“Why are we still scoring runs, man?” Napoli asked All-Star infielder Chone Figgins as they dressed in the mostly empty Coliseum locker room following Los Angeles’ 14-hit effort in an 11-6 win over Oakland. “How is that possible?”
“What, are we supposed to stop?” Figgins replied.
Even without injured sluggers Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero in the heart of their lineup – and even after losing cleanup hitter Juan Rivera to a third-inning injury – it seems nothing can stop the Angels from scoring more than enough runs to take charge of the AL West.
Erick Aybar drove in a career-high four runs Saturday, and Figgins hit a leadoff homer while reaching base four times in Los Angeles’ fifth win in six games. Every starter got a hit and six drove in a run for the division-leading Angels, who capitalized on four Oakland errors and survived a rare poor start by Jered Weaver with their glamourless, relentless offense.
Los Angeles has scored 49 runs in its last six games, usually by doing nothing fancy.
“We keep putting pressure on,” said Figgins, who tied his career high by scoring three runs, increasing his AL lead in the category. “We keep having good at-bats and getting people on base. We’re not one of those teams that hits lots of homers. We hit line drives. … If we can keep that train going, we’re still going to score some runs.”
Oakland rookie right-hander Vin Mazzaro (2-6) yielded Figgins’ seventh career leadoff homer on his fourth pitch before facing 10 batters in the Angels‘ six-run third. Aybar had a two-RBI single after leaving Friday’s loss to Oakland with dizziness, and the shortstop added another two-run single in the seventh.
The Angels‘ combustible bullpen also pitched five scoreless innings until Cust’s two-out homer in the ninth to bail out Weaver, who felt seriously ill after the first inning. He eventually fell apart in the fourth inning of his shortest start this season, yielding eight hits and five runs while walking three and never looking comfortable.
“I just felt nauseous and woozy,” Weaver said. “The bullpen came in and held it down … and the offense has been awesome over the last month or so.”
Darren Oliver (4-0) ended Oakland’s biggest rally during 1 2-3 scoreless innings of work.
Matt Holliday had a two-RBI single during Oakland’s five-run fourth inning, and Jack Cust homered for the last-place A’s, whose defensive ineptitude ruined a rare chance to beat Weaver.
“It was one of our worst games of the year,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “It was all really early. We (made) a couple weeks’ worth of mistakes – all, it seemed like, in one inning. They were all different styles and types. It was a very poor performance.”
At least Jason Giambi went 2 for 4 with a walk in his first multihit game since June 19 after beginning the day in a 5-for-50 slump that dropped the once-feared slugger’s average to .191. Yet Giambi still made a throwing error in the third, plunking Aybar in the back with a rundown throw after Oakland picked him off first.
The whole inning was comically bad, starting with Reggie Willits‘ score on a throwing error by Adam Kennedy. Rivera then scored on Gary Matthews Jr.‘s fly to left when A’s catcher Landon Powell bobbled Holliday’s strong throw to the plate.
After Giambi hit Aybar, the inning finally ended when Holliday caught Willits’ fly while running smack into shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
And right before Maicer Izturis chased Mazzaro with an RBI single in the fourth, Mazzaro threw a pickoff attempt past Giambi, allowing Figgins to move from first to third on a play resembling a similar mistake by Los Angeles’ Joe Saunders on Friday.
Mazzaro yielded 10 hits and eight runs in his sixth loss in seven decisions since beginning his major league career with consecutive scoreless victories in early June.
Rivera left with tightness in his right leg, an injury that bothered him last week. He isn’t sure he’ll play Sunday. … Jon Wilhite, the lone survivor of the car crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart on April 9, threw out the first pitch to Oakland C Kurt Suzuki, who has raised more than $50,000 for his former college teammate’s recovery.