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Oakland (72-87) «0000000246100
L.A. Angels (86-73)101001020591

Angels lose a heartbreaker to the A's, now three back

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jordan Walden literally had the game in his grasp in the ninth inning.

Then it all came apart for the rookie closer and the Angels in a devastating defeat that left Los Angeles on the brink of elimination.

Walden wasted a three-run lead in the ninth inning, throwing away a potential game-ending, double-play grounder Sunday in a 6-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Los Angeles dropped three games behind Boston and two back of Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race with three games left.

"It hurts to lose a game like that," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "We got insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth and just couldn't close it out. There were some mistakes there, and they capitalized on them. When you've got a chance to get that wild card, you just can't make mistakes - defensively for sure. So this game really hurts, trust me. We've got an uphill battle. But at the same time, we've still got life left and we're still breathing."

Trying to get a four-out save, Walden gave up Josh Willingham's 28th homer leading off the ninth.

Scott Sizemore and Chris Carter singled with one out. Walden then threw Adam Rosales' comebacker past shortstop Erick Aybar and into center field as Sizemore scored.

"I knew I was working with Aybar," Walden said. "But the ball was hit back to me so hard and so quick, I hesitated for a second and the ball just sailed on me."

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Kurt Suzuki then sliced an opposite-field double to right on a 1-2 pitch, delivering the tying run, and Coco Crisp put the A's ahead with his second sacrifice fly of the game.

"I blew one by Suzuki and then threw another one that was better, but he just stuck his bat out there and it went down the line," Walden said. "I let the team down. We battled all day and I lost the game for us. It's tough. I'm really disappointed in myself. I feel like if I take it home with me, I might stay awake until 6 in the morning and not get any sleep."

It was Walden's 10th blown save in 42 chances.

Fautino De Los Santos (3-2) got the victory despite giving up a two-run single to Peter Bourjos in the eighth. Andrew Bailey got three outs for his 23rd save in 25 attempts.

"We had a couple of great at-bats, like Kurt Suzuki on that ball to right field in a key situation, and then that ground ball up the middle that could have ended the game gave us a chance," Willingham said.

The A's won the season series 11-8, their best record against the Angels since going 12-8 in 2003. The loss left Los Angeles three games behind Boston and two back of Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race with three games left.

"It hurts to lose a game like that," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "We got insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth and just couldn't close it out. There were some mistakes there and they capitalized on them. When you've got a chance to get that wild card, you just can't make mistakes - defensively for sure. So this game really hurts, trust me. We've got an uphill battle - but at the same time, we've still got life left and we're still breathing."

Joel Pineiro made his final start of the season for the Angels on his 33rd birthday, allowing three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings and retiring his first 13 batters. He took a one-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the seventh, then watched the collapse on television in the clubhouse.

Oakland's Rich Harden allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and finished his season with a 5.12 ERA.

Bobby Abreu's RBI single in the first and third-inning homer built a two-run lead, and Vernon Wells' 25th homer made it 3-0 in the fifth.

Jemile Weeks' RBI single and Crisp's first sacrifice fly cut the gap to 3-2 in the eighth -- the latter driving in the first run against Downs at home in 28 appearances this season.

Notes

  • DeJesus robbed Howie Kendrick of extra bases in the fifth, making a backhanded grab of his drive toward the corner and colliding with the short padded fence. He bruised his left hip on the play, but played one more inning before leaving the game.
  • For the second straight game, Angels 1B Mark Trumbo had to come out after six innings because of discomfort in his right ankle.
  • A ceremonial first pitch was thrown by David Eckstein, the shortstop on the Angels' 2002 World Series championship team.
  • Abreu batted .237 against Oakland this season with one home run. Last season, he hit .328 against the A's with six homers.
  • Harden was 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts against AL West teams this year, and 4-0 with a 3.86 ERA in eight starts against other clubs.
  • Jered Weaver, whose final start of the season is Wednesday against Texas, has a chance to join John Lackey and Frank Tanana as the only Angels pitchers to win an ERA title in the past 35 years. His 2.41 ERA is one point behind Justin Verlander, who made his final regular-season start on Saturday.
  • Oakland concludes its season with a three-game series at Seattle.
 
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.
 
 
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Angels' rookie closer Jordan Walden blows a save after coughing up a three-run ninth-inning lead. (Getty Images)
Angels' rookie closer Jordan Walden blows a save after coughing up a three-run ninth-inning lead. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Oakland

C. Crisp
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Anaheim

B. Abreu
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jemile Weeks, 2B4011110 .305
Coco Crisp, CF3012010 .267
Hideki Matsui, DH5010004 .249
Josh Willingham, LF4111012 .249
David DeJesus, RF2010000 .237
   a- Michael Taylor, PH-RF2000012 .217
Scott Sizemore, 3B4220001 .240
Brandon Allen, 1B2000000 .200
   b- Chris Carter, PH-1B2110001 .132
Eric Sogard, SS2000010 .197
   c- Jai Miller, PH1110000 .286
    Adam Rosales, SS1100000 .073
Landon Powell, C2000000 .167
   d- Kurt Suzuki, PH-C1011100 .238
Totals35610525  
a-grounded out for DeJesus in the 7th
b-flied out for Allen in the 8th
c-singled for Sogard in the 8th
d-walked for Powell in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kurt Suzuki (26, Walden)
HR - Josh Willingham (28, Walden)
SF - Coco Crisp 2 (6)
RBI - Jemile Weeks (36), Coco Crisp 2 (54), Josh Willingham (94), Kurt Suzuki (43)
SB - Coco Crisp (46, 3rd base off Cassevah/Mathis)
Team LOB - 6
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Rich Harden 6833152 5.12
Brian Fuentes 1000010 3.70
Fautino De Los Santos (W,3-2) 1122210 4.32
Andrew Bailey (S,23) 1000100 3.32
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 109-68, Brian Fuentes 11-7, Fautino De Los Santos 21-10, Andrew Bailey 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 5-8, Brian Fuentes 2-0, Fautino De Los Santos 1-0, Andrew Bailey 1-2
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 27, Brian Fuentes 3, Fautino De Los Santos 5, Andrew Bailey 4
Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Erick Aybar, SS5000012 .278
Howard Kendrick, 2B4110100 .286
Bobby Abreu, DH5122011 .255
Torii Hunter, RF3110101 .262
Mark Trumbo, 1B3000032 .254
    Efren Navarro, 1B0000000 .000
Alberto Callaspo, 3B3120100 .290
Vernon Wells, LF4111013 .220
Peter Bourjos, CF3022110 .271
Jeff Mathis, C3000003 .176
   a- Maicer Izturis, PH1000000 .278
Totals3459547  
a-popped out for Mathis in the 9th
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (23, Harden)
3B - Howard Kendrick (6, Harden)
HR - Bobby Abreu (8, Harden), Vernon Wells (25, Harden)
SH - Efren Navarro (1)
RBI - Bobby Abreu 2 (58), Vernon Wells (66), Peter Bourjos 2 (41)
2-OUT RBI - Vernon Wells (29), Peter Bourjos 2 (19)
SB - Torii Hunter (5, 3rd base off De Los Santos/Suzuki), Alberto Callaspo (8, 2nd base off De Los Santos/Suzuki), Vernon Wells (9, 2nd base off Harden/Powell)
CS - Peter Bourjos (9, 2nd base by De Los Santos/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Kendrick-Trumbo
E - Jordan Walden (1, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Joel Pineiro 6.1300040 5.13
Bobby Cassevah (H,6) 0.2111000 2.87
Scott Downs (H,26) 0.2211100 1.34
Jordan Walden (BS,10; L,5-4) 0.2442111 2.73
Hisanori Takahashi 0.2000000 3.49
IBB - Weeks by Jordan Walden
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Pineiro 77-55, Bobby Cassevah 16-9, Scott Downs 18-10, Jordan Walden 22-14, Hisanori Takahashi 3-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Pineiro 9-5, Bobby Cassevah 1-1, Jordan Walden 1-1
Batters Faced - Joel Pineiro 21, Bobby Cassevah 3, Scott Downs 5, Jordan Walden 8, Hisanori Takahashi 2
Game Information
Attendance - 40794
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Tom Hallion