OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—For a lineup filled with power, the Los Angeles Angels sure looked awfully comfortable playing small ball for a change.
Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each drove in two runs to power the Angels past the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Thursday night despite just one extra-base hit.
”We’ll take eight runs any way they come,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”If we have one hitter hitting two grand slams and that’s the only two hits we get, we’ll take it. But I think the depth of our lineup is important. I think we had everybody contributing tonight, and that’s nice.”
C.J. Wilson (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings for his third straight victory - the past two against Dan Straily (6-4) and the A’s. He struck out six and walked three.
Josh Hamilton was 1 for 5 with an RBI after missing three games with a stiff right ankle for the Angels, who had scored just seven runs while losing three of their previous four.
The last time an opponent scored at least eight runs at the Oakland Coliseum was when the Angels lost 10-8 in 19 innings on April 29.
”You try not to be too aware of what’s going on. We know we haven’t scored a ton of runs lately,” Trumbo said. ”The at-bats have been good, the competitiveness is there. You never know, we could go on an absolute tear and this can be a good start for it.”
Derek Norris hit his sixth home run of the season and added another RBI, but Straily struggled on the mound after Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Straily gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking two.
”Up until that point I felt I was commanding everything pretty good. Then just out of nowhere I wasn’t able to correct myself and it cost us the game,” Straily said.
The A’s remain a season-high three games ahead of Texas in the AL West after the Rangers lost 2-0 to the Yankees. The Angels are 10 games back of Oakland.
”We have to win every game, but if we can win against Oakland and Texas, even better,” Wilson said. ”We have a really long road to go. There’s no sugarcoating or way of making it look rosy. It stinks. We’re way down in the standings and we have to put it together, otherwise it’s going to be a long offseason.”
Los Angeles began the seven-game road trip at Oakland and Texas by finding some much-needed pop at the plate, getting 12 hits and finishing 6 for 11 with runners in scoring position. The A’s, meanwhile, opened their 10-game homestand with just six hits and going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Both teams still had to manufacture runs - the Angels just made it look so much easier.
Scioscia touted his team’s patience at the plate, working into favorable counts and taking advantage of Staily’s mistakes. He also was encouraged by hitters not just swinging for the fences, starting with Pujols’ two-out single up the middle in the third inning to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. Pujols finished 3 for 4.
In the fourth, Yoenis Cespedes walked, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored the tying run sliding feet-first into Wilson’s legs blocking the plate after a wild pitch. Cespedes held his right leg in the dugout, grimacing, but stayed in the game.
The home run derby champion had a wrap around his right knee in the clubhouse. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes just had a bruise and didn’t think he would miss time.
Norris hit an RBI single later in the inning to give the A’s a 2-1 lead. The runs ended Wilson’s string of 12 straight scoreless innings against the A’s in the past week after he tossed 8 1-3 innings of three-hit ball in a 2-0 win against Oakland last Saturday in Anaheim.
This time, the Angels’ offense carried the day in Wilson’s win.
Trout hit a sacrifice fly, Hamilton added an RBI single and Trumbo lined a two-run double to left-center to put the Angels ahead 5-2 in the fifth. The Angels hit five straight singles to start the sixth, pushing across three more runs for an 8-2 lead.
Norris, who got the start at catcher after John Jaso was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list before the game, hit a solo shot on the first pitch from Wilson in the bottom of the inning.
Dane De La Rosa pitched a perfect eighth, and new reliever J.C. Gutierrez tossed a scoreless ninth for the Angels.
NOTES: The Angels designated RHP Billy Buckner for assignment to clear space on the roster for Gutierrez, who was claimed off waivers from Kansas City on Wednesday. … The A’s recalled Stephen Vogt from Triple-A Sacramento before the game to fill Jaso’s roster spot. Jaso was taken out in the eighth inning of Oakland’s 4-3 win Wednesday at Houston after taking a ball off his mask and complaining of a headache. … The A’s send Bartolo Colon (13-3, 2.52 ERA) to the mound against Angels RHP Jerome Williams (5-6, 4.73 ERA) on Friday.