OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—J.J. Furmaniak kept thinking he’d like to make things happen on the basepaths. In his first game back in the majors since June, he got the opportunity.
Vladimir Guerrero made a costly throwing error that led to a five-run eighth inning, overshadowing his second consecutive two homer game as the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-4 on Friday night.
Guerrero hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth and added a go-ahead shot in the eighth. But the A’s came back in the eighth to win for the third time in four games.
“You know we’re trying to walk him,” A’s first baseman Dan Johnson said. “Everybody in the park knew it. He’s just that good. He’ll swing at anything.”
With pinch-runner Furmaniak seeming to round third, Guerrero hesitated between throwing to third and home. He double clutched and threw home, but short-hopped cutoff man Robb Quinlan. The ball bounced loose up the third-base line, allowing Furmaniak to score and Scutaro to reach second. Johnson followed with a double, snapping an 0-for-17 streak, to score the go-ahead run.
“When I got in I thought about maybe getting to second somehow,” said Furmaniak, recalled before the game when Eric Chavez went on the disabled list. “When Scutaro hit the ball I knew I’d get to third. As I got down there I looked to see Vlad throwing it in and saw it was going down and starting to short-hop the first baseman. I thought I’d give it a try if the ball got loose. I anticipated something like that.”
Much to the dismay of Shields, who slammed the ball to the ground in disgust.
“Q didn’t quite get it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It was not a great hop. We didn’t get control of it and it went into one of those dead zones.”
“It just got away from me,” Shields said. “I just went back up on the rubber and took a deep breath. I just pitched bad. With Vlad coming through with the home run. I have to hold that. It’s hard to unravel. The point is we lost a game we should have won.”
Guerrero went 39 days without a home run before connecting twice on Thursday night. On Friday night, his first home run came on a 3-1 pitch from A’s starter Lenny DiNardo.
“I threw three changeups in a row and that one was the closest to being a strike,” DiNardo said. “If it’s anybody else that’s a good pitch. He just doesn’t have any holes and his strike zone is twice as big as anybody else’s. He’s just that strong. I’ll have to throw it over his shoulders or in the dirt.”
Santiago Casilla (3-1) gave up Guerrero’s second home run but got the win when the A’s rallied.
“The only guy I’ve seen walked with the bases empty is Barry Bonds and after tonight I’m putting Vlad in that class,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “All of a sudden he’s on fire and he did a number on us. We have to find a way to keep him in check the rest of the series.”
Chone Figgins went 2-for-3 with a walk to continue his torrid offensive pace as the Angels lost their second in three games. Figgins is hitting .414 (92-for-222) since June 1, tops in the majors.
Angels starter Dustin Moseley ran into trouble in the third, hitting a batter, walking another and giving up an RBI double to Mark Kotsay before clamping down and retiring nine straight, including RBI groundouts by Jack Cust and Piazza. Moseley gave up three runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, walking three and striking out three.
After Moseley gave up singles to Cust and Scutaro sandwiched around a walk to Piazza to load the bases with one out, Chris Bootcheck came on and got Johnson on a short fly to center. Suzuki then flied out to right to end the threat.
Guerrero hit two home runs in back-to-back games for just the second time in his career, and the first since Sept. 17-18, 2000. He’s 5-for-9 with four home runs and seven RBIs in the first two games of the series.
DiNardo lasted six innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Angels C Ryan Budde and 3B Matt Brown each made their first big league start. … The A’s have used 47 players already this season, the most in the majors and two shy of the Oakland record. … The Angels have been in first place every day since April 25. … A’s 2B Mark Ellis has not made an error in 69 straight games, one shy of the Oakland record. … Suzuki was hit on the top of his right hand and will have X-Rays on Saturday.