OAKLAND -- Jose Pujols' 596th career homer sparked the beginning of a home run parade by the Angels, who counted off three in the first two innings en route to a 7-3 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Tuesday night, evening this three-game series.Pujols inched closer to No. 600
OAKLAND -- Jose Pujols' 596th career homer sparked the beginning of a home run parade by the Angels, who counted off three in the first two innings en route to a 7-3 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Tuesday night, evening this three-game series.
Pujols inched closer to No. 600 in the first inning, sending a projected 435-foot shot, per Statcast™, to left-center field off A's starter Jharel Cotton, who would be haunted by the long ball again in a four-run second inning that featured homers from Ben Revere and Yunel Escobar and erased Oakland's short-lived 2-1 lead.
After watching his team lose to the A's in walk-off fashion on Monday night, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was happy to see his offense come back to life.
"These guys understand the importance of turning the page," Scioscia said. "With a tough game last night, they came out today, had a good pregame and swung the bats well. They're good at that. We are just hopefully going to get our offense settled, getting it consistent with pressure on teams."
The hot-hitting Yonder Alonso was responsible for all of the A's runs, hitting a two-run shot in the first inning and a solo blast in the sixth for his second multi-homer game in four days. Alonso has 11 homers on the season, surpassing his previous career high of nine.
"What are we in, early May? It's been impressive," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "At this point, now you almost expect him to go up there and drive in runs and drive the ball. The thing that's most impressive to me is the home runs to the opposite field. ... Certainly a breakthrough at this point for him, a breakthrough year."
Angels starter Alex Meyer surrendered both of Alonso's homers, but he picked up his first win of the season after matching a career high with 5 1/3 innings. Meyer was pleased to pitch into the sixth inning but he was frustrated with the five walks he issued. He gave up three earned runs and four hits but matched his career high with seven strikeouts in his second start filling in for the injured Tyler Skaggs.
"I know I'm better than that," Meyer said. "That's what's exciting for me to look forward to. Hopefully, [I] can keep working to get those [walks] cut down and be able to pitch deeper into games and be able to be more efficient."
Cotton went five innings in the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-out attack: The Angels struck for a combined five runs in the first two frames, all coming with two outs. Cotton fanned the first two batters he faced to open the game, before Pujols jumped on a changeup for a 1-0 lead, and a similar script played out in the second. With two outs, Revere homered for his first of the season, and Cliff Pennington and Martin Maldonado kept things going with back-to-back singles, setting the stage for Escobar's three-run shot.
"I guess they were looking for my changeup, and I just left it over the plate," Cotton said. "They got two homers out of that, and the one to Revere, I thought I made a good pitch inside, he just got to it. Just gotta focus more on finishing my pitches down."
Adding on: Looking to stave off the A's, who had enjoyed walk-off celebrations in each of their previous three games, the Angels kept their distance by increasing their lead in the fourth. Cameron Maybin christened the inning with a double, advancing to third on a single from Revere and scoring on one by Pennington. Maldonado pushed runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, allowing Revere to score on Escobar's ensuing groundout. The Angels got a combined six hits from their bottom four batters.
Angels: The Angels will wrap up the three-game set in Oakland with a Wednesday matinee (12:35 p.m. PT) before heading back to SoCal for a six-game homestand. Right-hander Jesse Chavez (2-2, 4.46 ERA), who spent parts of the 2012-15 seasons in Oakland, will make his first career start against his former club.
Athletics: Right-hander Andrew Triggs gets the start in Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. PT series finale with the Angles. Triggs faced Los Angeles on April 6, allowing one unearned run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor for MLB.com based in the Bay Area, and covered the Angels on Tuesday.