OAKLAND -- Right-hander Tim Lincecum was victorious in his highly anticipated return to the mound on Saturday afternoon, tossing six strong innings to help the Angels topple the A's, 7-1, at the Coliseum.
Making his Angels debut a stone's throw away from San Francisco, where he spent the first nine seasons of his big league career and claimed two National League Cy Young Awards, Lincecum held Oakland to one run on four hits, striking out two and walking two in his first big league start since June 27, 2015.
"I didn't necessarily see this game going as well as it did," Lincecum said. "But it panned out and it gave me a little more confidence knowing I can push through to the next game. I know it's kind of hard to accept for a pitcher who has been through a lot and done a lot, but like I said I'm trying to move on and try to become a different player."
Lincecum made fast friends with new teammates Mike Trout and Johnny Giavotella, who each homered in the fourth inning to put the Angels ahead, 2-1, giving them a lead they would pad in a five-run sixth against an A's club that trotted out seven pitchers on the day. Trout doubled in the inning, finishing with three RBIs.
Right-hander Andrew Triggs took the mound first for the A's, giving them three-plus innings on 50 pitches in his big league starting debut. Triggs was responsible for Trout's homer but allowed only two other hits, both singles. Danny Valencia plated the A's lone run on a single in the third.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lincecum shines in debut: All eyes were on Lincecum's debut, and the righty didn't disappoint. He picked up his first win of the year, relying primarily on an 88-90-mph fastball and his customary changeup, and allowed just one baserunner over his last three innings. The Bay Area crowd, which was speckled with Lincecum Giants gear, gave him a rousing ovation as he exited the field following the sixth inning.
"It was pretty incredible," Lincecum said. "I wasn't expecting that. [The fans] came out today and showed their support. It's nice obviously being here close to where I started and having my Bay Area fans here." More >
Relief parade: Trout set Bob Melvin's bullpen carousel in motion when he took Triggs deep in the fourth on a towering shot to left, prompting the A's manager to lift Triggs at 50 pitches in favor of Ryan Dull. Giavotella wrapped a line drive around the left field foul pole for his fifth homer of the year three batters later.
"I wasn't going to pitch him more than 60 pitches," Melvin said of Triggs. "We're just trying to get him as far as we can. In that inning, if we get a baserunner on, we were going to go to Dull. I thought he pitched great. One 3-1 pitch that was up a little bit ends up being a homer, but for a guy that hasn't started, to come in and embrace it and pitch well, give up one run, I thought he did his job for sure." More >
Surge in the sixth: The Angels gave Lincecum plenty of cushion in the sixth, batting around the lineup and plating five runs in the inning against right-handers Fernando Rodriguez and John Axford. Trout had a two-run single and Yunel Escobar added an RBI on hits just out of the reach of A's defenders, as Billy Burns couldn't make a diving catch on Trout's bloop while Escobar's sharp grounder glanced off of Marcus Semien's glove. Both hits came with two outs in the inning.
A's bats silenced: The A's were unable to carry over the momentum gained from Friday night's walk-off affair, managing only five hits in the encore performance and putting just two runners on base in their final six innings, with one hit recorded in that span. Oakland has come up with one run or fewer on 13 occasions this season, and the club's 269 total runs are third fewest in the American League. Moreover, the club's .302 on-base percentage ranks last in the AL.
"We're not consistent. That's an issue," Melvin said. "We'll score 15 runs when things are going well and everyone will get good swings up and down the lineup, and then we won't, and we'll have days like today where I think at times we probably swung at some pitches when we were ahead in some counts and got them out of some situations where there could have been more traffic. I think sometimes we're too eager to hit. You see our on-base percentage isn't good, last in the league. We don't walk enough."
Angels:Jered Weaver enters Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT start at the Coliseum on a two-game losing streak with a 5.71 ERA this year. He gave up six runs (five earned) over six innings in a loss to the Twins on Monday, and hopes to turn it around at the Coliseum.
A's: Left-hander Eric Surkamp, who has struggled to the tune of an 8.07 ERA in seven starts across four stints in the Majors, gets another opportunity in Sunday's rubber match against the Angels.
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