Angels miss chances, lose 2-1 to Athletics
Mike Trout hit another monster home run over the center-field fence, and he made some major league history in the process.
That first-inning homer was all the Los Angeles Angels could manage in a 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night, when Josh Donaldson hit a game-winning, bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning.
Trout connected on a 1-0 pitch from Sonny Gray with two outs in the first to stake the Angels to another early lead. The Angels said Trout became the first player in AL history with 25 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 100 walks.
''We're still playing good baseball as a club right now and everybody's pretty happy about that,'' starting pitcher Garrett Richards said.
Trout has 25 homers and 30 steals for the second straight year.
Donaldson delivered his third career game-ending hit - all this season - in Oakland's eighth walkoff victory this year. He received both a whipped cream pie from Josh Reddick followed by a dumping from the Gatorade bottle.
''I guess I have success in that situation,'' said Donaldson, 8 for 11 with 16 RBIs when the bases are loaded. ''I think a big part of it is allowing the ball to get deeper to me and hitting the ball up the middle to right-center.''
Grant Balfour (1-3) struck out the side in order in the ninth for the win as Oakland decreased its magic number to win the West to six.
Alberto Callaspo singled to start the bottom of the ninth against Michael Kohn (1-3) and Jemile Weeks entered as a pinch-runner. Weeks advanced on Stephen Vogt's fly to left and pinch-hitter Jed Lowie was intentionally walked to bring up Coco Crisp.
Crisp walked on the 10th pitch he saw to load the bases. Daric Barton struck out with the Angels bringing in right fielder Kole Calhoun as a fifth infielder.
''In the position we're in as a team, it was a timely hit by J.D.,'' Weeks said. ''Coco's at-bat was huge. Everybody in that inning did something special.''
There had been 11 full-counts between the teams and none of those batters reached base until Crisp's free pass.
Donaldson fell behind 0-2 before coming through against Kohn.
''Mike almost got back from the brink. Really one pitch away,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Just couldn't get the fastball where he wanted to Donaldson and he hit it. ... Had Crisp 0-2 then lost him. Just a couple pitches got away from him and cost him.''
The A's lead the Rangers by 6 1-2 games. Texas won 7-1 at Tampa Bay to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Gray allowed one run and five hits, struck out five and walked one in six strong innings - but he faced six three-ball counts and saw his pitch count climb in a hurry. He threw 98 pitches.
Oakland reliever Ryan Cook hit consecutive batters with pitches, Howie Kendrick and Trout, to load the bases in the seventh after J.B. Shuck's two-out single. Jerry Blevins relieved and struck out Josh Hamilton as the Angels squandered an opportunity.
Richards struck out six in seven-plus innings, but is still winless in seven career outings and three starts against the A's. He gave way to Buddy Boshers after Donaldson beat out an infield single to start the eighth.
Richards is 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in four September starts.
''I feel like I've some major strides this year in a positive way,'' Richards said. ''I feel good about where I'm at right now.''
Boshers struck out Moss and Juan Gutierrez relieved to record the final two outs in the eighth.
The Angels lost for only the third time in their last 13 road games a day after a 12-1 win to snap the A's five-game winning streak.
This victory clinched the season series for Oakland over the Angels for the third straight year.
NOTES: The Angels reinstated INF Chris Nelson from the 15-day DL after he missed 19 games with a strained right hamstring. ... Kendrick struck out a season-high three times. ... Erik Aybar had his 46th multihit game of the year.