Pujols slams Angels past A's in 8-run seventh
OAKLAND -- Albert Pujols' grand slam highlighted an eight-run seventh inning that allowed the Angels to overcome a five-run deficit in Friday's series-opening 12-7 victory over the A's at the Coliseum.
"We just kept playing baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys didn't quit. Good at-bats the whole night, and obviously got some big hits from Albert."
The Angels had mustered just two runs off ace Sonny Gray entering the inning, when the right-hander allowed an RBI single to Matt Joyce and loaded the bases for reliever Drew Pomeranz, who walked in a run. With one out, right-hander Edward Mujica -- fresh off the disabled list -- induced a fly ball off the bat of Mike Trout that Ben Zobrist dropped in left field. Pujols' grand slam came three pitches later, and the A's would commit two more errors, giving them a Major League-leading 69 on the season, that led to another run before the frame ended.
"They smelled blood, and they didn't stop," said Stephen Vogt, who homered and doubled for three RBIs. "We gotta take better care of the ball on the defensive side, and a team like that, when you give them more three outs in the inning, they're going to take advantage."
Zobrist hit a three-run home run in the first for the A's and also doubled. For Gray, who was charged with five earned runs in six innings, it marked his worst outing of the season.
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Seventh heaven: The Angels entered the seventh inning down, 7-2, but they scored eight runs in the frame to take a 10-7 lead. Aided by three errors from the A's, the Angels sent 12 men to the plate. Pujols' grand slam barely cleared the fence in left, but it was enough to put his team up, 9-7, as part of a disastrous 36-minute inning for the A's.
"We knew we had nine outs left," Pujols said. "We didn't want to give up, and it was huge." More >
Major meltdown: A five-run lead quickly slipped from the A's grasp in a frightful seventh inning that not only saw eight opposing runs score but three errors committed, as the A's dropped to 4-27 when their bullpen allows at least two runs. The three runs (one earned) given up by Mujica were his first allowed in an A's uniform.
"We brought [Mujica] in here for a reason, to pitch deep in games," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The one to Trout, if we catch that, maybe it's a little different, but still, he hit a pretty good pitch that was down in the zone." More >
"We were in a pretty bad hole, a five-run deficit, and we come back and win," Angels starter Matt Shoemaker said. "That says a lot about the position players."
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With his grand slam, Pujols reached the 20-home run plateau faster than he has in any season since 2009.
Angels: Jered Weaver takes the mound for the Angels against the A's on Saturday afternoon. Weaver is making his 15th start of the season and ninth on the road, and he has lost each of his last three starts.
Athletics: Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA over his last five starts, gets the start for Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT contest against the Angels at the Coliseum.
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