Jose Briceno homered early for the Angels, who got 7 1/3 solid innings from starter Andrew Heaney. Upton robbed pinch-hitter Eric Hosmer of a go-ahead homer in the eighth, making a catch above the left-field wall to leave Hosmer with a tying sacrifice fly.
Calhoun drove in Eric Young Jr. with a ground-rule double to put Los Angeles ahead. Shohei Ohtani scored on David Fletcher‘s perfect squeeze bunt, and Upton made it 6-2 when he connected off Craig Stammen (5-2) for his 25th homer.
Briceno opened the 10th with a double but was thrown out at third by catcher Austin Hedges on Young’s bunt. Briceno was originally ruled safe, but the call was overturned after a replay review.
Young then stole second and Ohtani drew a pinch-hit walk to set up Calhoun’s big hit.
Blake Parker gave up a solo homer to Hosmer in the bottom half before earning his 12th save.
The Padres failed to score after putting runners on first and second in the ninth when reliever Cam Bedrosian (4-2) got Freddy Galvis to foul out.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
The A’s, who currently occupy the second AL wild-card spot, moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Houston in the AL West. The Astros have lost four consecutive games.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia went with a bullpen day, but the strategy backfired when reliever Taylor Cole (0-3), making his first career start, allowed three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Lowrie doubled to left field in Oakland’s three-run first inning, giving him 1,000 hits over 11 seasons. It was also the 250th double of his career. Lowrie’s 1001st career hit was his 18th homer this season, a two-run shot during a four-run fourth for the A’s.
Marcus Semien had three hits for the A’s and reached base four times, a day after hitting a pair of home runs. Lowrie also had a walk as he reached base three times.
Los Angeles trailed by as many as four but pulled within a run in the eighth inning on Shohei Ohtani‘s two-run single off Jeurys Familia. Blake Treinen struck out the side in the ninth for his 30th save in 34 opportunities.
Rookie Francisco Arcia homered for the Angels. The homer, his third, came one day after Arcia pitched a scoreless mop-up inning. Justin Upton had two hits for the Angels, including an eighth-inning double that gave him an extra-base hit in five consecutive games.
A’s starter Trevor Cahill allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk over 4 2/3 innings. Fernando Rodney (4-2) pitched a scoreless inning in relief to earn his first victory with the A’s.
The Angels had the tying run at the plate in the sixth, but Ohtani struck out against Lou Trivino to end the threat.
OHTANI ON TRACK
Scioscia reiterated Sunday that he expects Ohtani to pitch again this season. While the two-way rookie from Japan has returned to designated-hitter duties, he has not pitched since June 6 because of a sprained right elbow ligament.
Ohtani will have what will amount to a medium-intensity bullpen session Monday in San Diego, where the Angels will open a three-game series. He would then work higher-intensity bullpens, followed by pitching to hitters, before his return.
Scioscia would not specify when he expects Ohtani to pitch again, but the likelihood is mid-to-late September.
”The goal is pitching again this year and we feel that is attainable,” Scioscia said.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (left adductor strain) returned to the 10-day disabled list following his rough outing Saturday, when he gave up seven runs on 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings against the A’s. … SS Andrelton Simmons was a late scratch from the lineup with left knee soreness and is day-to-day. … C Rene Rivera (arthroscopic knee surgery) was expected to play in a game at Single-A Inland Empire on Sunday and Monday, with the Angels hoping he can return to the active roster during the upcoming road trip to San Diego, Texas and Arizona.
A’s: LHP Sean Manaea (10-8, 3.50 ERA) will take the mound Monday at home against the Seattle Mariners, having lasted just 2 2/3 innings in a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (7-7, 3.96 ERA) will start Monday at San Diego, his first career appearance against the Padres.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Freezing out talent, and fans: If it’s not the best line of the year, it’s one of them: In the Athletic, James Fegan bemoaned that “the fetishization of optimal human asset management has trumped the interest in seeing great players do their thing.” This is evolution, eight years after Bill James said on “The Simpsons:” “I made baseball as much fun as doing your taxes.” Fegan, who covers the Chicago White Sox, referred in particular to Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech, elite prospects who should be playing for the woeful White Sox, right now. Instead of getting experience in 2018 that could help in 2019 — and getting fans excited about the future — a new generation of executives tries to hypnotize fans into believing that it is better that such players stay in the minors well into 2019 so they cannot leave as free agents until 2025. “Come on out to the ballpark, fans, and see teams that refuse to field their very best players!”
With a single in the sixth inning, Pujols recorded his 1,000th career hit with the Angels. He became just the ninth player all-time with at least 1,000 hits in each league after getting 2,073 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Four former Angels are on the list: Dave Winfield, Frank Robinson, Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera.
The Angels trailed 3-0 just four batters into the game. Starter Felix Pena regained his composure and gave up just two more hits and no runs while pitching into the sixth inning. Los Angeles improved to 8-1 over its last nine home games.
Matt Chapman and Khris Davis each hit home runs in the first inning for the A’s, who are now 13-6 since the All-Star break. Chapman hit his 16th homer while Davis’ two-run shot was his 33rd.
Calhoun connected for a two-run drive in the third, his 16th of the season and 11th over his last 25 games. Calhoun’s 15 home runs since June 18 lead the American League.
Calhoun had just one home run and was batting .145 over 50 games when he went to the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. In the 44 games since he has returned, he has hit 14 of his 15 home runs, with 34 runs scored and 35 RBIs.
Upton hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth off Lou Trivino (8-2).
Jim Johnson (4-2) retired the only batter he faced for the win. The Angels used three more pitchers in the ninth, with Blake Parker getting the final out for his 11th save.
Fernando Rodney made his A’s debut, striking out a batter during a perfect seventh inning. Rodney was acquired Thursday in a trade from the Minnesota Twins.
A’s manager Bob Melvin says Rodney doesn’t have a set role. Instead, Melvin expects to mix and match his late-inning relievers in a stacked Oakland bullpen.
”More than anything, it probably allows us to not overuse a Lou Trivino, to not overuse a Yusmeiro Petit,” Melvin said. ”As much as we use our bullpen on certain days, we’re not afraid to move guys to the back end of the bullpen if a (Blake) Treinen or (Jeurys) Familia needs time off, so it just makes us better.”
Rodney had 25 saves for the Twins in 46 appearances with a 3.09 ERA, but the closer job will still belong to Treinen.
VLAD THE HALL OF FAMER
The Angels honored new Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero with an on-field pregame ceremony that pushed back first pitch about a half hour. Guerrero, who made quick introductory speech at Cooperstown last month, was even quicker when he spoke to the crowd in both English and Spanish on Friday.
”His forte is to not go up there and spew accolades about himself, and I think it makes him all the more special,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”He was so beloved by his teammates because when he was playing, he was the best player on the planet but . never talking about himself. He was a special talent.”
Angels: Mike Trout was put on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed right wrist. Scioscia expects his All-Star center fielder to return on Thursday when his DL stint ends. .
A’s: RHP Edwin Jackson (3-2, 2.87 ERA) will take the mound Saturday in the middle game of the series, carrying the sixth lowest ERA in the American League since his contract was selected June 25.
Angels: RHP Tyler Skaggs (8-7, 3.34) is expected to make his return from the disabled list Saturday, having not pitched since July 31 because of a left adductor strain.
58-58, fourth place in the AL West. After starting the season strong, the Angels are closer to last place than first place, despite employing the greatest player in the 150 years of the sport and a modern day Babe Ruth. To their credit, the team has won three straight ballgames, all at the expense of the Tigers.
Kole Calhoun – RF
David Fletcher – 2B
Justin Upton – LF
Shohei Ohtani – DH
Andrelton Simmons – SS
Jefry Marte – 1B
Jose Briceno – C
Kaleb Cowart – 3B
Eric Young Jr – CF
Probable Starting Pitchers:
Felix Pena – RHP
Tyler Skaggs – LHP
Mystery Man – MHP
Recent Bullpen Usage:
The bullpen is well rested, but with the Angels starting rotation in flux and riddled with injuries, Anaheim will assuredly be heavily reliant on their bullpen unit for this series.
Remember how awful Kole Calhoun was in the season’s early going? While his triple slash line hasn’t recovered yet, and probably won’t by season’s end, Calhoun is hitting all his competition in a fashion very similar to how he typically hits the A’s. Over his last twenty three games, Calhoun is batting .307/.386/.705, and his nine home runs over that same time span leads the team by a good margin.
While getting the lion’s share of starts at first base in the second half, Jefry Marte, former A’s farmhand, is batting an awfully impressive .103/.103/.138, good for a .241 OPS, just about as close to a complete black hole in the lineup as a team can get. The curse of former A’s has been on the down low for most of this season, but Marte would be a fitting candidate to do some real damage in this series.
Jim Johnson, the one who got away, has pitched over eleven innings since the All Star Break and has only given up one run. On the starting side of things, Jaime Barria has been effective, despite having a Paul Blackburn-esque inability to strike out big league hitters.
The one of two confirmed starters for the Angels this series is Felix Pena, who began this season as a relief pitcher but has now started to take on starting duties. In three starts this half, he has yet to pitch twelve innings, while walking twice as many batters as he has struck out. His ERA over this timespan is fast approaching nine.
Lots of the usual suspects on the DL for the Angels. Garrett Richards is done till 2020. Matt Shoemaker is out indefinitely. Tyler Skaggs will be coming off of the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game, so the Angels’ rotation is getting one of its most effective members back. This is good news for the Angels.
The bad news for the Angels is that Mike Trout is officially on the DL with a wrist issue. Without their biggest weapon, that batting order looks pretty dang punchless.
* * *
It has been a while since these two rivals have gone head to head, long enough to where neither team resembles those that played each other just a couple of months prior. The A’s are no longer the inconsistent team that showed flashes of potential and flashes of incompetence seemingly at random for two months, and, after becoming sellers and getting victimized by cumbersome injuries, the Angels no longer resemble the contenders they once were. As the A’s have been methodically putting away more mediocre competition, the Angels are now in the same class as the Blue Jays and Tigers of the world, and this is a series the A’s really do need to win, no excuses.
With Mike Trout out of action and Shohei Ohtani ruthlessly taken away from the pitching world until 2020ish, the Angels fandom can at least take solace in the fact that their farm system is now amongst the best in the bigs, and for the first time in a long, long time, Anaheim can count on some help coming up (eventually) from the farm. This season, however, has completely transitioned from one of hope and expectations to yet another lost year, and Mike Trout is guaranteed to be around for too much longer. Next year should be better, though.
It should be.
Game #115: Friday, August 10th, 7:05 – NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv
Brett Anderson vs Felix Pena
Anderson was superb in his last outing, doing whatever he could to silence those who were calling for his designation or a move to the bullpen. While those possibilities are still in the cards, his last effort proved he still has one of the best sliders in the game, and enough left in the tank to be an effective performer. Pena, in his last start, pitched more than five no hit innings, but eventually went on to lose the game.
Game #116: Saturday, August 11th, 6:07 – NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv
Edwin Jackson vs Tyler Skaggs
Jackson has defied his age and expectations, and has been highly impressive in his half-season in Oakland, becoming one of the more reliable and consistent arms in the rotation. In eight starts with the A’s, Jackson’s ERA is below 3.00. Despite being named for the Borderlands Goomba equivalent, Tyler Skaggs has been one of the best left handed pitchers in all of baseball, when healthy, and is a long proven frustrator of Oakland A’s hitters.
Game #117: Sunday, August 12th, 1:07 – NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv
Trevor Cahill vs Mystery Man
Cahill has finally been getting deeper into games, while still not being the most efficient pitcher on the planet, but Cahill is who he is and he has been one of the better pitchers on the team at getting lots of batters out. If he continues to perform at the same level through the season’s second half, he would be a great candidate to start game one of the playoffs for Oakland.