Anaheim at Oakland

Scoreboard
L.A. Angels (93-59) «1000203006121
Oakland (71-81)000000004480

Three HRs in four-pitch span in seventh help Angels escape sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

OAKLAND, Calif. -- If K-Rod's memory serves him right, this might have been the first time he didn't point to the sky in salute of his grandfather following a save.

"I'd say probably yes," Francisco Rodriguez said after he had to work hard to extend his major league record with his 59th save. "I was upset with myself. I hope he doesn't get mad at me."

Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli and Brandon Wood hit solo home runs in order during a span of four pitches from Keith Foulke in the seventh inning and the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels withstood a late rally by the Oakland Athletics for a 6-4 victory Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.

"It just happened," Napoli said. "We had the lead already and Kendry came up and put a good swing on a pitch. I came up and was just trying to drive a ball, and Woody put a good swing on a pitch and we happened to hit back-to-back-to-back."

Torii Hunter returned to the Angels lineup after injuring his cheekbone a day earlier, then stole home and hit a pair of singles. Hunter was hit in the right cheekbone by a ball while working in the indoor batting cage before Wednesday night's game. His second hit Thursday chased A's starter Josh Outman (1-1) in the fifth.

The Angels hit three straight homers for the first time since May 24, 2004, at Toronto, helping Joe Saunders (16-7) win his second straight decision -- just his second victory in nine starts. The Angels had hit back-to-back homers three other times this year.

"That's kind of special. That's weird," Hunter said. "I've been facing that guy for years when he was with the White Sox. I feel bad for him. It was fun to see it, but on the other side it's not nice."

Saunders pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed six hits, struck out four and walked three in an efficient 87-pitch performance.

The Angels, still dealing with injuries to several key starters, doubled their run total from the first two games of the series. They lost 8-1 on Tuesday and then 3-2 Wednesday night.

"It's a pretty good three-player at-bat right there," manager Mike Scioscia said of the home runs. "To see those kids get up there and swing the bats good in that inning is why we're excited about our player development and guys coming up."

The A's had their four-game winning streak snapped and were trying to match their season-best stretch of five straight victories, which they accomplished from April 8-12 and again from May 21-27. Oakland hasn't swept a series since taking all three at San Francisco from June 13-15 -- a span of 25 series.

Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on a hit by pitch and two walks, then pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez singled in the A's first run.

After Jose Arredondo struck out pinch-hitter Travis Buck, Rodriguez entered and recorded the final two outs for his 59th save in 66 chances after blowing an opportunity Wednesday. Pinch-hitter Jack Cust drew a bases-loaded walk from Rodriguez, Oakland scored another run on Aaron Cunningham's groundout and Kurt Suzuki singled in a run.

"The way I've been throwing yesterday and today, I'm not really happy," Rodriguez said. "I can do a better job. Everything is there, the velocity's there. I'm not making the right pitches in the right situations. Tomorrow's another series, another game. I'll be all right. I hit a bump and had a couple of shaky outings. I always bounce back quick. It's nothing to be concerned about. When it's time for the playoffs, I'll be ready."

The A's had loaded the bases against Saunders with no outs in the fourth but couldn't capitalize. Saunders retired Jack Hannahan on a called third strike to escape the jam unscathed.

Oakland manager Bob Geren was pleased to see his team fight back after the three-homer inning.

"It was quick -- it was on four pitches," he said. "That's great about this team, they never quit."

Oakland's Jeff Baisley singled in the third for his first major league hit after starting 0-for-12. He singled again in the seventh.

Notes

  • Scioscia is seriously considering a three-man starting rotation and to carry 10 pitchers for the first round of the playoffs. He isn't concerned with the opposing club possibly getting two chances against two Los Angeles pitchers in the best-of-5 division series. "Our guys have enough experience to make the adjustments," he said.
  • A's leadoff hitter Rajai Davis stole his 25th base with Oakland and his 29th overall after starting the year across San Francisco Bay with the Giants.
  • The Angels expected to know more about 3B Chone Figgins' status Thursday night. He was to have his tender right elbow re-examined by team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern California. With 2B Howie Kendrick (strained hamstring) still on the DL, Figgins could be needed to play some at second next week.
  • A's All-Star RHP Justin Duchscherer threw 10 pitches in a simulated game before feeling pain in his strained right hip. He won't start Saturday as the club had hoped and is doubtful for the remainder of 2008.
 
Copyright 2014 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.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Mike Napoli gets in on the act in the seventh inning with a solo job for the AL West champions.  (AP)
Mike Napoli gets in on the act in the seventh inning with a solo job for the AL West champions. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

J. Saunders
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 3
K 4
Anaheim

M. Napoli
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 23, 2014
Raiders at Broncos Preview (2:57)
December 1, 2014
Boomer & Carton: Football coming to LA?
(2:58)
December 23, 2014
Jim Rome: Dez Bryant's contract
(3:09)
December 23, 2014
Hammerin' Hank's picks: Week 17
(6:54)

CBSSports.com Shop

Mens Chicago Cubs Nike Royal Blue Classic Pullover Hoodie

MLB Cold Weather Gear
Get your favorite team
Shop Now

Los Angeles Angels
Reggie Willits, LF3100201 .172
Gary Matthews Jr., RF5030000 .239
Mark Teixeira, DH3111202 .304
Torii Hunter, CF5120013 .282
Robb Quinlan, 3B5011013 .260
Kendry Morales, 1B4111104 .244
Mike Napoli, C4121113 .225
Brandon Wood, SS5111023 .194
Sean Rodriguez, 2B4010010 .192
Totals38612566  
Batting
2B - Gary Matthews Jr. (18, Gray), Sean Rodriguez (7, Outman)
HR - Kendry Morales (2, Foulke), Mike Napoli (17, Foulke), Brandon Wood (5, Foulke)
RBI - Mark Teixeira (115), Robb Quinlan (11), Kendry Morales (4), Mike Napoli (39), Brandon Wood (12)
SB - Torii Hunter (18, off Casilla/Suzuki), Robb Quinlan (4, 2nd base off Casilla/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Quinlan-Napoli, Saunders-Wood-Morales, Saunders-Wood-Morales
E - Robb Quinlan (4, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (W,16-7) 7600340 3.52
Justin Speier 1000010 5.32
Jason Bulger0022100 7.94
Jose Arredondo 0.1122110 1.66
Francisco Rodriguez (S,59) 0.2100100 2.35
HBP - Denorfia (by Jason Bulger)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 87-53, Justin Speier 11-7, Jason Bulger 7-2, Jose Arredondo 15-8, Francisco Rodriguez 16-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 8-7, Francisco Rodriguez 2-0
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 28, Justin Speier 3, Jason Bulger 2, Jose Arredondo 3, Francisco Rodriguez 4
Oakland Athletics
Rajai Davis, CF4010014 .243
   a- Jack Cust, PH0001100 .228
Aaron Cunningham, LF5001014 .305
Kurt Suzuki, C5011003 .284
Emil Brown, DH2000221 .244
   b- Ryan Sweeney, PH-DH1000002 .299
Chris Denorfia, RF3110001 .264
Bobby Crosby, SS2100200 .241
Cliff Pennington, 2B3110101 .265
Jack Hannahan, 3B3010013 .217
   c- Carlos Gonzalez, PH1111000 .243
Jeff Baisley, 1B3020000 .133
   d- Travis Buck, PH1000013 .183
Totals3348466  
a-walked for Davis in the 9th
b-grounded out for E. Brown in the 9th
c-singled for Hannahan in the 9th
d-struck out for Baisley in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Jack Cust (70), Aaron Cunningham (12), Kurt Suzuki (40), Carlos Gonzalez (24)
2-OUT RBI - Kurt Suzuki (13)
SB - Rajai Davis (29, 2nd base off Saunders/Napoli)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Crosby-Pennington-Baisley
Oakland Athletics
Josh Outman (L,1-1) 4.1633340 4.61
Santiago Casilla 0.2100100 3.28
Alan Embree 1000210 4.47
Keith Foulke 1333003 4.06
Jeffrey Gray 1100010 4.91
Dan Meyer 1100000 7.71
IBB - Teixeira by Alan Embree
WP - Santiago Casilla (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Outman 93-53, Santiago Casilla 20-12, Alan Embree 20-8, Keith Foulke 13-10, Jeffrey Gray 14-8, Dan Meyer 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Outman 5-4, Alan Embree 1-1, Keith Foulke 1-2, Jeffrey Gray 1-1, Dan Meyer 1-1
Batters Faced - Josh Outman 22, Santiago Casilla 4, Alan Embree 5, Keith Foulke 6, Jeffrey Gray 4, Dan Meyer 3
Game Information
Attendance - 12645
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Andy Fletcher