|L.A. Angels (58-42) «||1||0||0||1||3||0||0||1||1||7||15||0|
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- John Lackey has lost count of how many victories Francisco Rodriguez has saved for him. So when the All-Star closer blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday, Lackey took it easy on him.
"That's not going to happen too often. I can't wait to hand him the ball the next time I've got the lead in the ninth," Lackey said after the Los Angeles Angels pulled out a 7-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth by Maicer Izturis.
"It would have been nice to get the win, but the team got it," Lackey said after he was denied his 13th victory. "Right now we just need to win games. It doesn't matter how they look or how it happens. Frankie's a great closer. There was just some weird stuff that happened in that inning."
Rodriguez (4-2) took the ball with a 6-3 cushion before Travis Buck ignited the three-run rally with a bloop double and scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Nick Swisher. Mike Piazza helped fuel the rally with a broken-bat single, Rodriguez forced in another run with a bases-loaded walk to Mark Kotsay and Marco Scutaro tied it with a sacrifice fly.
"I didn't get the job done," Rodriguez said after his third blown save in 28 chances. "My pitching was fine, but I just couldn't control what happened. They got some bloop hits and broken-bat hits and it all fell apart.
"It's a relief that we won. It would have been much worse if we lost. But I've got to step up and put zeros on the boards. I've got to make sure this doesn't happen again, because they pay me to save games - not get wins."
Casey Kotchman singled with one out in the Angels' ninth, advanced to second on a groundout, took third on a passed ball by Rob Bowen and scored when Izturis rapped a 2-1 pitch to left field against Joe Kennedy (3-9).
Kennedy dropped to 1-10 lifetime against the Angels. His only win against them came on Monday night, when he pitched two scoreless innings and was awarded the victory after starter Chad Gaudin was pulled in the fourth with a 9-5 lead.
While Piazza was in the on-deck circle in the ninth, he was struck by a water bottle thrown by a fan several rows up. The game was stopped briefly while a furious Piazza used his bat to point out the culprit to the umpires and security people. The bottle-thrower was escorted out while a few of Piazza's teammates calmed him down.
"It hit me partly on the back of the head and partly on the helmet where the ear flap is nonexistent. That's why I'm going to press charges on him," said Piazza, who homered in the fifth inning.
"It was a gutless move, but what are you going to do? Once they started asking who it was, he just tried to run away - so there you go. Hopefully he'll spend the night in jail. I mean, in this day and age, you shouldn't be surprised. But there's just no excuse for that. It's absolutely ridiculous."
Before the game, the A's placed injury-prone shortstop Bobby Crosby on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left hand. He was hit by a fastball from Justin Speier in the eighth inning of Oakland's 4-3 victory Tuesday night. Crosby, the 2004 AL Rookie of the Year, is on the DL for the fifth time in the past three seasons.
The AL West-leading Angels grabbed a 5-3 lead with three runs in the fifth. After Piazza's homer put Oakland up 3-2, Chone Figgins tied it with an RBI double, Reggie Willits scored the go-ahead run on Orlando Cabrera's groundout and Garret Anderson followed with an RBI single.
In the top of the inning, Piazza drove an 0-1 pitch to center field for his 422nd homer. All three of his home runs this season have come at Angel Stadium, including a three-run drive Monday night against Dustin Moseley and a tiebreaking solo homer off Rodriguez in the ninth inning of a 4-3 win April 5.
Joe Blanton gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings, becoming the first Oakland pitcher to allow at least 10 hits in four consecutive starts since Rick Langford in 1982. Blanton has a 6.75 ERA during that stretch, after leading the AL in June with a 1.58 mark.
Lackey allowed three runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings with seven strikeouts.
|Travis Buck starts a 3-run rally for the Athletics, but the Angels bounce back in the bottom of the 9th. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Travis Buck, RF||5||1||1||0||0||2||2||.284|
|Shannon Stewart, LF||5||0||2||0||0||1||1||.308|
|Nick Swisher, 1B||4||1||0||1||1||2||0||.252|
|Mike Piazza, DH||5||2||3||1||0||1||2||.298|
|Eric Chavez, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||3||0||0||0||2||1||2||.260|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||4||0||3||1||1||0||0||.224|
|Marco Scutaro, 3B||3||1||1||2||1||0||2||.243|
|Donnie Murphy, SS||4||0||1||1||1||0||6||.100|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.204|
|a- Jack Cust, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.252|
|Rob Bowen, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.209|
|a-struck out for Suzuki in the 8th|
|2B - Travis Buck (15, Rodriguez), Mark Kotsay (11, Lackey), Donnie Murphy (1, Lackey)|
|HR - Mike Piazza (3, Lackey)|
|SF - Marco Scutaro (1)|
|RBI - Nick Swisher (47), Mike Piazza (15), Mark Kotsay (18), Marco Scutaro 2 (18), Donnie Murphy (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - Marco Scutaro (12)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Ellis-Murphy-Swisher|
|PB - Rob Bowen (3)|
|E - Rob Bowen (5, Throwing), Donnie Murphy (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Joe Kennedy (L,3-9)||0.2||2||1||0||0||0||0||4.42|
|WP - Andrew Brown (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 96-62, Andrew Brown 23-15, Kiko Calero 24-12, Joe Kennedy 19-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 9-4, Andrew Brown 1-1, Kiko Calero 1-2, Joe Kennedy 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 27, Andrew Brown 6, Kiko Calero 6, Joe Kennedy 4|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Reggie Willits, RF||4||1||2||0||1||0||0||.305|
|Chone Figgins, 3B||5||2||3||2||0||1||0||.325|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||5||0||1||1||0||0||2||.310|
|Garret Anderson, LF||4||1||3||2||1||0||0||.301|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||5||1||3||1||0||1||4||.295|
|Gary Matthews Jr., CF||5||0||0||0||0||0||6||.268|
|Maicer Izturis, 2B||5||0||2||1||0||1||1||.257|
|Robb Quinlan, DH||3||2||1||0||1||0||1||.263|
|Jeff Mathis, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.111|
|2B - Chone Figgins (14, Blanton), Garret Anderson (18, Blanton), Casey Kotchman (19, Blanton)|
|RBI - Chone Figgins 2 (34), Orlando Cabrera (56), Garret Anderson 2 (22), Casey Kotchman (45), Maicer Izturis (19)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (14), Garret Anderson (2), Maicer Izturis (8)|
|SB - Chone Figgins (26, 2nd base off Calero/Bowen), Robb Quinlan 2 (3, 2nd base off Blanton/Suzuki, 3rd base off Calero/Bowen)|
|CS - Robb Quinlan (2, 2nd base by Blanton/Suzuki)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|PB - Jeff Mathis (2)|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Justin Speier (H,10)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.01|
|Scot Shields (H,23)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.41|
|Francisco Rodriguez (BS,3; W,4-2)||1||3||3||3||2||0||0||2.68|
|Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 110-64, Justin Speier 11-8, Scot Shields 20-10, Francisco Rodriguez 28-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 2-9, Francisco Rodriguez 1-2|
|Batters Faced - John Lackey 29, Justin Speier 3, Scot Shields 4, Francisco Rodriguez 8|
|Attendance - 44252|
|Game Time - 3:15|
|Temperature - 86|
|Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|