Callaspo provides big hit in Angels' 11-inning victory

Ryan Leong, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- With the acquisition of Albert Pujols in the offseason, many thought the Los Angeles Angels would be an instant contender for the American League West.
Although the Angels are last in the division, they managed to win their third series this month, improving to 12-10 in May after beating the Oakland A's 3-1 in 11 innings on Wednesday.
"From the first day of spring training, we knew the amount of work it was going to take for our team and the on-field chemistry to get going," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had it going in spring training, but obviously we haven't played to the level we need to or want to, but we're not looking for instant gratification, we're looking for the grind. This is going to be a process. This is not going to be anything where you turn this thing around in a heartbeat. We're in it for the long haul."
Alberto Callaspo's two-out, two-run double in the 11th inning lifted the Angels to the extra-inning victory on Wednesday afternoon.
The Angels won the game because of their stellar pitching to compensate for an anemic offense.
Jered Weaver and three Angels relievers combined to allow three hits and a run. Ernesto Frieri closed it out for his first career save.
"It seems like we get a quality start every night to get a chance to win," Scioscia said. "It took a big hit today in extra innings, but we got it done."
Weaver worked eight innings, giving up three hits and a run with four strikeouts but left with a no-decision.
"Any win is good right now," Weaver said. "It's our job to keep us in the game, and that's what I did for the most part, and to come out with the victory always makes it a little sweeter."
Jarrod Parker had a outstanding outing for the A's, pitching seven innings, allowing five hits, one run, one walk and striking out eight, but also getting no decision.
In relief of Parker, Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless eighth inning, adding to his record 22 2/3-inning streak of not allowing a run. Grant Balfour pitched a perfect 10th inning, and Jordan Noberto gave up the deciding runs in the 11th to take the loss.
Oakland hadn't scored a run in its last 19 innings since the third inning of Monday's game before its score on Wednesday.
"It's one of those things that I've been struggling all year with," said A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was 0-for-4. "I felt like I barreled a couple of balls up, didn't find any holes, just missed a couple of pitches. That's the difference between getting some knocks and not. And obviously right now we're not doing a very good job of getting on base."
That scoreless streak came to an end in the bottom of the sixth when Seth Smith connected for a long home run to center field off Weaver to tie the game.
The Halos took the lead in the top of the third. Callaspo walked, advanced to second on a single to right by Bobby Wilson and scored on a single to left from Maicer Izturis.
The Angels threatened in the sixth. With one out, Pujols singled to right. Kendrys Morales followed with a hard single to center, but Pujols was thrown out trying to advance to third, thanks to a great relay throw from shortstop Cliff Pennington to Donaldson.
The A's have one-third the payroll of the Angels, yet they have more wins and are second in the American League West. The A's offense is even worse, ranking last in the AL.
"It is what is," Smith said. "We swung the bats well two or three games ago, and over the last week we've put up some runs and scored when we needed to. It's not something we worry about. We come to the park to prepare and try to give your best at-bats."
Notes: Parker is 0-1 at home with a 2.08 ERA ... Cook's 22 2/3-scoreless-innings streak to start the season is the longest by an Athletics pitcher on the Opening Day Roster since 1918 and the longest active streak by a reliever in MLB. ... John "Blue Moon" Odom, who pitched for the A's during their three consecutive World Championships in 1972-1973-1974, was in attendance for the team's community fund golf tournament to be held on Thursday. ... The Angels' starting staff has posted quality starts in 22 of the last 27 games. ... The Halos are 2-21 when scoring three runs or fewer.

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