O.CO COLISEUM — In front of a packed Sunday night crowd, with the first 10,000 fans receiving a “Bullpen Unicorn” backpack, it was the A’s who were sent packing.
A’s starter Scott Kazmir (L, 14-6, 3.08 ERA) gave up seven runs in three innings against the rival Angels, with Los Angeles scoring an additional two runs off reliever Jesse Chavez.
Adding to the embarrassment of the 9-4 loss was that the game was televised on ESPN during primetime hours — and that the Angels took sole possession of first place.
A’s bats weren’t much better against Angels starter Jared Weaver (W, 14-7, 3.72 ERA) , though they showed some spark during a three-run seventh inning.
Asked about what happened, Kazmir responded:
“Just location. I hit maybe one spot the entire game. There was situations where I though ti’d be able to take control a little bit. I’d throw two strikes, get ahead of a guy, and then throw a ball. Whatever it is, breaking ball right down the middle. I feel like I was trying to trick people out there. Just throwing curveball, slider, changeup, instead of just focusing on my fastball.”
Kazmir struck out only one batter in his three innings. The run total was a season worst for Kazmir, and his hits allowed — ten — was a season high.
With little run support, the game was disheartening.
The A’s hit back-to-back home runs off Weaver, the first coming from Alberto Callaspo, and the second from infielder Andy Parrino.
Callaspo’s shot was a two-run dinger that got the Coliseum crowd on their feet. Parrino’s energized the building even more.
The A’s started a ninth-inning push, scoring one run on a sacrifice fly from Eric Sogard, but it was too little, too late.
Dan Otero, who was recalled from AAA earlier Sunday with closer Sean Doolittle hitting the disabled list, took over for Chavez and shut down the Angels in one frame. Fernando Abad followed suit in the eighth inning.
Ryan Cook pitched the ninth, allowing nothing and striking out one, but the A’s late push couldn’t get the job done.
The final pitch of the game was to Coco Crisp, a ball that seemed to nearly touch the dirt behind home plate, and was called a strike. Crisp began to gallop to first base before the signal was given.
Once he was rung up, Crisp threw his helmet down in disgust. A fan even threw a cup of beer from the second deck, and might have hit the home plate umpire had there been no screen.
The call, and the reactions, were symbolic of the entire game.
The fans booed at the umpires more than they booed Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, who’s been heckled perhaps more than any other opposing player in recent years.
Outfielder Sam Fuld did his best to back Kazmir Sunday, nearly catching what looked like a sure home run deep left field by shortstop Erick Aybar.
Fuld managed to get some leather on the ball, and prevented it from leaving the stadium. Two runs would score, though, and Aybar parked at second.
Fuld opined on the game, and overcoming losses:
“I think we’re good at that. No matter how you lose, try and put it behind us. Move on to tomorrow. Sometimes games like that, where your never really too close. Those are a little easier to swallow.”
On the loss, and the two wins preceding Sunday, Kazmir said:
“We feel good coming out of this series. We’d definitely like to get this one, to go into Houston and then play these guys again. But, overall, I feel like two out of three is good. We’re where we need to be, striking distance, take care of business in Houston and then see them again in L.A.”
The A’s have a seven game road trip beginning Monday, with three games at Houston and another four against the Angels.
The Oakland Athletics went 3-2 on this five-game homestand against New York-NL (1-1) and Los Angeles-AL (2-1) and now lead the season series against Los Angeles 8-4. … The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak against the Angels and marks their first home loss to Los Angeles since Sept. 18, 2013. … Alberto Callaspo (3-for-4) is 12-for-30 (.400) over his last nine games after going 9-for-42 (.214) in his previous 13 games after being reinstated from the disabled list July 27. … Brandon Moss (0-for-4) is 0 for his last 18. Moss is batting .158 (9-for-57) with no home runs, four RBI and 26 strikeouts in 18 games in August. Moss has not homered since July 24, and his 24-game homerless streak is his longest as an Athletic.