EditorsNote: 2nd graf updated with Tampa Bay score to reflect AL wild card race
Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman capped a seven-run, seventh inning with a two-out, two-run triple on Thursday afternoon, completing a comeback that gave the host Oakland Athletics a 10-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and a three-game series sweep.
The win kept the Athletics within one-half game of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first American League wild-card spot. The Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 later Thursday. Oakland leads Cleveland by one game for the final spot after the Indians lost 7-1 to the Chicago White Sox.
Rookie left-hander A.J. Puk (1-0), making just his fourth appearance, benefitted from the rally, recording his first major league win after allowing one run in two innings of relief.
The run allowed by Puk came on a solo home run by Kevan Smith, his third of the season, to give the Angels a 6-1 lead headed to the bottom of the seventh.
Josh Phegley got the Athletics within three with a two-run homer off Jose Suarez to get the big inning rolling, before the Los Angeles bullpen imploded, permitting a single to Marcus Semien followed by four straight walks, two of which forced in runs.
Khris Davis’ infield out against the Angels’ fourth pitcher of the inning, Luis Garcia, tied the game, and Grossman then greeted Adalberto Mejia with a first-pitch triple over the head of Mike Trout in center field, scoring the go-ahead runs and giving Oakland an 8-6 lead.
Ryan Buchter and Lou Trivino combined for a scoreless eighth to retain a two-run margin, after which the A’s tacked on another pair on Jurickson Profar’s two-run single in the bottom of the inning.
Ty Buttrey (6-7), who issued three of the four consecutive walks, took the loss.
Earlier, Justin Upton had a two-run double in the first inning, Trout slammed a two-run homer in the third and Upton had an RBI single in the fifth, ending A’s starter Brett Anderson’s day early and giving the Angels a 5-1 lead.
The homer was Trout’s 45th of the season. It ties him for the major league lead with Pete Alonso of the New York Mets.
Seeking a career-best 12th win, but settling for a no-decision, Anderson was charged with five runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out four without allowing a walk.
A’s pitchers served up just one walk in the game, as opposed to the seven allowed by seven Angels’ pitchers.
In his role as bulk-innings reliever following “opener” Luke Bard, Suarez limited the A’s to two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. One of the hits was Phegley’s 11th homer.
He walked two and struck out two.
Semien had four hits, including a pair of doubles, and scored three times for the A’s, who beat Los Angeles for the sixth straight time while improving to 12-5 against the Angels this season.
Trout had two hits, drove in two runs and scored three times, while Upton and David Fletcher also collected two hits apiece for the Angels, who lost their eighth straight on the road.
—Field Level Media