Anaheim at Oakland

L.A. Angels
W: J. Lackey (12-11) L: J. Blanton (16-12)
HR: ANA - None   OAK - None

Angels keep A's in check, Oakland's magic number remains at two

CBS wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Three souvenir bottles of bubbly belonging to Frank Thomas from Chicago's World Series championship last year remained corked on the floor beside a box of his bats.

The Oakland Athletics must wait at least another day to celebrate an AL West title.

Juan Rivera hit a go-ahead, three-run double in the sixth, John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels prevented Oakland from clinching the division on Saturday with a 6-2 victory over the A's.

"No party today," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.

Oakland's magic number to clinch its first AL West title since 2003 remained at two, so the A's could still do it at home with a win in Sunday's series finale. They lead Los Angeles by seven games with eight to go, including the final four of the season against the Angels in Anaheim.

"We've just got to figure out a way to win tomorrow," Thomas said. "It's not going to be easy. They're here to win."

The A's, who won Friday's opener 5-4 in the 12th inning, had their four-game winning streak snapped with only their second loss in 10 games. They still hope to celebrate on their home field after watching the Angels do so at the Coliseum the past two seasons.

"I think there's a pretty healthy respect for what the Angels have the ability to do and what they've done in the past," A's general manager Billy Beane said before the game. "Nothing's over 'til it's over. ... I don't think it's being viewed as payback."

Dan Haren takes the ball for the A's on Sunday against fellow 14-game winner Ervin Santana.

"You don't need to get hit with a brick in the head to know that it's a must-win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys won't melt."

Lackey (12-11) pitched a one-hit shutout in a 3-0 victory in Oakland on July 7 and looked great again. He struck out five and ended a two-start losing skid, allowing two runs and four hits.

"He was dirty," said Jay Payton, whose leadoff double in the fourth was the first hit allowed by Lackey. "He came out on a mission today."

Nick Swisher singled home Payton moments later to tie the score at 1.

Lackey improved to 8-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 17 career starts against the A's, matching his career high with 124 pitches.

"He was almost unbeatable," Oakland's Eric Chavez said. "I put him up there in the top five pitchers in baseball."

Jason Kendall also drove in a run for the A's with an infield single in the fifth, but Lackey retired his final seven batters, starting with a strikeout of Milton Bradley to end the fifth.

"It was kind of a pride thing," Lackey said. "It was kind of motivational. I didn't want to watch it (a celebration) on my day. We still mathematically have a chance. We're going to go down fighting."

Joe Blanton (16-12) intentionally walked cleanup hitter Garret Anderson in the sixth to load the bases for Rivera, who hit a shot to left. Payton terribly mistimed his jump and the ball hit the wall, though he likely would have had a tough time making the play anyway. Adam Kennedy followed with an RBI double for a 5-2 lead.

Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick each hit a sacrifice fly for the Angels, who evened the season series with Oakland at 7-all.

Blanton, who was looking for his team-leading and career-best 17th victory, remained winless at 0-6 in seven career starts and nine appearances against the Angels with a 3.81 ERA.

"I feel like every time I face them I catch bad breaks that end up costing me," Blanton said.

He allowed consecutive singles in the third before Figgins' sacrifice fly made it 1-0. Rivera's double was his 26th and one of three against Blanton in the Angels' four-run sixth.


  • Rivera is batting .343 (35-for-102) with runners in scoring position. His eighth-inning singln September.
  • Longtime A's public address announcer Roy Steele, who has dealt with a serious throat condition for more than a year, returned to the booth for the first time all season to call the game.
  • Scioscia tweaked his lineup slightly with Kennedy back in at 2B and Jose Molina catching.
  • The A's sold out for the second straight game and 12th time this year.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
The Angels' Juan Rivera connects for a three-run  double in the sixth, foiling the A's plans to clinch.  (AP)
The Angels' Juan Rivera connects for a three-run double in the sixth, foiling the A's plans to clinch. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Rivera
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

J. Lackey
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 2
K 5

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Los Angeles Angels
Maicer Izturis, 3B4100102 .288
Orlando Cabrera, SS5120000 .280
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4110004 .324
Garret Anderson, LF3100121 .280
Juan Rivera, RF4133000 .300
Adam Kennedy, 2B3011001 .272
   a- Robb Quinlan, PH0000100 .318
    Darin Erstad, 1B0000000 .221
Howie Kendrick, 1B-2B3111001 .278
Jose Molina, C4010003 .245
Chone Figgins, CF3011000 .261
a-walked for Kennedy in the 8th
2B - Orlando Cabrera (44, Blanton), Vladimir Guerrero (34, Blanton), Juan Rivera (26, Blanton), Adam Kennedy (26, Blanton)
SF - Howie Kendrick (3), Chone Figgins (7)
RBI - Juan Rivera 3 (81), Adam Kennedy (50), Howie Kendrick (27), Chone Figgins (57)
Team LOB - 5
Los Angeles Angels
John Lackey (W,12-11) 7422250 3.69
Brendan Donnelly 1000110 4.01
Hector Carrasco 1000010 3.72
WP - Brendan Donnelly (5)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 124-81, Brendan Donnelly 14-7, Hector Carrasco 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 9-7, Brendan Donnelly 1-1, Hector Carrasco 2-0
Batters Faced - John Lackey 27, Brendan Donnelly 4, Hector Carrasco 3
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C3011100 .294
Mark Kotsay, CF4000011 .274
Milton Bradley, RF3000113 .273
Frank Thomas, DH4000012 .272
Eric Chavez, 3B4000020 .240
Jay Payton, LF4110000 .296
Nick Swisher, 1B3111110 .255
Marco Scutaro, SS3010001 .257
Mark Ellis, 2B2000010 .248
2B - Jay Payton (31, Lackey)
SH - Mark Ellis (4)
RBI - Jason Kendall (45), Nick Swisher (90)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Chavez-Ellis-Swisher, Ellis-Scutaro-Swisher
Oakland Athletics
Joe Blanton (L,16-12) 7.1966220 4.84
Scott Sauerbeck0000100 4.97
Chad Gaudin 0.2000000 2.83
Ron Flores 1100000 2.70
IBB - G. Anderson by Joe Blanton
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 104-66, Scott Sauerbeck 4-0, Chad Gaudin 4-3, Ron Flores 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 8-11, Ron Flores 2-0
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 32, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Chad Gaudin 2, Ron Flores 3
Game Information
Attendance - 34077
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Ron Kulpa