By Matthew Harrington
Starter Garrett Richards and the Los Angeles Angels stifled the Oakland Athletics offense Monday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, besting the A’s 4-1 while limiting the visitors to four hits. Yoenis Cespedes and Stephen Vogt combined for all the Oakland offense, collecting two hits apiece. The A’s (39-25) scored one run for just the sixth time this season a day after exploding for 11 runs at Camden Yards.
Jesse Chavez (5-4, 3.04 ERA) pitched gave six strong innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits against the Halos, but the A’s offense failed to figure out Richards in support. The 26-year-old righty (6-2, 3.09) stymied the green and gold to only four hits over his seven innings.
The A’s took the lead in the top of the second after Yoenis Cespedes scored on a softly-hit Stephen Vogt single to left with two outs. Vogt proved steady at the plate and behind the dish in place of starting catcher Derek Norris. Norris sat out Monday night after taking a Manny Machado backswing to the back of the head yesterday afternoon in Baltimore.
Angels superstar Mike Trout collected his 44th and 4t5th RBIs on a sac fly in the third and a controversial fifth-inning ground-rule double respectively. With Hank Conger on second, Trout aboutfaced a 2-2 Chavez delivery to deep right field that looked labeled for the bleachers. Originally called a home run on the field, an umpire review revealed a fan reached below the railing to catch the ball for fan interference. Crew chief Bob Davidson overturned the play, placing Trout back on second base to the chagrin of Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia. Scioscia argued the play, resulting in an ejection from Davidson with the Angels leading 3-1. Hank Conger and Raul Ibanez also plated runs for the Halos.
After Richards, Joe Smith and Closer Ernesto Frieri locked down the A’s bats, pitching a scoreless inning a piece. Smith struck out two while Frieri k’d the side to pick up his 11th save of the season. Ryan Cook and Fernando Abad pitched a third of an inning a piece and Jim Johnson wrapped up the A’s pitching performance, allowing an unearned run in his 1 1/3 innings of work.
With the win, the Angels (35-28) move 3.5 games back of the A’s for the lead in the American League West. They’ll look to put together a fifth-consecutive victory Tuesday night, sending Hector Santiago to the mound in his return. Santiago seeks his first win of the season in his return to the rotation after Los Angeles placed Tyler Skaggs on the disabled list Monday afternoon with a right hamstring strain.
The A’s counter with Drew Pomeranz fresh off a bounce-back outing in which he narrowly outdueled Yankees sensation Masahiro Tanaka in a 2-1 loss in the Bronx. Pomeranz pitched seven innings, his longest start of the season, just one appearance after allowing five runs to the same Angels in a fortunate 9-5 home field triumph May 30th.