Angels 6, Athletics 3

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Tim Salmon slumping? He won’t hear of it.

Salmon homered twice and Ramon Ortiz won for the sixth time in seven starts to lead the Anaheim Angels to a 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

Salmon connected on a 2-0 pitch from Aaron Harang (1-3) for a three-run homer in the first inning, sending the ball deep into center field. Eric Byrnes jumped at the wall to try to make the catch but had no chance. Salmon had homered only four times in his past 54 games and hit .215 in June.

“In June I felt like I was swinging the bat well, I just wasn’t getting balls to fall,” Salmon said. “I feel good at the plate. Sometimes it’s just luck.”

With the Angels leading 4-0, Salmon led off the fifth with a solo shot off John Halama for his 13th homer of the season. It was Salmon’s second multihomer game this year, both against the A’s. It was the 20th multihomer game of his career.

Seven of Salmon’s home runs in 2003 have come against Oakland. He is hitting .354 against the A’s this season and .306 lifetime.

How does he explain the success?

“You don’t,” he said. “A year ago or two years ago I don’t know if I got a hit off these guys. A couple years ago I did this against Cleveland after Cleveland had dominated me.”

Ortiz (10-6) retired 11 of the first 13 batters before Eric Chavez led off the fifth with his 17th homer. The A’s added another run in the inning on Frank Menechino’s RBI single.

Ortiz, coming off a loss Monday against Texas when he allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings, worked efficiently by getting ahead against most hitters.

Ortiz also gave up a homer to Billy McMillon in the sixth to make it 4-3. It was McMillon’s first homer of the year after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on May 29.

Ortiz retired seven straight during another stretch. He gave up six hits and three runs in six innings, striking out two and walking none.

The right-hander wanted to stay in the game but manager Mike Scioscia took him out anyway.

“Only 90 pitches, but Mike said that’s it,” Ortiz said. “He’s the man.”

Scioscia won his 300th game to join Bill Rigney (625) and Gene Mauch (379) as the only managers in club history to reach the mark.

“I didn’t know that,” he said of getting to 300.

Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 19th save.

The Angels tagged Harang for four hits in the first inning, including David Eckstein’s leadoff single. Jeff DaVanon walked and also scored on Salmon’s homered. Anaheim had four hits before Harang recorded the first out.

“Before you get an out it’s 3-0. That makes it tough,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “Aaron wasn’t using his off-speed pitches to finish.”

Harang gave up another run in the second inning before giving way to Halama after only 1 2-3 innings, his shortest outing in seven starts. Harang allowed seven hits and four runs.

“It seemed like everything I threw ran back over the plate,” Harang said. I didn’t have a feel today. Everything I threw, they hit it.”

Halama was demoted to the bullpen when the A’s called up Harang from Triple-A to give the right-hander a shot at winning a starting job. Halama retired the first seven batters he faced before Salmon’s second home run.

Macha had said Harang would make his next start July 12 against Baltimore but after the game said he was also considering Halama or bringing up a minor leaguer.

DaVanon added an RBI single in the ninth.

Notes

Harang threw 53 pitches, 35 strikes. Ortiz made 90 pitches, 62 strikes. … The crowd of 55,601 for fireworks night was the largest regular-season attendance in Coliseum history, breaking the mark of 55,528 set last Sept. 4 against Kansas City. … Ortiz improved to 3-4 lifetime against the A’s in nine starts. Two of those wins have come this season. … Angels backup C Jose Molina made his 18th start of the season. He replaced his brother, Bengie, a late scratch because of the flu. … Percival has converted 12 straight savechances since his lone blown save of the season, May 22 against Baltimore.

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