How the Angels Won: It took eight Angels pitchers and a fourth inning filled with managerial antics and match-ups for the Halos to take a 2-0 win over the Oakland A's on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
The Angels (82-53) took the series with the Game 3 win. They've now won their last four straight over the once-formidable Athletics. The Angels now are a season-high four games ahead of the A's in the AL West.
"Is that we used was eight?" manager Mike Scioscia joked. "It wasn't quite mapped out like that but I think the way the little twists and turns of the game took us, especially getting a lead, we were lined up to use a lot of pitchers and get some of our bullpen into the game earlier."
Cory Rasmus started the game for the Angels, the first of his Major League career; and Huston Street earned his 35th save of the season (11th with the Halos) but it took six guys, including one who flew in last night from Double-A Arkansas (Michael Roth) in between to shut out the A's.
Stud of the Game: In his first big league start, Rasmus went three innings and struck out six. He threw 49 pitches in his longest outing of the season and although he said he felt "fine" after the third inning, he was removed for Roth after three.
"Cory got us off on a great foot throwing three innings like he did and at least getting us to a certain point in the game," Scioscia said. "I think that Cory did what we needed him to and maybe a couple outs more. If he had been a little fresher, maybe he starts the fourth but he was a little tired after the three innings. He hadn't gone that far in a long time."
Dud of the Game: With the exception of starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, it collectively was a lackluster effort by the A's. The defense looked bewildered during a crucial fourth inning, and the three errors cost them runs. Oakland hasn't scored in 22-straight innings.
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In the top of the frame with the bases loaded and one out, manager Bob Melvin sent Jonny Gomes up to pinch hit for right fielder Josh Reddick and face lefty Roth. Scioscia countered with his own move, bringing in relief right-handed fireballer Yoslan Herrera, who then got Gomes to roll over for an inning-ending double play.
But taking Josh Reddick out of the game was a crucial error. In the bottom of the inning, Howie Kendrick went first to third on an Erick Aybar RBI single; and Aybar took second on the throw. Sam Fuld, who moved over to right field after Reddick was removed, bobbled the ball and threw late.
A wild pitch then scored Kendrick from third, giving the Halos a 2-0 lead.
Reddick is adept at throwing runners out from deep in right field. With Yoenis Cespedes in Boston and Coco Crisp hurt at the moment, one of the staunchest outfields in the league now looks drastically different than it did when the team owned the best record in baseball.
Key Stat: Samardzija threw a complete game and was charged with the loss. Herrera threw four pitches and was awarded the win. Not to mention, the eight pitchers was the most ever used in a nine-inning shutout, which set a new club record for the most ever used in a nine-inning game.
They said it: Street pitched in four-straight games for the first time since 2010. He emphasized the fact that the coaching staff left the decision up to him; they asked him if he felt good enough to pitch and he said yes.
But when asked if he's honest with the coaches about his physical state, he simply shook his head and said, "Never."
What's next: The series finale at the Big A on Sunday afternoon; then a day off before one of the final road trips of the season.