Athletics 3, Angels 1
The AL West used to be dominated by the Oakland Athletics and
Los Angeles Angels, who combined to win nine division titles from
2000 through 2009. Now it’s the Texas Rangers who are having all
The A’s were eliminated from playoff contention long ago, but
can take some satisfaction in keeping the Angels from getting to
the postseason. Oakland began it’s final road trip of 2011 with a
3-1 victory Friday night that hurt Los Angeles’ chances.
Gio Gonzalez outdueled 18-game winner Jered Weaver with 7 1-3
solid innings and Kurt Suzuki scored the go-ahead run in the eighth
on an error by third baseman Maicer Izturis. Jemile Weeks and David
DeJesus homered for the A’s, who are 10-7 against the Angels with
two games remaining and have clinched the season series for only
the second time in the last eight years.
”It’s fun to play the spoiler role. If we can do something
against them, it makes the games more meaningful,” De Jesus said.
”Weaver was on top of his game, but we were fortunate enough to
Gonzalez (15-12) matched his win total of last season, allowing
a run and three hits and striking out five. The left-hander is 6-1
with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts after going 0-5 with a 7.90 ERA in
his previous five.
”Gio’s been pitching great all year for us,” DeJesus said.
”He’s the type of guy who’s going to come right at you. He gets
wild sometimes, but he has the stuff to be an ace of a staff.”
Gonzalez, who leads the AL with 88 walks, departed in the bottom
of the eighth after one-out walks to Erick Aybar and pinch-hitter
Alberto Callaspo, who was replaced by pinch-runner Jeremy Moore.
Both runners advanced on Izturis’ groundout against Grant Balfour,
and another walk to Peter Bourjos loaded the bases.
That set the stage for Howie Kendrick, whose foul fly to right
field was caught by DeJesus, who chased Weaver in the ninth with
his 10th home run. Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect ninth for his
22nd save in 24 chances.
”I hate that we didn’t get any runs for Weaver. He pitched well
enough to get a win,” said Torii Hunter, who hit his 22nd
Gonzalez has won four straight starts against the Angels since
April 25, when Weaver beat him 5-0 with a seven-hitter at
”I don’t know how he loses a game the way he pitches against
us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”He’s always tough on us.
I don’t know if it’s matchups, but we didn’t get too many good
looks at him tonight.”
The Angels’ fifth loss in eight games dropped them 3 1/2 games
behind Boston in the AL wild-card race, and they have only five
games left to catch the Red Sox. They also have to jump over the
Tampa Bay Rays.
”It hurts that we can’t win the division title. That’s
understandable. But Texas played so well, we just couldn’t catch up
to those guys,” Hunter said. ”Now we still have a shot at the
wild card, and we still have some life left. All you want is just
to have a chance to get in. We still have a shot, but it’s very
frustrating that we can’t gain any ground.”
Weaver (18-8) lost any chance of becoming the Angels’ the sixth
pitcher in Angels history to win at least 20 games in a season and
only the second in the past 37 years – along with Bartolo Colon,
who went 21-8 in 2005 en route to a Cy Young Award. Weaver has one
start remaining, next Wednesday’s regular-season finale against
Weaver was charged with three runs – two earned – and six hits
while striking out eight and walking none. The right-hander, who
led the majors last season with 233 strikeouts, needs two more to
become only the second Angels right-hander with consecutive
200-strikeout seasons. Nolan Ryan fanned 200 or more seven times in
an eight-year span between 1972 and 1979 and set a modern major
league record with 383 in 1973.
The loss made Weaver 14-1 with a 1.36 ERA in the last 24 starts
in which he has pitched at least seven innings.
Suzuki led off the eighth with a single, was sacrificed to
second by Scott Sizemore and made it to third on a wild pitch
before a fielding error by Izturis on Weeks’ grounder allowed
Suzuki to score.
Rookie Mark Trumbo’s one-out single in the second inning was the
Angels’ only hit off Gonzalez until the seventh, when Hunter tied
it 1-all with a one-out homer on the first pitch. It was the 79th
RBI for the four-time All-Star, who had only four hits in 24 career
at-bats against Gonzalez before that at-bat.
One night after hitting his first major league home run in
Oakland’s 4-3 win over Texas, Weeks got his second one when he
drove Weaver’s third pitch of the game into the seats above the
18-foot wall in right-center. The two-time All-Star has allowed at
least one homer in six straight games, the longest such streak of
Weaver’s six-year career.
The crowd of 39,217 increased the Angels’ home attendance figure
to 2,965,557, guaranteeing them that they will finish with a higher
total than the Dodgers for the first time in the franchise’s
50-year history. The Dodgers completed their home schedule Thursday
night with a total of 2,935,139.
NOTES: This was the eighth time in Weaver’s 177 career starts
that he has given up a home run to the first batter he faced. The
other leadoff batters who did it to him were Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis
Granderson (twice), Shannon Stewart, Jacoby Ellsbury, Grady
Sizemore and Rafael Furcal. … SS Cliff Pennington’s two-base
throwing error on Vernon Wells’ routine grounder in the fifth
inning was his 22nd of the season, the second most in the league
behind Elvis Andrus’ 25 with the Rangers. Oakland has committed 123
errors, second most in the majors behind the Chicago Cubs’ 130. …
Oakland DH Hideki Matsui hasn’t had an RBI in his last 11 games,
eclipsing his previous longest drought in the major leagues. …
Weeks is batting .302 in 92 games (116 for 384). The highest
average by an Oakland rookie with at least 400 at-bats was Mitchell
Page’s .307 mark in 1977.