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A’s surge past Angels with mighty seventh inning to secure sweep

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The A’s swept the Angels Thursday afternoon, their 10-6 win fueled by a seven-run, seventh-inning rally they came into down 6-1 and batted around, faced five different pitchers, and completed the inning up 8-6.

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Controversial calls early helped the Angels (65-76) gain momentum, but the A’s (81-58) didn’t give up. Bob Melvin said his team started a little sluggish but turned it on late:

“When we are our best we hit home runs and we make pitchers work hard. Draw walks, pass the baton to the next guy. It definitely played out in that inning. For a while it didn’t feel great. We never really have a feeling in our dugout that it might not work for us.”

A.J. Puk (W, 1-0, 4.19 ERA) earned his first career win in the majors and pitched two innings. He gave up a homer but only allowed one of the Angels’ six runs:

“It definitely felt good to get out there and get some swings and misses. Just get back out and compete and do my job … It was definitely cool getting the first win and hold them. Smith got the homer but holding them and the offense came in there and did their job and got us the win.”

Chad Pinder lead off the key seventh and lined out to left. There wouldn’t be another out for the next seven batters, as Sheldon Neuse singled to center and Josh Phegley hit a home run to left field to make it 6-3.

Marcus Semien singled off Ty Buttrey (L, 6-7, 4.12 ERA) before four walks in a row brought in two runs. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Mark Canha all walked on full counts. Canha walked to bring in Semien which made it 6-4. Jurickson Profar walked after a pitching change, bringing in Chapman to cut the lead to it 6-5. Then Khris Davis grounded out to Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, which allowed Olson to score and tie the game 6-6 with two outs. Patience in the batters box was key.

Adalberto Mejia was warming up while Robbie Grossman was waiting for his first plate appearance of the game. Grossman had played with Mejia and knows what he has:

“Pinch hitting you have to be aggressive early. You are sitting on the bench the whole game and you have to see where you are at on the first pitch. I put a good swing on it and luckily Mr. Trout didn’t catch it.”

An earlier version of this story misspelled Robbie Grossman’s name. SFBay regrets the error.

Grossman pinch-hit for Pinder and batted right-handed, which isn’t something he does often. He swung at the first pitch bounced a triple off the wall in deep center to clear the bases and gave the A’s a 8-6 lead, scoring Canha and Profar.

Grossman pinch-hit for Pinder and batted right-handed, which isn’t something he does often. He swung at the first pitch bounced a triple off the wall in deep center to clear the bases and gave the A’s a 8-6 lead, scoring Canha and Profar.

The Angels held momentum most of the game until the seventh inning. It felt as if the game was over when they lead 4-1. An ugly first inning defensively allowed the Angels to load the bases and score runs in the first and third. Kevan Smith hit a solo home run in the sixth to give the Angels their sixth run of the day.

A’s starter Brett Anderson (ND, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER) said:

“It was a battle. I gave up quite the hits. Upton’s in the first and Trouts homer, other than that it wasn’t a lot of hard contact. It was my stuff and execution wasn’t that different with my last start against the Yankees they just found some holes and the top of their line up is pretty tough to face but gotta give credit to my offense and the at-bats they had late in the game.”

The A’s rally continued in the eight inning. Semien hit a hard ground ball down the third base line that landed near the foul pole for a standing double. The Angels intentionally walked Olson with two outs, then pegged Canha to load the bases.

Profar hit a hight popup to shallow center and Trout was unable to catch it due to the sun in his eyes. Semien and Olson scored on the play and Davis made the final out. The A’s increased their lead to 10-6. Liam Hendriks once again pitched a perfect ninth inning to clinch the win.

Grossman talked about the team’s mentality and confidence. They never give up:

“That is just the mentality of this team. We are never out. How many times this season has something like that occurred? This team is full of confidence and we never feel like we are out.”

Canha was hit by a pitch Friday night and again Saturday. Marcus Semien was pegged in the lower back earlier in the game on a 96 mph fastball.

Everything that could have gone wrong for the A’s infield went wrong in the first inning. Fletcher popped out swinging at the first pitch. Trout reached on a grounder to Semien; Trout was safe by a step, and it was so close it could have been challenged but the A’s didn’t challenge it.

Albert Pujols hit a hard grounder to Chapman, who made a great attempt to get to the ball but fumbled it. He tried to throw to second and then to first, but he held on to it and it was ruled a hit.

Brian Goodwin hit a ground ball to Olson on first who threw to Semien for the tag at second then tossed it back to first to Anderson who hopped on the bag, but not in time. With two outs, Upton stepped up to the plate and hit a laser to center field off the wall, about a foot shy of a home run. The ball bounced off the wall and over Canha’s head. Canha chased the ball down stumbling to get to it and two runs scored.

Bob Melvin talked about three questionable calls that all went against Oakland. Even Olson, who was as safe as Trout or Pujols, was called out:

“The one we challenged we didn’t get. We always look at it. I get what I get from the video room. Adam does a great job. We just don’t seem very lucky. I was still looking at the board and I thought the call [Olson] was safe.”

Fletcher led off the second with a beautiful bunt down the third-base line that Phegley and Chapman couldn’t get to in time. Trout swung at the first pitch and smashed a 455-foot rocket to center field with an 111.1-mph exit velocity. Canha in center didn’t even move when it was hit.

Anderson struggled early, and a couple of plays didn’t go his way:

“It was a battle. I gave up quite the hits. Upton’s in the first and Trouts homer, other than that it wasn’t a lot of hard contact. It was my stuff and execution wasn’t that different with my last start against the Yankees they just found some wholes and the top of their line up is pretty tough to face but gotta give credit to my offense and the at bats they had late in the game.”

The Angels used Luke Bard as an opener, who allowed a run. Jose Suarez lasted 5-1/3 innings and allowed two runs off five hits.

Up Next

The A’s will continue their suspended game tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. against the Detroit Tigers and then play a regular scheduled game after at 7:07 p.m. Homer Bailey (12-8, 4.96 ERA) will face Spencer Turnbull (3-14, 4.45 ERA) in the scheduled game.

Notes

Sean Manaea will pitch on Sunday. … Ramon Laureano will play tomorrow. .. Marcus Semien went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two singles.

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