While it may not have resulted in a win Wednesday afternoon, Bob Melvin has to be pleased with the tenacity his players displayed in fighting back to nearly record their third comeback victory in four games. Unfortunately for the fans at O.Co Coliseum, the rally was extinguished with two men on in the bottom of the ninth and the Oakland Athletics fell 5-4 to the Los Angeles Angels.
The A’s had an opportunity to do some damage against Angels starter C.J. Wilson in the bottom of the first after a single by Yoenis Cespedes and a walk to Josh Donaldson loaded the bases with two outs, but Nate Freiman lined a ball into the glove of Mike Trout in center field to end the inning.
Howie Kendrick got things going for the Angels in the second with a solo home run, but Oakland answered back with consecutive RBI doubles in the third to take a 2-1 lead as Tommy Milone went to work. He’d allow an RBI single in the fifth and two solo home runs in the sixth from Trout and Mark Trumbo, and he left after the seventh with Oakland behind by a score of 4-2.
Milone tied a career-high in strikeouts (10) and didn’t walk a single batter, and in general he did a fantastic job keeping the Angels off the basepaths, allowing only three baserunners (not counting the home runs), with all of them getting aboard in the fifth inning.
The Angels added one more run on a sacrifice fly from Albert Pujols in the eighth to make it 5-2, and it was made possible when Trout tripled in the previous at-bat after Cespedes slipped on the warning track going for the fly ball. It could’ve been worse for the A’s as Pat Neshek then gave up a walk to Trumbo and a single to Josh Hamilton, but they were able to limit the damage when Josh Reddick got the final out when he threw out Hamilton as he went for third base on a single from Howie Kendrick.
Oakland rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to bring them within a run, and Cespedes was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth and represented the tying run before he was thrown out sliding past the bag on an attempt to steal second. Josh Donaldson then drew a walk, and after Brandon Moss struck out for the second out of the ining, Reddick walked as well to put two men on for pinch-hitter Eric Sogard, but Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri got him to pop out in foul territory to end the game.
It was the first win against the Athletics this season for the Angels, but even with the loss today the series was exactly what Oakland needed to get their mojo back after some disheartening losses over the previous three series. The A’s are travelling tomorrow and will be back in action against the New York Yankees Friday night to kick off a 10-game road trip.