Athletics 4, Angels 3
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Rookie Travis Buck seemed to be all over the place.
Oakland’s leadoff batter had a hand in all the Athletics’ runs and made a critical catch in the outfield Tuesday night in a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
He went 4-for-5, scored the first run in the opening inning, had an RBI double in the second, a solo home run in the seventh, then capped the Athletics’ scoring with a run-scoring single in the eighth inning.
That last run turned out to be the difference, as Los Angeles rallied for two runs in the eighth to close within a run.
Lenny DiNardo, a converted reliever who pitched into the seventh inning and held the Angels to three hits, had already been pulled when Buck made a diving catch to end the Angels’ uprising in the eighth. But he certainly appreciated it.
“He busts his hump every day, so I’m getting used to it,” DiNardo said. “His plays are extraordinary, but he’s making them look easy.
“He saved me tonight. All I can ask for is for him to keep doing it.”
A’s manager Bob Geren believes he just might.
“This guy is going to be a really good player. You can see it,” Geren said of the 23-year-old Buck. “(He) was obviously the big offensive hero tonight.
“He did a tremendous job hitting the ball to the opposite field and showing power to the opposite field.”
Even the Angels’ Kelvim Escobar, who gave up an RBI single and solo homer to Buck, paid him his due.
“He had a great game,” said Escobar, who lost for the first time in his last six decisions. “He’s a very talented young guy.”
One place Buck couldn’t be found, however, was in the clubhouse. He didn’t show up to speak with reporters.
DiNardo (5-6) walked one, struck out two and gave up one run in 6 2-3 innings. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts.
The 27-year-old DiNardo, who has limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts, lowered his overall ERA to 2.41, including 1.38 in his 12 relief appearances.
He is 4-5 in 10 starts this year, and is coming off an outing when he held Texas to three hits and no walks over seven innings of Oakland’s 6-0 victory last Wednesday.
The start was his 17th in the majors, with the other seven coming with Boston in 2005 and 2006. He has appeared in 65 games since making his big league debut with the Red Sox in 2004.
“Lenny pitched extremely well. It seemed like he pitched inside and tied up a lot of the right-handed hitters,” Geren said.
Alan Embree got the final four outs for his 11th save in 13 chances.
Escobar (11-4) gave up three runs on eight hits over seven innings.
The Angels closed to 4-3 in the eighth against Santiago Castilla on Chone Figgins’ sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman’s RBI single. Vladimir Guerrero kept the inning going before Kotchman’s hit, beating a two-out infield single to shortstop Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro had replaced Bobby Crosby in the eighth, after Crosby was hit on the left hand by a Justin Speier pitch in the top of the inning and removed for a pinch-runner. Buck prevented the tying run from scoring—and the possible go-ahead run—with his diving catch in right-center on a drive by Gary Matthews Jr.
The Angels earlier this month had the best record in the majors, but they’re 4-7 since the All-Star break. They still hold a 2 1/2 -game lead over Seattle, which lost both ends of a doubleheader at Texas on Tuesday.
Despite winning the first two of the three-game set in Anaheim, Oakland is 4-8 since the break and 9 1/2 games behind the Angels.
Buck’s homer was his seventh of the season and first in his last 28 games.
Los Angeles RHP Bartolo Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young winner, went on the 15-day DL with a sore right elbow. He left Monday night’s game after pitching the first inning against Oakland, when he gave up four runs in the Angels’ 12-6 loss. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Tuesday’s game that there was a “silver lining” regarding Colon’s injury, which was diagnosed as an impingement in his elbow. “It’s some irritation in there. It’s not like it’s a ligament or something like that,” the manager said. … Geren said Crosby had a deep bone bruise, was going to have X-rays and “it doesn’t look good. We’ll know more in the morning.” … The Angels optioned INF Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake and called up right-handed pitchers Greg Jones and Marcus Gwyn from Salt Lake.