Calhoun, Shoemaker put Halos back on track
OAKLAND -- Matt Shoemaker limited the A's to one run across seven innings and Kole Calhoun went 3-for-5 with a home run on Tuesday night, helping the Angels beat the A's, 6-2, at the Coliseum to get the month of September off on a positive note.
It was only the second time that the Angels -- coming off a 19-loss August -- had won a game by more than two runs since July 26.
Shoemaker gave up a long Brett Lawrie homer in the first inning but nothing else, scattering only four other hits, walking two batters and striking out five to lower his ERA to 4.31. Calhoun got the Angels on the board with an RBI single in the third -- part of a four-run inning against A's starter Cody Martin -- then added a solo homer in the seventh, his 21st on the year and his first in Oakland.
The Angels (66-66) moved 6 1/2 games back of the Astros for first place in the American League West and remained 3 1/2 back of the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot. The A's (58-75) tied their loss total from last season.
"It was a good team win, all the way around," Calhoun said. "Great way to start off September."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Started from the bottom: The Angels have struggled to get production from the bottom of their lineup this entire road trip, their Nos. 7-9 hitters combining to go 10-for-58 since Johnny Giavotella landed on the disabled list. But back-to-back hits by Carlos Perez and Taylor Featherston to start the third ignited a key four-run inning. Calhoun, the leadoff man, followed with an RBI single, Mike Trout walked, Albert Pujols brought in a run on a hit by pitch, David Murphy followed with an RBI groundout and C.J. Cron added a sac fly.
"Carlos and Taylor did a good job at the bottom," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "One guy [David Freese] gave us a different look, but the bottom of the order did a great job. We got the six runs, but we pressured them every inning. We had opportunities pretty much every inning. We didn't cash in on all of them -- we were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position -- but good job of making productive outs and good job of baserunning set up some things for us."
Dubious debut: Martin's first big league start didn't go as planned, with the righty unable to make it out of the fourth inning after surrendering consecutive singles. He was tagged for six hits overall, leading to five runs in his A's debut. Martin, pitching in place of the injured Chris Bassitt (right shoulder tightness), was among eight players promoted from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday.
"Looked like there might've been some nerves a little bit, especially when you have some traffic out there," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes you'll get some nerves, some balls up, which we saw."
A Shoe in: The A's threatened against Shoemaker in the seventh, after Marcus Semien drew a two-out walk to put two runners on for the top of the order. But Shoemaker got Eric Sogard to fly out on his 108th pitch to end the threat. Since being called up from a short stint at Triple-A Salt Lake, the 28-year-old right-hander has given up just one run in 14 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and three walks while striking out 10. Shoemaker pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-hit ball against the Tigers on Thursday.
"From that second inning on," Shoemaker said, "it was just better execution."
Anything but Dull: Amid an otherwise forgettable game for the A's, they watched right-hander Ryan Dull make his big league debut in the eighth inning, not much more than three years after selecting him in the 32nd round of the Draft. Dull, who posted a 0.74 ERA in 47 relief appearances in the Minors, struck out the first man he faced, Cron, before serving up a base hit to Erick Aybar and retiring his final two batters with ease.
"It was exactly how I thought it would be, just going out there and getting to experience what everyone as a kid dreamed of," Dull said. "Little bit nervous, but after my first couple of pitches under my belt, I was able to relax." More >
"Yes, because I pitched a lot." -- Angels closer Huston Street, when asked if he could believe it was only the second time his team had won a game by more than two runs since July 27
Street pitched the ninth inning with a five-run lead because he hadn't pitched in four days and the Angels will be off on Thursday. … For defensive purposes, Collin Cowgill replaced Murphy in left field and Kaleb Cowart replaced Freese at third base in the later innings. Scioscia plans to continue doing that when the Angels lead late.
Angels: Andrew Heaney (5-2, 3.11 ERA) takes the ball in the series finale against the A's on Wednesday, with first pitch slated for 12:37 p.m. PT. The rookie left-hander followed his worst start of the year -- eight runs and 10 outs against the Blue Jays -- with six scoreless innings against the Indians on Friday.
A's: The A's will have their ace on the mound Wednesday against the Angels, with right-hander Sonny Gray (12-6, 2.13) scheduled for his 27th start. Gray is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA in nine career starts against the Halos, including a 3-0 record with a 2.51 ERA in four outings this year.
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