OAKLAND -- The Angels went to their no-doubles defense in the ninth inning against the A's on Friday night at the Coliseum, intent on not letting the game-winning hit go over their heads. Instead, it dropped right in front of them.
A's outfielder Jake Smolinski lined a base-hit to right that landed in front of Kole Calhoun in the ninth, advancing Marcus Semien to third. Billy Burns followed with a walk-off single off Fernando Salas, dealing the Angels a 3-2 loss a half-inning after they tied the game with a dramatic rally.
"It's tricky," Calhoun said. "It's always the ball that doesn't get hit that well and falls and front of you that you look back at. If I'm playing at regular depth, I probably have a better shot at it. But that's the game. We have to be playing back there. We can't have the ball over our head and the guy scores from first base."
During Smolinski's at-bat, Mike Trout stood just a step in from the warning track in center. Calhoun and left fielder Daniel Nava were also considerably deeper. Manager Mike Scioscia noted that Smolinski, who has a seven-game hitting streak, flied out deep to Calhoun in the seventh inning.
"What did Smolinski do the time up before?" Scioscia said. "He drove Kole back against the wall. So you have to protect against that."
The A's walk-off hit came just a half-inning after Johnny Giavotella drove in Todd Cunningham with a sacrifice fly off Ryan Madson to tie it at 2-2, but not before it looked like Oakland had secured a 2-1 win.
It appeared the game had ended when it was ruled that Smolinski made a diving catch in right and doubled off Cunningham at first. But the Angels challenged the call, and replays showed that Smolinski clearly trapped a Nava liner, and Cunningham was awarded third and Nava first.
"That was the right call," Scioscia said. "Todd Cunningham was going cruise into third base. So he sees the out call and he starts to reverse. They had to check a lot more than the out call."
Calhoun said it was disappointing they couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.
"We made a nice little comeback there in the top of the ninth," he said. "If we got some base hits when we needed to and put the ball in play, we would've come up with win."
A's starter Kendall Graveman, who entered with a 5.28 ERA, allowed one run in seven innings. The Angels came back against Madson, who attempted to secure a four-out save, and they also put a runner on third base in the eighth against Sean Doolittle, but couldn't drive him in. They acknowledged they missed several opportunities.
"We beat two guys in the back end that were throwing the ball well," Scioscia said. "We scratched and clawed and got some key hits. Unfortunately, we couldn't hold it."