Blanton settles down, leads Oakland to 6-2 victory over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Maybe Joe Blanton was just due against the Angels.
After entering the season with an 0-6 record against the Angels, Blanton has won all three of his decisions against them this year.
“It’s always a close game with them, and as a pitcher it’s fun,” he said. “When you face a lineup like that, you really have to throw your A-game that day and really compete.”
Blanton (12-9) threw 99 pitches, giving up six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in winning for the fourth time in five decisions. Huston Street struck out two in a scoreless ninth.
“I still felt good enough and I probably could have finished,” Blanton said. “But Huston hadn’t pitched in a couple of days and I was pushing 100 pitches.”
After giving up two runs in the first, Blanton shut out the AL West leaders for the next seven innings.
“My slider was pretty good and it was really effective,” he said.
The A’s went ahead 3-2 on Ellis’ homer off Saunders (7-3) with one out in the fourth—his first home run in 21 games since Aug. 13. Ellis made it 5-2 in the seventh with an RBI single off Chris Bootcheck after Murphy hit his fifth homer.
Ellis’ 17 homers this season are a record for an Athletics second baseman, topping the previous mark of 16 set by Jimmie Dykes in 1921 when the team was in Philadelphia, and matched by Davey Lopes in 1983.
“It’s a neat feeling,” Ellis said. “Last year I had 11 home runs and missed a month of the season. I love being productive and driving in runs, but my defense is the reason why I’m in the big leagues.”
Ellis hasn’t made an error in 99 games, also a club record for a second baseman.
“There have been some good second basemen here—I’ve looked at the list a little bit—so I do take a lot of pride in that record as well,” he said.
Saunders gave up four runs, seven hits and two walks. He struck out four.
“I was cruising along, I made a bad pitch and Ellis hurt me on it,” Saunders said.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead soon after Reggie Willits and Orlando Cabrera led off the first inning with consecutive singles. Vladimir Guerrero struck out, but Garret Anderson followed with a run-scoring single that sent Cabrera to third. Maicer Izturis added a sacrifice fly.
Anderson tied a club record of 10 consecutive games with at least one RBI. He matched Fred Lynn (1984) and Wally Joyner (1986).
“I’m surprised he hasn’t done it before, you look at his 120-RBI seasons. I thought he might have had 20 in a row,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Anderson has 68 RBIs this season despite missing 46 games because of injuries. He has driven in 27 runs in his last 15 games—including his club-record 10 RBI game in an 18-9 victory over the Yankees on Aug. 21.
The Angels activated INF Erick Aybar. He went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 20 with a strained left hamstring. … Angels C Mike Napoli replaced rookie Ryan Budde behind the plate in the ninth after Budde was removed for a pinch-hitter. It was Napoli’s first game since July 27, when he strained his right hamstring stealing second base. … Oakland is 9-7 against the Angels this year.