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Heaney handles A's as Halos gain in WC race

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Kaleb Cowart delivered a go-ahead RBI double and left-hander Andrew Heaney struck out a career-high 10 over six innings as the Angels defeated the A's, 3-1, in Monday night's series opener at Angel Stadium.

Cowart snapped a 1-1 tie with his timely hit in the fourth, and Ben Revere added an insurance run with an RBI double of his own in the seventh. Their efforts helped make up for the absence of Mike Trout, who sat out as a precaution with a stiff neck, and backed Heaney, who allowed just one run on two hits in his third and best start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

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ANAHEIM -- Kaleb Cowart delivered a go-ahead RBI double and left-hander Andrew Heaney struck out a career-high 10 over six innings as the Angels defeated the A's, 3-1, in Monday night's series opener at Angel Stadium.

Cowart snapped a 1-1 tie with his timely hit in the fourth, and Ben Revere added an insurance run with an RBI double of his own in the seventh. Their efforts helped make up for the absence of Mike Trout, who sat out as a precaution with a stiff neck, and backed Heaney, who allowed just one run on two hits in his third and best start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

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"To have a night like tonight definitely feels good to kind of get things rolling a little bit," said Heaney, who had yielded nine runs over 10 innings in his first two outings of the season. "For me to be able to produce and help the team win is important."

Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Parker combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief of Heaney to secure the win for the Angels, who pulled within one game of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Video: OAK@LAA: Parker strikes out Joyce to earn the save

Oakland struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities, finishing 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven men. The A's lone run of the night came in the third, when Dustin Garneau launched a solo shot off Heaney to collect his first home run with Oakland.

"We made some mistakes all the way around," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We could've had a better chance to be in that game. Certainly with runners in scoring position and runners on base, we didn't have very good at-bats."

Right-hander Daniel Gossett gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits while walking one and striking out six over 6 2/3 innings.

Video: OAK@LAA: Gossett fans six in solid start vs. Angels

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cowart comes through: Cowart entered Monday hitless in his last 13 at-bats, but he broke out of the funk by producing a go-ahead RBI double in the fourth. After Martin Maldonado's two-out single, Cowart lifted an 0-1 slider from Gossett to the warning track in left field, over the head of Khris Davis, allowing Maldonado to score from first to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.

"I think Kaleb is a guy that's getting a lot of looks right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he's holding up well, even though he's been in this little downturn for the last 50 at-bats or so. Tonight he broke out with a big double to left. Hopefully he's going to start getting some of those balls to fall in."

Video: OAK@LAA: Cowart skies an RBI double to left-center

Heaney dodges trouble: Heaney retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth, but he fell into a jam after issuing back-to-back walks to Garneau and Marcus Semien. The runners advanced to second and third on Heaney's second wild pitch of the inning, but Heaney escaped the jam by striking out Chad Pinder swinging with an 82-mph breaking ball.

"He made some really good pitches to Pinder there to end that inning," Scioscia said. "I think he found his release point, and he wasn't missing by that much on those walks."

Video: OAK@LAA: Heaney works out of jam by whiffing Pinder

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Maldonado enjoyed a three-hit night, matching his single-game high for this season. The Angels backstop, who also scored from first twice on Monday, had not collected three hits in a game since June 21 at Yankee Stadium.

Video: OAK@LAA: Maldonado discusses positives after nice win

WHAT'S NEXT
A's: Right-hander Chris Smith (0-3, 5.56 ERA) will start Tuesday's 7:07 p.m. PT matchup against the host Angels. Smith posted a 3.32 ERA over his first three outings but has a 7.30 ERA in five games (four starts) since then.

Angels: Rookie Troy Scribner (2-1, 4.00 ERA) will take the mound on Tuesday as the Angels continue their three-game series against the A's at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Scribner allowed five runs (two earned) over four innings in his start against Oakland on Aug. 4.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.