A’s starter Dan Haren threw a pitch behind Guerrero’s back during their first-inning encounter in the Angels’ 4-3 victory on Sunday, the latest jab in a simmering rivalry with the Athletics.
“That was noticed,” Lackey said after the Angels salvaged a series split. “We hit a rookie catcher and they go after one of the best hitters on the planet. That’s just dumb. It’s a 1-2 count on the kid and he gets hit on the hand. We’re here to win, not to mess around with stuff like that.”
Justin Speier hit A’s shortstop Bobby Crosby and broke his hand on July 24. Guerrero and Howie Kendrick have both been hit by A’s pitchers and Nick Swisher and Mark Ellis (twice) join Suzuki and Crosby in getting hit by Angels pitchers.
“We’re trying to pitch in off the plate,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “The ball got away. From the umpire’s standpoint I understand how he’d (issue a warning). It wasn’t intentional.”
Haren said he just lost the pitch to Guerrero, who eventually walked and scored on Anderson’s triple. After the pitch, plate umpire C.B. Bucknor and crew chief Joe West each sent warnings to both teams.
“I’m trying to go inside and if I miss, it’s going to be in,” Haren said. “It just got away from me. I was all over the place that inning. I was 2-0 on three straight hitters.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he wanted to believe Haren, “but that pitch was behind him. I don’t now where that came from.”
Garret Anderson drove in three runs as the Angels remained atop the AL West for the 102nd consecutive day.
Lackey (14-6) moved into a tie for the major league lead in wins after giving up three runs on nine hits over 6 2-3 innings. He walked two, struck out five and has won 11 of his 14 career decisions against the A’s.
Chone Figgins singled and Orlando Cabrera doubled off reliever Kiko Calero (1-5) to start the seventh. Guerrero was walked intentionally before Anderson delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly. Casey Kotchman, who singled three times, then drove in the go-ahead run.
Justin Speier finished the seventh and Shields pitched the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez gave up a pair of two-out walks before retiring Mark Ellis for his 27th save in 30 chances.
Anderson has driven in 109 runs against the A’s, and his .334 average in Oakland is his best in any current AL park.
“He knows how to hit and he gives protection to Vlad. He’s always getting timely hits,” Shields said. “He’s been clutch for us. He’s been doing that since I’ve been here. He’s been putting up numbers his whole career.”
Guerrero went hitless in the contest, but was walked three times. He hit .429 (6-for-14) in the series with four walks, four home runs and seven RBIs.
Haren needed 113 pitches to make it through six innings. He gave up two runs and seven hits, walking three and striking out three.
“You pick your poison with those two,” Haren said. “I can’t let Vlad beat me but Anderson hits me pretty well. I fell behind him twice and he made me pay. He’s a great hitter.”
Marco Scutaro’s double-play grounder allowed the A’s to tie it in the second, although Lackey worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation.
Anderson tripled for the first time since last Aug. 17 against the Seattle Mariners. … A’s SS Donnie Murphy was a late scratch due to stiffness in his lower back. J.J. Furmaniak replaced Murphy, starting his first game in the majors since Oct. 1, 2005, while with the Pirates. … Kotchman has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games. … The Angels had lost their previous five road series. … In the past 32 meetings between the teams, a game has been decided by two runs or fewer 22 times, including 15 one-run decisions.