ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When the Los Angeles Angels
signed Josh Hamilton
to a five-year, $125 million contract, most figured offense would not be a problem for the club -- not with a lineup that included Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo
There was more concern about the bullpen, and Tuesday night's home opener at Angel Stadium showed those concerns have some validity.
Reliever Kevin Jepsen
got rocked for two home runs in Oakland's five-run seventh inning, leading to a 9-5 A's victory before a sellout crowd of 44,014. John Jaso
's pinch-hit three-run homer and Brandon Moss
' two-run homer turned the game upside down in the A's favor, and appeared awfully similar to how the A's won games last season.
"It was great," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's part of who we are. We feel like we always have a chance to come back. We had a bunch of walk-off wins at home (last year) so we keep grinding through the whole thing. Sometimes you come up with games like that, and if you keep that positivity throughout the course of a game until that last out is recorded, you know you have a chance to win."
The Angels (2-5) took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the sixth inning, capped by Howie Kendrick's RBI triple, his third hit of the night. Angels manager Mike Scioscia then went to his bullpen after starter C.J. Wilson had an up-and-down performance, giving up four runs and six hits in six innings.
Lefty Scott Downs gave up an infield single to Coco Crisp to begin the seventh inning, but he retired the next two hitters. That's when Scioscia made a fateful move, bringing in the right-handed Jepsen to face the right-handed-hitting Yoenis Cespedes
Jepsen walked Cespedes before Melvin sent up Jaso to pinch-hit for Derek Norris. Jaso hit a line drive down the right-field line that grazed the top of the short wall and went into the seats for a three-run homer and 7-5 A's lead. But the A's (6-2) were not done with Jepsen.
After a single by Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss launched a towering home run into the right-field seats for a two-run homer and 9-5 lead.
"I was trying to go down and away and it cut back over the middle of the plate," Jepsen said of the pitch to Jaso. "You do that to dead-red hitters, you're going to have a tough time. Today the fastball was coming back over the plate. ... My stuff felt the same; sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."
Jepsen was neither, and the Angels lost for the fifth time in six games since their season-opening win in Cincinnati.
"We felt that Jepsen could get us out of the inning, no doubt about it," Scioscia said when asked about removing Downs in favor of Jepsen. "Obviously it went the other way."
For Oakland, the win was their sixth in a row after dropping their first two games of the season to Seattle.
While the Angels' bullpen faltered, the A's bullpen bailed out starter Jarrod Parker, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs and nine hits. The A's used six relievers, including Ryan Cook (1-0), who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Jepsen (0-1) got the loss.
Moss' three hits and four RBIs led the A's offense, while Crisp, Donaldson and Cespedes each had two hits. The Angels actually out-hit the A's 13-12, including three by Kendrick and two each from Trout, Peter Bourjos, Trumbo and Erick Aybar.
"That was kind of a crazy game, really from the start," Melvin said. "We kept expecting Jarrod to piece it back together, and it looked like Wilson was going to fall apart and then he pieced it back together. We made a couple errors and they didn't capitalize on some opportunities and it just kind of went back and forth."
The A's jumped out to a lead with three runs in the first inning off Wilson, who settled down and managed to work his way through six innings.
"Not every start is going to be pretty and the last two haven't been pretty," Wilson said. "I've had big innings twice the cost the team a couple wins, really."
NOTES: Angels RHP Jered Weaver was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after being diagnosed with a non-displaced radial head fracture in his left elbow. Weaver suffered the injury Sunday night in Texas when he twisted the elbow while bracing his fall after avoiding a line-drive hit by the Rangers' Mitch Moreland. Weaver is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. "This is all new to me," said Weaver, who is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts. "I've never broken anything before. I didn't know how to respond to the news. I was a little bit in shock." ... RHP Garrett Richards will replace Weaver in the rotation. Richards, who made nine starts for the Angels last season, had a stellar spring but was relegated to a bullpen role to start the season. ... A's RF Josh Reddick was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season. Reddick sprained his right wrist on Sunday in Houston when he crashed into the short wall in foul territory trying to make a catch. He is listed as day-to-day but is expected to miss the entire series against the Angels. Chris Young started in right field Tuesday in Reddick's place. ... A's LHP Brett Anderson is expected to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Tigers. Anderson bruised his left thumb in Sunday's game at Houston trying to field a comebacker, but X-rays were negative.
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- Kevin Jepsen
- Los Angeles Angels
- Brandon Moss
- Mike Scioscia