring position. He is batting .359 when he has runners on base with a chance to score.

On the hill
Los Angeles of Anaheim

  • This was Tyler Skaggs third consecutive win, which is the longest winning streak of his career.
  • Skaggs struck out eight A’s batters, walked only one and allowed seven hits. He gave up two runs (none earned).
  • The three Angels pitchers allowed a combinded 10 hits while they struck out 11 Oakland batters.

Oakland

  • Starter Chris Bassitt is still looking for his first win since August 4, 2015. Of course, Bassitt missed almost two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery. He is actually 0-8 since his last win in 2015.
  • The A’s used five pitchers in game on Friday night.
  • A’s pitchers gave up eight runs off just nine hits in the game.

Up next

Coming on Saturday, the Angels and A’s will meet again at 1:05 pm PDT at the Coliseum. Los Angeles will start RHP Nick Tropeano (3-4, 4.83 ERA). The A’s will send LHP Sean Manaea (5-6, 3.49 ERA) to the hill.

Cueto continues hot streak, Belt sets major league record in SF Giants’ 4-2 win over Angels

Photo credit: @SFGiants

By Jeremy Kahn

Johnny Cueto continues looks amazing out of the gate, and Brandon Belt set a major-league record, and he continues to stay hot.

Cueto went six innings, allowing just two hits, walking two and striking out seven and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 at Angel Stadium Sunday.

With the victory, the Giants won their first series of the season, as they ended their road trip thru San Diego, Arizona and Anaheim with a 4-6 record.

Not only did Cueto pitch another great game, he saw his earned run average drop to a minuscule 0.35 and his consecutive game streak of allowing one run or less raise to four, he was also on the back end of a fantastic double play.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Luis Valbuena hit a grounder to Belt, who threw to Brandon Crawford for the first out and then threw to Cueto to complete the double play and you saw Cueto pump his fist and yelled in happiness.

Belt, who hit a home run for the fourth consecutive game to lead off the top of the fourth inning, set a major league record in the first inning.

After Joe Panik singled to left, Belt settled in at the plate and his duel with Angels starter Jaime Barria was one of epic proportions.

Belt fouled off 11 consecutive pitches from Barria, in the longest at-bat since records for pitches began in 1988. In all, Belt saw 21 pitches from Barria, breaking the record of 20 that was held by Ricky Gutierrez of the Houston Astros, who eventually struck out against Bartolo Colon of the Cleveland Indians.

All in all, the at-bat lasted 12 minutes and 45 seconds, as he ended up flying out to Kole Calhoun in right field.

In his three at-bats, Belt saw 38 pitches, as he singled in the top of the third inning and then launched a 410-foot home run off of Blake Palmer to lead off the fifth inning.

Cueto took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning, as he struck out Shohei Ohtani twice on the afternoon.

Ian Kinsler broke up Cueto’s chance at a no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning, then Ohtani singled to load the bases, but then Valbuena grounded into the double play that ended the threat.

Evan Longoria continues to find his hitting stroke, as he hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning.

The Giants got on the board just prior to Longoria’s home run, as Panik scored from third base on a Buster Posey double play. Belt also scored on the Longoria home run.

Mike Trout put the Angels on the board in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he hit his major-league leading ninth home run of the season and third of the series. Trout’s two-run home run went to the opposite field off of reliever Cory Gearrin.

The Angels put runners on the corners with two outs and with Trout in the on-deck circle, but Hunter Strickland got Kinsler to fly out to Gregor Blanco for the final out.

Barrie, who threw those 21 pitches to Belt in the top of the first inning, went just two innings, as he loaded the bases with nobody out and was replaced by Noe Ramirez.

Barria gave up two runs on six hits, walked one and also struck out one, as he retired only six batters and threw a whopping 77 pitches.

In that first inning, Barria threw 49 pitches and was able to get out of the inning without allowing a run, as he loaded the bases on three singles; however, he retired Longoria and Pablo Sandoval to get out of the inning unscathed.

NOTES: Chris Stratton opens up the Giants’ homestand on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, as he takes the mound against former Oakland A’s pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

UP NEXT: Series opener between the Giants and Nationals is scheduled for Monday, April 23 at 7:15 pm PT.

Pujols gives Angels 4-3 win over Giants

Photo credit: @usanews2017

By Jeremy Kahn

With one swing of the bat, the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels went from being tied to giving the Angels the lead for good.

Albert Pujols hit a two-run opposite field home run off of Derek Holland in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Angels a 4-2 lead and they hung on to defeat the Giants 4-3 at Angel Stadium.

It was the 2,992nd hit of Pujols career, bringing him within eight of the magical 3,000 hit club and it was the 618th home run of his 18-year career.

The Pujols home run made a winner out of Garret Richards, who was facing the Giants for the first time in his major-league career.

Richards went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out 11, as he raised his record to 3-0 on the young season.

All in all, on the evening the Giants struck out 17 times, including three times apiece by Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford and Nick Hundley. This the second most strikeouts by the Giants in a game this season, as they struck out 18 times against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 7 in a 7-5 14-inning win on a walk-off home run by Andrew McCutchen.

Brandon Belt gave the Giants a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, as he hit his fourth home run of the season.

Jefry Marte got the Angels within a run in the bottom of the second inning, as he solo home run off of Holland to get the Angels on the board.

Mike Trout tied up the game in the bottom of the third inning, as he launched a Holland pitched that landed in the Angels bullpen. It was the second home run of the series for Trout.

Sandoval got the Giants within one in the top of the eighth inning, as he drove in McCutchen, as he walked with two outs.

Mac Williamson reached on an infield single to get the top of the ninth inning started for the Giants, but Angels closer Kenyan Middleton was able to strikeout Crawford and Hundley, before he got Joe Panik to ground out to end the game. It was the fifth save of the season for Middleton, who went 1.1 innings, allowing one hit and struck out three.

Holland went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits, walking just one and striking out six, as he saw his record fall to 0-3 on the season.

NOTES: Johnny Cueto closes out the road trip on Sunday, as he takes the mound, looking for his second win of the season for the Giants. Angel Stadium will be the last of the current stadiums that Cueto will have pitched in his career.

Cueto will be opposed by Jaime Barria, who will be making his second career start and looking for his second straight win. Barria won his major-league debut against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on April 11.

Buster Posey was a late scratch to the Giants lineup, as he was scratched due to back tightness.

UP NEXT: The Giants and Angels conclude the series Sunday afternoon at 1:07 pm PT.

Samardzija and Williamson make memorable season debuts as Giants down Angels 8-1

Photo credit: @SFGiants

By Jeremy Kahn

What a season debut for Jeff Samardzija after beginning the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain.

Samardzija went five innings, allowing just two hits, walking four and striking out four, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Angels 8-1 at Angel Stadium Friday night.

Mac Williamson, who was tearing up the Pacific Coast League was recalled earlier in the day after Hunter Pence went on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained thumb made the most of his season debut.

After striking out in his first at-bat, Williamson hit a towering two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning to help the Giants in the opener of their three-game series in a rematch of the 2002 World Series that the Angels came from a 5-0 deficit to win Game Six and won their only World Championship the next evening with a 4-1 victory.

Nick Hundley got the night started, as he hit his first home run of the season in the top of the second inning. Hundley drove in another run in the top of the eighth inning, as he hit a double off the left field wall.

Andrew McCutchen hit his second three-run home run of the season in the fifth inning, as the Giants broke the game wide-open, as they scored six runs in the inning. Austin Jackson also added a run-scoring in the frame.

Todd Heaney was cruising into the top of the fifth inning, despite the Hundley home run in the top of the second inning.

Heaney let the first five batters get to him, as Williamson hit a two-run home run and his night was done, when McCutchen launched that three-run home run.

Shohei Otani picked two of the five Angels hits, including the first hit of the game off of Samardzija in the bottom of the second inning.

Albert Pujols doubled off the left-center field wall for his 2,991sthit, leaving him just nine shy of the magical 3,000 hit club. The double by Pujols was his 623rdof his career, tying him for 11thplace in Major League history with Hank Aaron.

Mike Trout broke up the shutout in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he hit his seventh home run of the season off of Pierce Johnson.

NOTES: Derek Holland will try again for his first win of the season on Saturday night, as he takes the mound for the Giants, while Garrett Richards will make his first ever start against the Giants.

UP NEXT: The Giants and Angels will face each other in Game 2 Saturday night at 6:07 pm PT.

A’s beat the Angels 7-3 on Saturday night to even the series at one game apiece

LAA Sat
Graphic: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Seven was the magic number for the Athletics on Saturday night in Anaheim. The A’s scored seven runs on seven hits and recorded seven RBI en route to a 7-3 over the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of a three-game series. The series is currently tied at 1-1.

The A’s jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning and they never trailed in the contest. Oakland scored three runs in the second inning, one run in the fifth, two in the eighth and added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning.

The Angels scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it a 3-2 game which is as close as they would come to taking the lead. The Halos scored one more run in the home half of the seventh inning but that was not enough to catch the surging Athletics.

Oakland got a strong performance from their starting pitcher

LAA Triggs
Triggs warming up in Anaheim Photo: @Athletics

Andrew Triggs made his second start of the season for the Athletics and made the most his opportunity on the mound. Triggs worked 5.2 innings giving up just two runs (both earned) off four hits. He struck out six Los Angeles batters while walking just two. Triggs did give up one home run to Justin Upton – his third of the young season.

The A’s bullpen had Triggs back

Ryan Buchter came in to relieve Triggs and he struggled a bit. Buchter gave up one run (earned) on one hit in 0.2 innings worked. The run came off a home run hit by Luis Valbuena which was his second round-tripper of the year.

Emilio Pagan pitched 0.2 innings of relief and posted all zeroes except for one strikeout. Pagan earned his second Hold of the season.

Blake Treinen worked two innings to close out the game. He issued two hits but gave up no base-on-balls and no runs. Treinen struck four Angel hitters. He posted his second save of the year.

No Athletic batter had multiple hits

LAA starters
Graphic: @Athletics

The A’s seven hits were spread out among seven different Oakland players

Jed Lowrie hit his second home run of the season in the fifth inning off Akeel Morris. Matt Chapman recorded his first triple of the year in the game while Stephen Piscotty hit a double.

Piscotty, Semien, Lowrie, Chapman, Maxwell, and Olson all posted an RBI in the game.

The A’s went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

Series wraps up on Sunday

The eyes of the baseball world will be on the game between the A’s and Angels on Sunday afternoon. Oakland will face the phenomenon of the MLB this season – Shohei Ohtani (0-1, 4.50) for the second time this season. Ohtani’s first ever win in the major league’s came over the A’s last Sunday in Oakland.

The A’s will counter with Kendall Graveman (0-1, 8.10). Graveman has been plagued by giving up the long-ball in both of his starts. He will not be able to issue home runs to the powerful Angels lineup and expect to come away with a victory.