ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jack Cust committed a brutal error during the second inning, leading to five unearned runs after his team had just taken a four-run lead in the top half. He spent the rest of the game trying to undo that gaffe.
Cust went 4-for-4 with a pair of walks and hit a go-ahead home run that triggered an eight-run fifth inning for the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night in a 15-8 victory, which salvaged a split of their four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.
"After I got a couple of hits, a couple of the guys were joking around, saying, 'Last year whenever you messed up a ball, you'd always rake.' And I was thinking the same thing in the outfield," Cust said. "It just kind of makes you bear down and not really think about anything else except contributing. Luckily, that was the case tonight."
Garret Anderson's two-out flyball popped out of Cust's glove after he camped under it in left field. It was his first error of the season. He started in left for the 14th time this season. Last year he started onlyy 12 games there, 46 games in right field and 56 games as a DH.
"I didn't even know I missed it until I saw (Ryan) Sweeney running after the ball. It just came out," Cust said.
Robb Quinlan then reached on an infield hit and Mike Napoli followed with an RBI single. Erick Aybar, the Angels' No. 9 hitter, drove a 2-0 pitch to right-center for his first home run of the season on Justin Duchscherer's 24th pitch of the inning that tied the score. Chone Figgins reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Gary Matthews Jr.
"Obviously, I felt pretty bad after the inning," Cust said. "I made Duke throw a lot of pitches and that stunk, but at the end of the day, it wasn't that bad."
Cust, who led the A's with 26 home runs and 82 RBI last season, led off the fifth and gave Oakland a 7-6 lead with his first home run in 40 career at-bats against Angels pitching. Los Angeles was the only AL opponent Cust had never hit a home run against.
"I was very happy for him," A's shortstop Bobby Crosby said. "He's out there doing the best he can. Everyone makes errors, so it was good to see him come alive with the bat."
Crosby and Frank Thomas each hit two-run singles during the 49-pitch meltdown by Angels relievers Dustin Moseley (1-3), Darren O'Day and Chris Bootcheck had in the fifth, which included a wild pitch by Bootcheck that accounted for the eighth and final run of the inning.
The Athletics, who beat the Halos 14-2 in the series opener Monday, had 20 hits -- perfect timing for A's fans holding tickets for a game Sunday against Texas. The deal was that each ticket-holder in the Plaza Level got a dollar off the price of the ticket for every hit Oakland got in this game.
"We've got enough good hitters on this team where we're going to score a decent amount of runs," Crosby said.
Oakland took a 6-5 lead in the fourth with the first of Barton's two RBI singles. Napoli tied it in the bottom half with his sixth home run.
Duchscherer (2-1) allowed six runs -- only one earned -- and six hits over five innings with six strikeouts in his 200th major league game and eighth career start. The right-hander, making his second start after missing three weeks with a biceps strain, ran his career record against the Angels to 6-0 -- although four of those victories came in relief.
Los Angeles starter Nick Adenhart, called up from Triple-A Salt Lake after middle infielder Maicer Izturis went on the disabled list with a strained lower back, gave up five runs, three hits and five walks over two-plus innings in his major league debut.
The 21-year-old right-hander, who has replaced Phil Hughes of the Yankees as the youngest player in the majors, was 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in five starts with the Bees. His overall record in the minors is 32-15.
"I let down the team first. You always want to go out and prove yourself to your teammates and your manager and your coaches," Adenhart said. "I was a disappointment to myself also."
Pitching on three days' rest, Adenhart got the side out in order in the first but walked four consecutive batters during Oakland's four-run second. Brown singled and scored the first run on a wild pitch to Jack Hannahan. Sweeney, the A's No. 9 hitter, drew a bases-loaded walk, and Suzuki followed with a two-run single inside third base.
Of Adenhart's 37 pitches that inning, 24 were balls.
"You knew he really couldn't command his pitches too well, so we were trying to be patient and get on any way we could," Crosby said.
Moseley, whose switch to the bullpen earlier this week forced the Angels to pluck Adenhart from the minors because of their need for a fifth starter, came on and gave up a single to Cust that loaded the bases. One out later, Hannahan hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 5.
- Angels INF Matt Brown drove in a pair of ninth-inning runs with a double, his first major league hit. Then he was optioned back to Salt Lake and OF Reggie Willits was recalled from the PCL club.
- A pregame moment of silence was observed in memory of former Angels vice president and general manager Buzzie Bavasi, who died Thursday at age 93. Gene Autry hired Bavasi in 1978, and the Angels won two division titles while he was there. But in 1979, he couldn't re-sign Nolan Ryan because Autry had turned down agent Dick Moss' request for the club to take out a life insurance policy on Ryan that would have cost the team $135,000. Ryan ended up signing with Houston as a free agent. Bavasi's comment was: "We'll just have to find a couple of 8-7 pitchers to replace him."