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Skaggs hit hard, bats go quiet in loss to A's

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Tyler Skaggs was activated off the disabled list on Saturday after missing nine games with a left adductor strain, but his performance against the A's suggested that he hasn't fully put the injury behind him.

Skaggs was charged with seven runs on 10 hits -- including a season-high three home runs -- over 3 1/3 innings in his first start since July 31, sinking the Angels to a 7-0 loss to the A's at Angel Stadium. Both Skaggs and manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged afterward that the 27-year-old left-hander wasn't pitching at full strength.

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ANAHEIM -- Tyler Skaggs was activated off the disabled list on Saturday after missing nine games with a left adductor strain, but his performance against the A's suggested that he hasn't fully put the injury behind him.

Skaggs was charged with seven runs on 10 hits -- including a season-high three home runs -- over 3 1/3 innings in his first start since July 31, sinking the Angels to a 7-0 loss to the A's at Angel Stadium. Both Skaggs and manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged afterward that the 27-year-old left-hander wasn't pitching at full strength.

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"I'm not going to sugarcoat it," Skaggs said. "I didn't feel 100 percent, but at the same time, I felt like I could have went out there and contributed to the team. Today, I definitely didn't contribute. If anything, I made it worse."

Video: OAK@LAA: Scioscia on Skaggs' tough outing in loss

Skaggs has been battling an adductor strain throughout the season and has already landed on the disabled list twice because of the injury. Asked if he thinks he'll be able to take his next turn in the rotation, Skaggs said, "We'll see how I come out of it tomorrow."

Skaggs had been seeking to atone for his career-worst start against the Rays on July 31, when he allowed 10 runs over 3 1/3 innings, but he instead saw his uncharacteristic skid carry over into Saturday's outing. He has now surrendered 17 runs over 6 2/3 innings over his last two starts after posting a 2.62 ERA across his first 19 outings of the season.

"I don't know if Skaggsy felt that great," Scioscia said. "Obviously, he missed some time with the groin. It didn't look like it was very crisp. On a night that we needed some innings out of him, unfortunately, he couldn't get to a certain point in the game. But he battled hard, missed some spots, wasn't very crisp and those guys hit the ball well."

With a bullpen game looming on Sunday, Scioscia decided to ease the load on his relievers by having backup catcher Francisco Arcia pitch the ninth inning. Arcia became the first position player to pitch for the Angels since Chili Davis on June 17, 1993, snapping the longest drought in baseball.

Throwing only "BP fastballs" that topped out at 73.4 mph, Arcia worked around an infield single by Stephen Piscotty to post a scoreless inning on eight pitches.

Video: OAK@LAA: Arcia tosses scoreless pitching debut

"Fun," Arcia said with a grin. "It was like Little League."

The Angels' offense endured its own share of struggles against right-hander Edwin Jackson, who yielded only three hits en route to working 7 1/3 scoreless innings for Oakland. Jackson faced little trouble until the eighth, when Kaleb Cowart delivered a leadoff double. One batter later, Eric Young Jr. walked to put runners on first and second with one out.

Still, the Angels were unable to capitalize, as reliever Ryan Buchter entered the game and struck out Kole Calhoun and Jefry Marte to shut down the threat. The Angels came back to load the bases with no outs in the ninth, but Emilio Pagan coaxed a flyout from David Fletcher, a popout from Cowart and groundout from Jose Briceno to end the game and preserve the A's shutout.

Video: LAA@OAK: Robles gets double play from Olson in 4th

The loss snapped the Angels' four-game winning streak and dropped them back to .500 at 59-59.

The A's got on the board in the first inning after Marcus Semien doubled and scored on Matt Chapman's RBI single. Semien, a frequent tormentor of the Angels, struck again in the second, hooking a first-pitch curveball just inside the left-field foul pole for a three-run home run that extended the A's lead to 4-0.

Ohtani another step closer to returning to pitch

In the third, Skaggs misplaced a two-seam fastball to Khris Davis, who crushed it out to right-center field for a solo home run. The A's continued to threaten after Mark Canha singled and Chad Pinder drew a two-out walk, but Skaggs struck out Ramon Laureano swinging to end the inning.

Video: OAK@LAA: Simmons gets HBP, call stands on review

Still, Skaggs couldn't work his way through the fourth. After surrendering a second home run to Semien, Skaggs gave up back-to-back singles to Chapman and Jed Lowrie, putting runners on the corners with one out. Scioscia subsequently replaced Skaggs with Hansel Robles, who allowed an inherited runner to score on Davis' RBI single before inducing an inning-ending double play from pinch-hitter Matt Olson.

"I think it was just all over the place today," Skaggs said. "I made a lot of bad pitches. It's just one of those days. We'll get them tomorrow."

UP NEXT
The Angels will close out their three-game series against the A's on Sunday afternoon at 1:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Right-handed reliever Taylor Cole (0-2, 1.59 ERA) will start the Angels' bullpen game and battle Oakland righty Trevor Cahill (4-2, 3.12 ERA). It will be Cole's first career MLB start and his first appearance against the A's. Cole will fill the spot in the Angels' rotation left by Nick Tropeano, who landed on the disabled list on Tuesday with right shoulder inflammation.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels