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Bullpen falters, denying Lamb first win in 2 years

June 16, 2018

OAKLAND -- John Lamb was in line for a win in his first Major League appearance in two years, but the depleted Angels bullpen faltered in a 6-4 loss to the A's at the Coliseum on Saturday.Lamb allowed two runs in five-plus innings and threw 88 pitches in his Angels

OAKLAND -- John Lamb was in line for a win in his first Major League appearance in two years, but the depleted Angels bullpen faltered in a 6-4 loss to the A's at the Coliseum on Saturday.
Lamb allowed two runs in five-plus innings and threw 88 pitches in his Angels debut, departing after giving up a home run to Marcus Semien to lead off the sixth inning, cutting the Angels' lead to 3-2.
He was replaced by Noe Ramirez, who struggled with his command and promptly gave up the lead. Ramirez hit two batters and walked another to load the bases, and then walked in Jonathan Lucroy to tie the game. The next batter, Stephen Piscotty, singled sharply up the middle to plate two runs, giving the A's a 5-3 lead. It was the only hit that Ramirez allowed in the four-run frame.
Manager Mike Scioscia said that Ramirez didn't have his release point, and it proved costly, considering the Angels are short on arms, just a faction of the 14 players currently on the disabled list.
"Noe can go four to five outs when he's on," Scioscia said. "We had enough pitching to get to a certain point in the game to hold the lead, but unfortunately, the sixth inning went the wrong way."
The A's tacked on an insurance run in the seventh off Eduardo Paredes, who allowed an RBI single to Jed Lowrie after a one-out triple by Chad Pinder. The Angels received a scoreless inning from Jake Jewell, who pitched the eighth in his Major League debut.

The Angels had the tying run on first in the ninth with two out after Jose Fernandez knocked in a run with a single off A's closer Blake Treinen, but Luis Valbuena bounced out to second to end the game.
A night after scoring eight runs, three of the Angels' four runs came on one swing of the bat -- a three-run homer by Chris Young off A's starter Sean Manaea in the fifth that put Los Angeles ahead, 3-1. Prior to the fifth inning, Manaea -- who gave up three runs on four hits in six innings -- did not allow a baserunner.

Lamb's only blemishes were two solo home runs: Pinder in the fourth and Semien in the sixth. Otherwise, he kept the A's off the basepaths and struck out five, and could become an important part of an Angels pitching staff with four starters on the disabled list. Lamb pitched Saturday in place of Nick Tropeano, who went on the disabled list Friday with right shoulder inflammation.
"I had a great time," Lamb said. "It's unfortunate when we lose a ballgame, but selfishly, it was definitely fun to be out on a big league field, and try to help the team win a ballgame."
Lamb last appeared in the Majors for the Reds on July 16, 2016, and has spent the past two seasons in the Angels' Minor League system. He has seen a resurgence in Triple-A Salt Lake this season, with the Bees winning all 13 of his starts in 2018 before he was called up.
Scioscia said that Lamb didn't make many mistakes, and all his pitches were working.
"For the most part, I think he changed speeds well, used both sides of the plate," he said. "Got us to a nice point in the game. Unfortunately, we just couldn't hold it."
Down by three runs, the Angels had a chance to rally in the ninth off of Treinen, the usually sure-handed closer who did not have his command on Saturday. Treinen walked Michael Trout and Jose Pujols and fell behind in the count his entire outing, but the Angels could only muster a run as the rally fell short.

Ramirez hit two batters in the sixth inning, becoming the third Angels pitcher to hit multiple batters in a game this season. Tyler Skaggs on May 23 at Toronto and Andrew Heaney on May 31 at Detroit were the other two.

With two out in the second inning, Lucroy hit a hard ground ball up the middle destined for center field, but second baseman Ian Kinsler ranged far to his right to corral the ball and make an off-balance throw to first for the out.

"I've got to get back in rhythm. Felt pretty good. Seeing the ball good. Got to get my swing back to where it was, but good beginning. … [The ankle is] not 100 [percent], but it's pretty close. It's probably not going to be 100 for a couple weeks. Not a big issue." -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who came off the disabled list on Saturday and went 0-for-4

With two out in the third, third baseman David Fletcher was thrown out on a ground ball to A's shortstop Semien. The Angels challenged the call, which would stand after replay review. At the time, it preserved a perfect game for Manaea that was eventually broken up in the fifth inning.

The Angels will send Heaney to the mound in the series finale Sunday. Heaney will look to bounce back from a rough outing against the Mariners on Monday, when he allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings. Heaney is 2-1 with a 3.79 ERA and 20 strikeouts in three career starts against the A's. Oakland counters with Daniel Mengden (6-6, 3.90 ERA) in the 1:05 p.m. PT game at the Coliseum.

Eric He is a reporter for based in Oakland.