Trout drives 18th HR as Angels power past A's
ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun hit monster home runs off A's reliever Evan Scribner in the eighth inning, sending the Angels to a thrilling, 5-4 victory in Southern California on Friday night.
"Nights like this," Calhoun said, "we show what we can do. I don't think anybody in this clubhouse is worried about our offense; we know we're going to play."
The lead switched hands each inning from the sixth to the eighth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Calhoun smacked a two-run single up the middle against A's starter Jesse Chavez to give the Angels a one-run lead. In the top of the seventh, Josh Reddick gave the A's a one-run lead with a two-out, two-run shot off Fernando Salas. And in the bottom of the eighth, the Angels took the lead for good, winning for the first time in 28 tries when trailing after seven.
Trout started it off against Scribner with a towering shot to straightaway center field, over the bushes and into the lawn for his team-leading 18th on the year. The next batter, Albert Pujols, hit a deep drive to left that was caught on the warning track. Then Calhoun, who had his own bobblehead giveaway on Friday, hit a rocket over the right-field scoreboard for his sixth home run.
"Two pitches up in the zone, that's all it was," Scribner said. "You can't make the mistakes to those guys."
The Angels (31-30) have won three of four following a five-game losing streak, while the division-rival A's (25-38) have dropped five of seven.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kole as ice: Calhoun admitted to putting a little added pressure on himself when he was first moved to the cleanup spot on a consistent basis, which manifested itself with a .190 batting average over a 17-game stretch. But he drove in the go-ahead run twice on Friday night and said he's "trying to simplify things." Calhoun is 10 for 29 over his last seven games, which is big for an Angels offense that is in constant search of depth. More >
"There's no lie; it's definitely different than leading off," Calhoun said of batting cleanup. "You get to start off a game and kind of set the tone for the offense, and in the cleanup spot you're knocking in the runs. It's a different role, for sure. You try to do too much with it, you can get kind of lost. I have to get back to just helping the team win."
Double for nothing: Reddick's homer in the seventh gave Chavez twice his usual run support Friday, but it still wasn't enough for the A's. Chavez entered the game with just 18 runs of support in his nine starts, an MLB-low 2.00 average for qualified starters. Reddick's two-run shot deep into the right-field seats doubled that with one swing and temporarily gave the A's the lead late. More >
"We gave him the lead back and he did his job going back out there and having a shutdown inning, before the eighth happened," Reddick said. "That's what you've got to do -- you've got to try to pick these guys up when you can."
Through the air: Hector Santiago entered Friday's start with the lowest groundball percentage in the Majors, then followed the script in the series opener, recording only one of his 17 outs on the ground. Santiago gave up back-to-back homers to Brett Lawrie and Josh Phegley in the fourth, but nothing else through 5 2/3 innings. He walked one, scattered five other hits, struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.59.
Reddick can't do it twice: Reddick came up with a chance for second consecutive big hit in the ninth inning, when he faced Angels closer Huston Street with two outs and runners on first and second, with the A's trailing by a run. Reddick worked the count full, but Street got him to pop up to center field on a 3-2 changeup to end the game.
"You tip your hat to the other pitcher for outdoing, pretty much outpitching me that day. It's not a knock on [the A's hitters] when I go out there every five days -- they put up quality at-bats every time, and we've just been one swing away." -- Chavez, on his lack of run support this season
"I was working out when it happened. I think I got off the bike, jumped up and cheered. I think I skipped my workout, actually." -- Santiago, on his reaction to the two-homer eighth inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout's eighth-inning home run left his bat at 108 mph and traveled 443 feet, according to Statcast™. It was his 18th of the year, tying him with Nelson Cruz for the American League lead, and it raised his batting average to .301 -- the first time since May 24 that Trout has been above .300.
The Angels lost their challenge in the third, when umpires ruled that an initial safe call on Mark Canha's stolen base stood. Because of that, Angels manager Mike Scioscia couldn't challenge a crucial sixth-inning call. First-base umpire Chris Conroy ruled Johnny Giavotella out after third baseman Brett Lawrie barehanded his chopper and fired to first.
Replay showed Giavotella beat the throw, but Scioscia couldn't convince Conroy to signal for a crew-chief review and was thrown out after a heated exchange. It was Scioscia's first ejection of the season and the 39th of his career. Crew-chief reviews can't be initiated before the seventh inning unless it's on home run calls.
"I was hoping those guys at least could huddle and maybe somebody had a better angle because obviously safe was an understatement," Scioscia said. "He had that play beat easily. Unfortunately there's no recourse."
Athletics: Right-hander Kendall Graveman gets the ball at 7:05 p.m. PT on Saturday hoping to continue his steady improvement over the course of the season. Since giving up eight runs in his first start, Graveman has lowered his ERA from 18.90 to 4.83 entering Saturday, a season-low.
Angels: C.J. Wilson opposes Graveman in the second of a three-game series. The 34-year-old left-hander has struggled to start June, giving up a combined 11 runs on 11 hits and three walks in 13 innings against the Rays and Yankees. Wilson has a 3.52 ERA in 153 1/3 career innings against the A's.
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