Angels 4, Athletics 2

Torii Hunter, a nine-time Gold Glove center fielder with a

reputation for robbing players of home runs, now plays right field

while protege Peter Bourjos does his best imitation of the

four-time All-Star.

Bourjos robbed Landon Powell of a two-run homer just two innings

after Hunter opened the game’s scoring with a home run, and Dan

Haren pitched the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-2 victory over the

Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

”I’ve just been trying to go out there and play good defense,”

Bourjos said. ”I haven’t been doing too well offensively, so

you’ve got to bring something to the table every day. And right now

it’s my defense. I just hope I do it for a long time, because that

means I’ve had a long career.”

Powell sent Haren’s 3-2 pitch to center field and Bourjos timed

his leap perfectly at the fence before pulling it back. On Aug. 23

at Angel Stadium, Bourjos did the same thing to Tampa Bay’s B.J.

Upton – four innings after robbing Sean Rodriguez of a homer and

having the ball bounce off his glove and back in play for a

double.

”I think this one was a little more difficult than Upton’s.

That one was hit a lot higher, so that gave me some time to get

back there,” Bourjos said.

”When Powell hit the ball, I wasn’t too sure how well he hit

it. And then when I realized it, I was able to get back to the wall

and make the play. Usually, I expect a ball hit by a left-hander to

tail away from me. But it stayed true, so that kind of surprised

me. Torii said: `It gave me goose bumps,’ so that’s a pretty good

compliment.”

Bourjos lost a home run to a replay reversal after third base

umpire CB Bucknor incorrectly ruled that his towering drive toward

the left field pole on a 2-2 pitch from Dallas Braden was fair.

Instead of a three-run homer, Bourjos returned to the plate and

flied out before Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice fly gave the Angels a

4-2 lead.

”When I got to first base, I saw it and I’m like: `Wow, that’s

really foul.’ I stood there for a second because I didn’t see CB

make any gesture, and then he did, so I had to keep running,”

Bourjos said. ”But they ended up getting the call right. For an

umpire, that’s a tough call. That’s why they have the replay.”

Haren (4-4) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings,

struck out five and walked one. The right-hander threw 96 pitches

and was lifted after the Angels took a 3-2 lead on Mike Napoli’s

RBI single and Hideki Matsui’s run-scoring groundout in the

sixth.

Haren, who has a 2.86 ERA in 13 starts since joining the Angels

in a trade from Arizona on July 25, is one-third of an inning shy

of his career-high total of 229 1-3 in 2009, and is scheduled to

get the ball for the season finale on Sunday at Texas – for now, at

least.

”Me and (manager Mike) Scioscia have talked about it a little

bit, and I’m sure I’ll talk to him again tomorrow. So we’ll see

what he says,” Haren said. ”I’d like to finish this year out

strong, but I’d rather he make the decision. In the grand scheme of

things, it probably won’t matter. I just wish I was pitching in

October, but that’s not the case.”

Kevin Jepsen and Jordan Walden each worked a scoreless inning of

one-hit relief and Fernando Rodney got his 14th save in 20 chances

after giving up a two-out single to Cliff Pennington and a walk to

Rajai Davis.

Braden (10-14) gave up four runs – three earned – and 10 hits

over seven innings and struck out three without walking a batter.

The left-hander is 1-6 with a 5.36 in his previous seven starts

against the Angels, including a 4-0 loss on May 14 in which he

threw a complete game and lost to the pitcher the Angels traded

away to get Haren – Joe Saunders.

”It could have been better,” Braden said. ”I started to

labor. The effort at this point I think is mental. At this point

it’s just about talking yourself into it. The only bright spot is

that there were no walks. No free passes. Make them earn their

keep. They earned it.”

If Braden doesn’t get the win in Oakland’s season finale at

Seattle on Sunday, he will make some dubious history. None of the

other 16 pitchers who have thrown a perfect game since 1900 have

finished with fewer than 11 victories in the season they did it –

including Roy Halladay, who is 21-10 this season after getting his

perfecto on May 29. Kenny Rogers finished the 1994 campaign 11-8

after no-hitting the Angels, and Don Larsen was 11-5 in 1956 before

pitching the only no-hitter in a World Series.

Hunter drove Braden’s first pitch of the second inning into the

lower seats in the left field corner for his 22nd home run,

matching his total from last season. Kevin Kouzmanoff also hit a

first-pitch homer into the same area to tie the score 1-all, just

three batters after Bourjos robbed Powell.

”Every time he makes a play like that, I get chills, because I

see myself doing that,” Hunter said. ”He was going back full

speed and was able to plant his feet before the wall and jump up

and catch it. That reminded me of me. Defensively, he can play with

anybody.”

NOTES: Angels LF Bobby Abreu played in his 150th game of the

season, the 13th consecutive year he has reached that figure. …

Hunter is batting a team-high .285 with five games remaining. The

last time the Angels finished a season without one of their

regulars batting .300 or better was 2001. … Angels relievers have

given up 32 home runs, the fewest by any bullpen in the AL and

three more than San Francisco’s pen. It is their lowest total since

giving up 28 in 1990. … Kouzmanoff’s homer was Oakland’s 100th.

The only season the A’s failed to reach triple digits since moving

from Kansas City to Oakland was 1968, their first season in the Bay

Area.