Angels salvage finale vs A's, take back first place
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels lost the previous two games to the Oakland A's and were 0-5 this season at the O.co Coliseum entering the series finale Sunday night.
It quickly became clear that the Angels weren't going to get swept at Oakland for the second time this season.
The Angels scored three runs in the second, two in the third and three more in the fourth en route to a 9-0 lead, and they cruised to a 9-4 victory over the A's. Los Angeles (77-52) moved a game ahead of Oakland (76-53) in the American League West standings.
Left fielder Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer, center fielder Mike Trout added a solo shot, and right-hander Jered Weaver held the A's to three runs over 6 2/3 innings for the win.
"It was a big game, but we're going to play a bunch more against these guys," Weaver said. "Obviously, we didn't want to get swept. Our offense was the story of the night. Doing a great job against a guy who's having a pretty good season (A's left-hander Scott Kazmir). For them to jump on him and get some early runs and keep capitalizing and score a lot of runs makes it a little bit easier on the pitching staff."
Weaver gave up eight hits, struck out eight and walked none. After going 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA in his first two starts against the A's this season, Weaver (14-7) held Oakland scoreless Sunday before giving up three runs in the seventh.
The Angels lost Garrett Richards to a season-ending knee injury last week, but Weaver made it clear that that they still have some firepower in their rotation.
"Weaver came out throwing strikes," Trout said. "We needed a big outing out of him, and we got it. He's our ace. With Garrett going down, he's our go-to guy, him and C.J. (Wilson). Obviously, the other starters are helping out a lot. We needed a (win) tonight, and we got one."
Kazmir, a 2014 All-Star, had a nightmare start. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits, matching his season highs, while lasting only three innings. Kazmir (14-6) walked two, struck out one and lost for the third time in his past five starts. His ERA rose from 2.73 to 3.08.
"Just location," Kazmir said of his problem. "I maybe hit one spot the whole game. There were times I felt I could take control of the game, get two strikes on a guy and then throw one right down the middle. I felt like I wasn't aggressive enough."
Hamilton stayed hot, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and scoring twice. Right fielder Kole Calhoun had three of the Angels' 13 hits, while Trout, first baseman Albert Pujols and shortstop Erick Aybar each had two. Aybar drove in two runs with a second-inning double.
"Just barreling balls up," said Hamilton, who had a long stint on the disabled list earlier this season and appeared in just his 78th game. "I think that's the biggest thing. I'm not going to get the numbers I normally have from this point out, but I can have good at-bats and I can contribute every night however I can."
A's third baseman Alberto Callaspo, a former Angel, went 3-for-4 with a double in the third and a two-run homer in the seventh. Later in the seventh, shortstop Andy Parrino launched a solo shot, his first blast of the season and second of his career.
Before the game began, the A's placed closer Sean Doolittle on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle. Catcher John Jaso will go on the seven-day concussion disabled list Monday. Third baseman Josh Donaldson missed the game with a sore left knee, but an MRI revealed no structural damage, and he might be able to play Monday at Houston.
"It's just something you have to deal with," A's manager Bob Melvin said of the injuries. "Regardless, we feel like every time we take field no matter who we run out there, we feel like we're gonna win."
The A's and Angels will play a four-game series at Anaheim that starts Thursday, and they will meet again for three games at the Coliseum on Sept. 22-24.
"They're a scrappy club," Weaver said. "They won't quit, just like us. Coming out of here with a win is a lot better than getting swept. It's nice to come out of the series on top of the AL West."
NOTES: The A's placed LHP Sean Doolittle on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right intercostal muscle. Doolittle was injured while throwing his second-to-last pitch in the ninth inning Saturday night en route to his 20th save. Oakland recalled RHP Dan Otero from Triple-A Sacramento. ... The A's acquired C Geovany Soto from Texas for cash. He is expected to report to the team Monday at Houston when the A's open a three-game series. Oakland C John Jaso, who battled concussion symptoms the past two weeks, will be placed on the seven-day disabled list Monday. ... LHP Wade LeBlanc will make his first start for the Angels on Monday when they face the Miami Marlins in the opener of a seven-game homestand.