By Matthew Harrington
The Oakland Athletics emphatically avoided a sweep at the hands of their Southern California rivals by thumping the Los Angeles Angels 7-1 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes nabbed a pair of runs batted in along with an outfield assist Wednesday night and catcher Stephen Vogt continued his torrid stretch since a call-up from Triple A Sacramento earlier this month.
Vogt launched a two-run home run into the bleachers in right field with one out to chase Halos ace Jered Weaver (7-5, 3.51 ERA) with the A’s leading 4-1. Oakland (40-26) also scored three runs in the ninth inning to firmly secure the victory for starter Tommy Milone while tagging Weaver with the loss. Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp also picked up RBIs in the contest.
Milone (4-3, 3.47) went 6 2/3 against the Halos, yielding the lone run on an RBI double off the bat of Josh Hamilton with the A’s up 1-0. Other than that he proved perfect in the stopper’s role, striking out four Angels while only walking two. Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless third of an inning and Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson fired a shutout frame each to close out the win and snap a five-game winning streak for LA.
Third-string catcher Vogt, a Visalia, Calif. native, had the pleasure of hitting his first homer of the season in front of a crowd of friends and family. The real highlight of the night, however, came in the sixth inning after Albert Pujols ripped what appeared to be a surefire double into the corner in left field. Cespedes bobbled the ball when fielding it to allow Pujols to attempt to advance to third base. Cespedes, however, threw a bullet reminiscent of his webgem throw to home plate Tuesday night to gun down the Angels first baseman for his second assist in the three-game set.
Also adding to his defensive highlight reel was Crisp, who robbed Josh Hamilton of a second-inning homer after scaling the wall in the left-center. After a premature fireworks display exploded out of the rock pile in center, Crisp gave a discerning finger wag.
The A’s managed to wrap the series up with a 3.5 game lead over Anaheim (36-29) in the American League West standings after narrowly seeing it creep down below two games. Oakland takes an off-day Thursday before returning to O.Co Coliseum to face David Phelps and the Yankees. Sonny Gray gets the ball for the green and gold in game one.