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Angels win, avoid another sweep to A's

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels had lost five straight games to the Oakland A's entering the finale of their three-game series Wednesday afternoon at the O.co Coliseum.

The Angels had been swept by the A's in a three-game series last month at Angel Stadium, and they were one loss away from being swept by Oakland in back-to-back series for the first time since 1991.

Apparently, enough was enough for the Angels.

With Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick drilling solo home runs, the Angels beat the A's 5-4, avoiding a sweep and snapping their four-game losing streak.

The Angels led 5-2 entering the bottom of the eighth and had to hold on to beat an A's team that has made a habit of comeback victories.

"I think it's nice," Trumbo said. "A win's a win. It's probably a little more of a nail-biter than we would have liked. When you get the lead, you want to hold it and you want to put them to sleep right there. This team hangs around and they'll find a way to get back in there if you let 'em. You just got to keep your foot on the gas pedal and try and pound them into submission before they get their second wind."

Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson improved to 3-0, and he worked exceptionally hard for this victory. Wilson threw 36 pitches in the first inning alone and 123 for his outing, holding the A's to two runs over 6 1/3 innings. Wilson allowed six hits, while striking out five and walking five.

Wilson escaped bases-loaded jams unscathed in the first inning and the sixth.

"I was fine," Wilson said. "I've done it before. I had a game against these guys last year where I went like 127 or 125 or something. That's what you condition for. I knew with the things that were going with the bullpen I was going to have to throw a lot of pitches one way or the other. It was just frustrating because I feel like I made some really good pitches. You have to give credit where it's due. Those guys after they got to two strikes, they fouled a lot of pitches off or they took some close pitches. They didn't really chase. That's a good baseball team."

After winning his first three starts, A's left-hander Tommy Milone has lost three straight. He struck out 10, matching his career high, but also tied a career high by giving up three home runs. Milone allowed seven hits and didn't walk a batter over seven innings.

"I wanted to go as deep into the game as I could," Milone said. "The bullpen has been out there a lot the last few days. I needed to go out and throw strikes. I felt good throughout the game. It was just a few bad pitches."

The A's and Angels were deadlocked at 2-2 after five innings before Trout and Trumbo hammered solo home runs off Milone in the sixth.

Leading off, Trout crushed a 1-1 fastball deep over the left-field fence for his third home run of the season, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead.

When he came to the plate with one out, Trumbo turned on Milone's first-pitch fastball and hit a laser that slammed into the yellow home run line above the out-of-town scoreboard in left field. Trumbo's shot was initially ruled a double, but after a video review, the umpires sent Trumbo home, making it 4-2.

The home run was Trumbo's sixth of the season and third in three games against the A's.

"Yeah, some competitive at-bats," Trumbo said of his series against the A's. "That's what I look for. That's the type of player I am. I'm in a good spot when I'm driving the ball. Also really proud of a couple walks I was able to take. That shows good progress for me because that means I'm laying off the pitches I can't handle. That's what we need. That's what we need against a team like this that grinds you down. You got to grind them back down."

The Angels increased their lead to 5-2 with a run in the top of the eighth when Trout tripled and Albert Pujols drove him in with a sacrifice fly. The Angels could have had at least another run, but A's Gold Glove right fielder Josh Reddick gunned down Josh Hamilton at third before Trumbo could score from second on Kendrick's two-out single.

"I think Josh got obviously a little too aggressive," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The A's, of course, didn't go quietly. They scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, cutting the Angels' lead to 5-4.

With one out and Reddick on first, designated hitter Luke Montz blasted an RBI double off reliever Scott Downs to left-center. Montz had been recalled from Class AAA Sacramento just hours earlier. Adam Rosales singled sharply to right, scoring Montz as the A's pulled to within a run.

"It felt great," said Montz, who played his first major-league game since Sept. 28, 2008, with Washington. "It was a hectic morning. Caught an early flight (from Fresno). I touched down at SFO and my agent texted me that I was in the starting lineup. I grabbed the first cab and said, 'How fast can you get me there?' I don't think he went under 110 mph the whole way. I got to the locker room about 11:45."

Montz had 45 minutes to get his uniform on and take a few swings in the batting cage before the game began.

Downs left the game with an injury to a muscle on his right side, and Ernesto Frieri took over. He retired Jed Lowrie on a fly ball to left, walked pinch hitter John Jaso and struck out Seth Smith, ending the inning.

Frieri hit Yoenis Cespedes with his first pitch of the ninth, but Cespedes was caught stealing when he slid past second base, and Kendrick tagged him out. Frieri walked Josh Donaldson, got pinch hitter Brandon Moss to fly out, then walked Reddick. But he completed his tough five-out save by retiring pinch hitter Eric Sogard on a pop fly.

"I'm always down for whatever (the team) needs," Frieri said.

On Wednesday, the Angels desperately needed a win after losing five of their first six games on this seven-game road trip and falling to 9-17.

"We need more than just one win. We need a lot of wins," Wilson said. "We'll take every one we can get, even if it's a cardiac arrest situation or if it's a blowout. We just need wins."

NOTES: The A's placed center fielder Coco Crisp (strained left hamstring) and starting pitcher Brett Anderson (sprained right ankle) on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. To take their spots on the 25-man roster, the A's brought up right-handed pitcher Dan Straily and catcher/first baseman Montz. ... The Angels recalled right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier from Class AAA Salt Lake, one day after optioning left-handed reliever Nick Maronde to Class AA Arkansas.
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