Fuentes picks up 48th save as Angels edge A's

BY foxsports • October 4, 2009

Robb Quinlan isn't certain if he'll be on the Los Angeles Angels' postseason roster. At this point, he's more concerned about playing in their final regular-season game.

A utility infielder who played in only five games in September, Quinlan made his case to stick around by getting two hits and driving in three runs during a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

"I haven't heard anything at all and for a guy in my spot, I'm just thinking about tomorrow," Quinlan said. "Obviously I hope I'm on that playoff roster. I might not get to play all the time but when I do get in there I have to be ready to go and try to make things happen."

Scott Kazmir pitched five scoreless innings and Brian Fuentes pitched a scoreless ninth for his major league-leading 48th save for the Angels, who moved a season-high 31 games over .500.

Erick Aybar had three hits and scored twice in his return to the Angels lineup and Juan Rivera added a pair of hits before being lifted in the fifth inning when Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia substituted liberally to rest his starters for the postseason.

Rajai Davis had two hits and an RBI for the A's, who lost their sixth straight.

"It's getting late and it's tough to bring focus for the last few games," Davis said. "That's the challenge when you know as a team you aren't going to the playoffs. We haven't hit the ball as well as when we were winning."

Los Angeles, which plays Boston in the first round of the playoffs, won for the sixth time in seven games after a mid-September slump slowed the Angels' momentum.

"We had such a good winning attitude in July and August where we felt if we were down early or whatever the situation was, we felt like we were going to come back and win," Quinlan said. "So it's always good to get that attitude back. Hopefully it carries over to the playoffs."

Kazmir (10-9) struck out three in his final playoff tuneup. He didn't allow a runner past first base through the first four innings, faced just two over the minimum overall and gave up only three hits - one of which was an infield single.

"Scott threw the ball very well," Scioscia said. "It was a situation where he had a lot broader canvas to work on some things that he wanted to get in place for next week and he did that. He got everything that you would hope for out of that outing."

Kazmir also got some help from Los Angeles' defense which turned a double play and caught two Oakland baserunners trying to steal.

The Angels' bullpen almost let him down.

After Matt Palmer pitched two scoreless innings following Kazmir, Jason Bulger walked Bobby Crosby leading off the eighth and gave up a triple to Eric Patterson. Rafael Rodriguez replaced Bulger - who complained of tightness in his pitching shoulder - and promptly gave up an RBI double to Davis.

Aybar sat out Friday's 5-2 win after bruising his right wrist a night earlier against Texas but it didn't seem to affect his swing. He singled and scored in his first two at-bats against Oakland starter Dana Eveland (2-4), then had a broken-bat single off reliever John Meloan in the sixth.

Quinlan drove in Aybar and Juan Rivera with a two-run single in the second. Quinlan and Gary Matthews Jr. had RBI doubles in the fourth.

"(Quinlan's) got the ability to get out there and put the barrel on the ball, and that's what given him an opportunity to find a role and play in the major leagues," Scioscia said. "He would have more playing time in other situations but right here that's the role that's available to him and he's done a terrific job with it."

With his team set to face the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, Scioscia has been trying to find the right balance between keeping his players sharp and getting them rest before the postseason.

He substituted freely in the bottom of the fifth, taking out Rivera, slugger Vladimir Guerrero and leadoff hitter Chone Figgins.

Eveland gave up eight hits and threw a wild pitch just before Quinlan's two-run single in the second. The lefty, making just his third start since rejoining the A's rotation Sept. 20, couldn't make it out of the fifth and is winless in six career starts against the Angels.

NOTES: The Angels lead the AL with 47 road wins. ... A's pitchers struck out four to tie the franchise record of 1,117 set in 2001. ... Kazmir has allowed three earned runs or less in each of his last nine starts and is 8-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 career starts against Oakland.

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