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Angels' Cowgill beats A's with 14th-inning homer

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Collin Cowgill wasn't the biggest or strongest player on the field Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, but at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds he was king for a day.

The reserve outfielder smacked a home run in the bottom of the 14th inning to lift the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Oakland A's.

The Angels earned their fifth win in a row, moving them to within 2 1/2 games of the division-leading A's in the American League West and giving them a chance to complete a three-game sweep Wednesday.

With two outs and nobody on base in the 14th, Cowgill hit a 1-2 pitch from left-hander Jeff Francis over the left field fence to win it.

"I think Collin is definitely playing with a lot of confidence, and he's evolving as a player," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's understanding some of the things to do in certain counts at the plate. He's getting on base, he's running the bases well, and he's playing great outfield. That's a tremendous hit he had tonight. It couldn't come at a better time.

"For a guy that's not 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, you see some pop in his bat."

Nearly as surprising as the home run from Cowgill was the fact that Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn't catch it.

Cespedes was a one-man show in the eighth and ninth innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, with the game tied 1-1, the Angels had Howie Kendrick on first base when center fielder Mike Trout hit the ball into the left field corner.

Cespedes misplayed the ball initially, so Angels third base coach Gary DiSarcina sent Kendrick home. It appeared the Los Angeles second baseman would score easily, but Cespedes made a remarkable throw from the corner, the ball reaching catcher Derek Norris on the fly, and Kendrick was tagged out. It was Cespedes' major-league-leading eighth outfield assist of the season.

"You don't expect something like that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We know he's got a great throwing arm, but that was just ... there aren't too many guys in the game who have the arm strength to throw it the whole way on the fly, kind of on the run, off balance a little bit."

In the ninth, Cespedes led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice by Norris, then stole third base, his first stolen base of the season.

Angels reliever Joe Smith, though, escaped by striking out first baseman Brandon Moss and getting designated hitter John Jaso on a grounder.

The Angels won the battle of bullpens, giving up one run in eight relief innings. Cory Rasmus (2-0), the last of six relievers, got the victory.

"These guys all came in and put up zeros and gave us a chance to get our offense going," Scioscia said. "We had a lot of opportunities, and fortunately Collin got the big hit late."

Francis (0-1) followed three other A's relievers who combined for five scoreless innings.

Los Angeles left-hander Hector Santiago and Oakland lefty Drew Pomeranz weren't involved in the decision after effective outings.

Santiago threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out eight. Pomeranz gave up just the one unearned run in his seven innings. He permitted four hits and three walks, and he struck out two.

The Angels broke a scoreless tie with an unearned run in the sixth inning.

Trout led off with a walk, and first baseman Albert Pujols followed with a hard grounder to A's third baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson's throw to second base was low and skipped past second baseman Nick Punto, going into right field.

Trout took third and Pujols second on Donaldson's error, his fourth of the series.

Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton singled to right field, scoring Trout from third. Pujols, though, ran through DiSarcina's stop sign and was easily thrown out at the plate by Moss, who was then playing right field, for the first out of the inning.

Los Angeles third baseman David Freese then hit into an inning-ending double play.

"I think he got a little aggressive, that's it," Scioscia said of Pujols' attempt to score. "I think he thought the ball was in the gap and thought he could score."

NOTES: Angel Stadium maintenance crews spent part of Tuesday afternoon re-painting the yellow line atop the right field wall. Angels CF Mike Trout had a home run taken away by replay challenge in Monday's game even though the ball appeared to clear the top of the wall. The yellow line, however, had faded. ... Josh Donaldson made three errors in Monday's game, becoming the fourth Oakland third baseman to make at least three errors in a game, and the first since Marco Scutaro set the club record of four in 2007. With 13 errors this season, including one Tuesday, Donaldson leads all American League fielders.
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