The Oakland Athletics were riding high after a decisive sweep of the Texas Rangers over the weekend, but upon returning home they fell back to Earth against the Los Angeles Angels, falling by a final score of 12-1 in Monday night’s series opener.
Jarrod Parker had his worst outing in recent memory after missing Sunday’s start with a stomach illness, going only four innings and getting hit up for seven earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks, earning his first loss since May 22 and ending his nine-game win streak.
It was the longest unbeaten streak by an Athletics starting pitcher since 1931, and while it certainly wasn’t going to last forever, Parker certainly didn’t imagine it coming in such a resounding fashion.
Even with the loss, Oakland’s magic number dropped to seven since the Rangers lost to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the evening.
C.J. Wilson pitched seven innings and gave up only four hits and one run, striking out six Oakland hitters and walking three. The A’s weren’t able to string together consecutive hits against the left-hander until the sixth, when they scored their only run of the game.
Parker got off to a rocky start as the Angels tagged him for two runs in the top of the first. He walked leadoff man J.B. Shuck in four pitches but then got Howie Kendrick and Mike Trout to ground out, with Shuck advancing on both plays. Parker delivered a fastball on his first pitch to clean up hitter Josh Hamilton, and the big offseason addition for the Angels connected for a shallow fly ball to center to put his team ahead 1-0.
Next, Mark Trumbo swung on the first pitch of his at-bat and drove it to left for a double, and Kole Calhoun brought home Hamilton from third with a single to right in the next at-bat to give the Angels an early 2-0 lead.
Parker got Erik Aybar to fly out to right to put an end to the rally, and he came back in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, but the Halos tacked on another run in the third thanks to some sloppy Oakland defense.
Howie Kendrick led off the inning with a single, and after Trout popped out to left, Callaspo mishandled a grounder off the bat of Hamilton, and the ball deflected into center field to allow Kendrick to advance to third. Trumbo hit a grounder to Andy Parrino at short that looked like a double play ball, but Parrino couldn’t get his glove on it cleanly and was only able to get the force out at second.
That allowed a run to score and kept the inning going, but Parker got Calhoun to fly out to right for the final out. The runs may not have been so problematic if the A’s offense was still rolling, but Wilson was effective in limiting their opportunities throughout the night.
Coco Crisp walked to start off the game with no one able to rally behind him. Callaspo drew a two-out walk in the second with no results, and Crisp got the first hit of the game for Oakland with one out in the bottom of the first, only for Wilson to retire Chris Young and Josh Donaldson. Yoenis Cespedes even ran out a grounder to start off the fourth, but no one could string together any hits for a rally.
The Angels, meanwhile, showed no signs of slowing down at the plate as the game moved forward. Shuck and Kendrick hit back-to-back singles to start off the fifth inning, and Trout drove in a run with a drive down the left field line to make it 4-0.
Parker was able to get a big first out by striking out Hamilton in the next at-bat, but he walked Trumbo to load the bases for Calhoun. The right fielder hung in after getting down in the count 1-2 and hit a line drive over the head of Callaspo at second, driving in two more runs to make it 6-0 and knocking Parker out of the game in the process.
Jerry Blevins came in out of the bullpen and got Aybar to pop out to left, but after working the count to 0-2 against Hank Conger he delivered a hittable changeup, and the No. 8 hitter hit it to center to score Trumbo from second and advance Calhoun to third. Andrew Romine finished it off with another RBI line drive to center to make it 8-0 before Shuck grounded out in his second at-bat of the inning for out number three.
At that point it was all but certain that Parker would get the loss, and by the end of the fifth Oakland still hadn’t gotten a man past first against Wilson, so there wasn’t a ton of hope for a comeback.
After a three-up, three-down inning by Evan Scribner in the top of the sixth, the A’s got on the board with thanks to a one-out walk to Donaldson, and after a single by Cespedes to move him into scoring position, Derek Norris hit an RBI single to make it 8-1.
Unfortunately Nate Freiman grounded into an inning ending double play in the next at-bat, and with the writing on the wall Bob Melvin brought in reserves Michael Choice and Jemile Weeks for the final three innings, wisely getting Crisp and Donaldson some extra rest in a contest that was pretty much decided.
Scribner worked through the seventh and stranded Aybar at third after a two-out triple for a rather meaningless shutdown inning. Pedro Figueroa came in for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Romine before retiring Collin Cowgill and Tommy Field. He wasn’t able to get past Trout however, and the All-Star center fielder belted a towering shot off of Mount Davis to make it 10-1.
It wasn’t over, as Figueroa walked Hester and gave up another two-run shot to Trumbo to account for the final two runs of the game, and the A’s stranded two more in the bottom of the eighth before finally succumbing to closer Robert Coello in the ninth.
The A’s remain six and a half games ahead of Texas in the AL West with 12 games left in the season despite the loss. They’ll be back at the Coliseum tomorrow night looking to bounce back with Sonny Gray on the mound against right-hander Garrett Richards for the Angels.