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Heaney's gem spoiled as bullpen woes continue

Angels squander two-run lead in 9th, fall in 11th
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Blake Parker has fared well as the Angels' closer this season, but even he is not immune to the issues that have affected the Halos' bullpen of late. Los Angeles' relievers couldn't preserve a two-run lead in the ninth and lost the game in extras Sunday, spoiling a gem from Andrew Heaney, who tossed eight strong innings in a 6-5 loss to the A's in 11 innings at the Coliseum.

With the bases loaded and one out in the 11th, Eduardo Paredes gave up a walk-off single to Jonathan Lucroy, who hammered a pitch to center field to score Jed Lowrie. Jake Jewell, making just his second Major League appearance, started the inning by allowing the first two men to reach base.

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OAKLAND -- Blake Parker has fared well as the Angels' closer this season, but even he is not immune to the issues that have affected the Halos' bullpen of late. Los Angeles' relievers couldn't preserve a two-run lead in the ninth and lost the game in extras Sunday, spoiling a gem from Andrew Heaney, who tossed eight strong innings in a 6-5 loss to the A's in 11 innings at the Coliseum.

With the bases loaded and one out in the 11th, Eduardo Paredes gave up a walk-off single to Jonathan Lucroy, who hammered a pitch to center field to score Jed Lowrie. Jake Jewell, making just his second Major League appearance, started the inning by allowing the first two men to reach base.

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The Angels used five different relievers, including three in the ninth after manager Mike Scioscia pulled Heaney at 106 pitches. Parker entered the game ahead by two runs, but departed after surrendering a home run to Marcus Semien on the first pitch, then walking Chad Pinder and Khris Davis. Parker was ahead of the count on Davis, but walked him after throwing three straight balls.

"You've got to make good pitches in this league," Parker said. "Can't be giving guys free bases and expect to get out of it and expect to win. You've got to go out and get ahead and put guys away."

After Jose Alvarez struck out Matt Olson for the second out, Mark Canha tied the game with two outs on a soft single to center off Cam Bedrosian.

Video: LAA@OAK: Canha bloops a game-tying single in the 9th

Scioscia said it was one of the rare games where Parker didn't have his command, and neither did the rest of the bullpen.

"Usually, [Parker's] able to spot that fastball where he wants," Scioscia said. "The guys who came out of the bullpen just brought too many walks with them. We put too many guys on base from the ninth inning on."

The Angels' last two pitchers -- Jewell and Paredes -- were just brought up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday as part of a transaction that saw four regular players land on the disabled list. The Angels' roster is lacking depth, and the bullpen is no exception. On Saturday, it allowed four runs to the A's after the game was tied at 3 entering the sixth, and on Wednesday, Parker blew the save in an 8-6 loss to the Mariners.

Scioscia said that starters like Heaney pitching deep into games will be important moving forward.

"We need that so guys are able to get out there and maybe get the six outs we need [to close out a game]," Scioscia said.

The bullpen struggles overshadowed Heaney's performance. He allowed a two-run homer to Canha in the second that gave the A's a 2-0 lead. But other than that pitch, a changeup left up, Heaney was efficient, striking out eight, allowing three hits and retiring 13 of 14 batters after Canha's home run. He issued just one walk.

Heaney gave up a third run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Olson but finished strong, striking out the side in the eighth.

Video: LAA@OAK: Heaney strikes out Barreto to K the side

"I felt like I got stronger as the game went on," Heaney said. "I had a little bit of a hard time getting ahead, working ahead early in the game, but then found a little bit better rhythm."

The Angels hit the ball hard against A's starter Daniel Mengden, who allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Chris Young put the Angels on the board in the third with a solo homer, his second in as many days. Albert Pujols knocked in the next two runs for the Angels, an RBI single in the third and a solo blast in the sixth to give the Angels a 3-2 lead.

Video: LAA@OAK: Young homers for the 2nd straight day

The home run was Pujols' 625th career round-tripper and fourth in 12 games this month, putting him within five home runs of passing Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth all-time.

Video: LAA@OAK: Pujols slugs a solo homer in the 6th inning

The Angels tacked on another run in the sixth when Andrelton Simmons came home on a wild pitch by Mengden. In the seventh, Justin Upton singled in Ian Kinsler to give the Angels a 5-2 lead.

Video: LAA@OAK: Upton drives in Kinsler with an RBI single

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With one out in the top of the 10th, Simmons hit what looked like at least a double to left-center field, but Canha ran it down, making a 5-star grab. The catch had a 5 percent catch probability, the lowest probability on an A's catch this season.

Video: LAA@OAK: Canha makes a 5% probability catch in 10th

SOUND SMART
Mike Trout reached base in all five plate appearances. In his last six games, Trout has a .684 batting average (13-for-19). He also recorded two hits for his 23rd multi-hit game of the season.

HE SAID IT
"We made them work early on, and they've picked us up every single time. They may be struggling now and some guys are having issues, and that's part of baseball. Everybody can't be going right at the same time; very rarely does that happen. I've had my fair share of bad games. I'm not going to judge another player. I know every single one of those guys out there is grinding to win games for this team, so I'm never going to doubt that, and that's what matters to me as a teammate." -- Heaney on the bullpen's recent struggles

UP NEXT
With their nine-game road trip concluded, the Angels will begin a six-game homestand Monday against the Diamondbacks. Jaime Barria, who pitched well in a loss to the Mariners his last time out, will get the ball for Los Angeles. Arizona will counter with Zack Greinke (5-5, 3.87 ERA). Game time is 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium.

Eric He is a reporter for MLB.com based in Oakland.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrew Heaney