Kazmir pitches A's past Angels for series win
OAKLAND -- Left-hander Scott Kazmir helped the A's edge the Angels, 3-2, with 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon to secure the three-game series victory.
Kazmir, who has long struggled against the Angels in his career, limited them to six hits and three walks while striking out six and exiting after a season-high 112 pitches. The lefty was pulled with one on and one out in the eighth in favor of closer Tyler Clippard, who got Mike Trout to fly out to left before serving up a two-run home run to Albert Pujols, who leads the American League with 21. Clippard compiled the final four outs for his 12th save.
"I've been champing at the bit to get another shot at them," said Kazmir, who last beat the Angels on May 10, 2008. "It feels a little bit more special to pitch the way I did today against that team. As much as they've heckled me the past year or so, it felt good."
Billy Burns' third-inning RBI single got the A's on the board against right-hander Garrett Richards, who was charged with two more runs in his sixth and final inning. Stephen Vogt got things going with a leadoff single, and the A's would get three more base hits from Ben Zobrist, Brett Lawrie and Ike Davis in the frame.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cursed no more: It's no coincidence Kazmir had yet to face the Angels this season. The left-hander entered the day with a 7.56 ERA in seven career starts versus the Halos and hadn't pitched more than three innings against them in any of his previous three starts. This time around, he not only made it to the fourth inning but completed 7 1/3 with just one run allowed.
"He's a gamer, man," Pujols said of Kazmir. "That's what I like about him." More >
Took a while: The Angels struggled against Kazmir all afternoon, hitting into inning-ending double plays in the fifth and sixth innings. They had runners on base against the left-hander in every inning but the second, but were unable to bring anyone home until the eighth. In the eighth, though, Pujols clobbered a two-run homer to left to slice the deficit to 3-2.
"I thought we had pretty good at-bats," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just couldn't get anything hit with guys in scoring position." More >
Save it: After being asked to get four outs in Saturday's win, in which he threw 28 pitches, Clippard was back on the mound with one out in the eighth inning to preserve Sunday's victory. The veteran reliever served up a two-run home run to Pujols, but ultimately got the job done, compiling five outs -- and throwing 34 pitches -- for his 12th save.
"Once I'm in the game, I'm hot, I want to finish it, that's my job," Clippard said. "I was a little unhappy with how the eighth went. We held the lead, but giving up that two-run homer to Pujols left a bad taste in my mouth, so I was anxious to get back out there and close it out in the ninth." More >
The A's unsuccessfully challenged a call at third base in the second inning, when Lawrie broke for third base and was initially ruled safe by third-base umpire Greg Gibson before Gibson deemed him out after he took his hand off the bag. Replay officials confirmed the out call, deciding that Lawrie was originally out when tagged on his right shoulder before reaching the bag.
"He's always going to give you 100 percent, and to see him come up with these huge clutch hits for us lately, getting on base, making plays, it's just what he does. He was huge for us today. He was definitely the player of the game. That was such an unbelievable catch in foul territory to pick us up." -- Vogt, on Lawrie, who went 2-for-4 and made an outstanding catch on the A's bullpen mound in the fourth
Angels: Hector Santiago gets the start Monday night for the Angels in the opener of a three-game series against the Astros at Angel Stadium. Santiago will be making his second start of the season against Houston. He got a no-decision the first time despite tossing 6 1/3 shutout innings and allowing just one hit. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Athletics: The A's will travel to Arlington on Monday's off-day ahead of a three-game series against the Rangers beginning Tuesday. Right-hander Jesse Chavez, who is 3-6 despite owning a 2.52 ERA, gets the start in the 5:05 p.m. PT contest at Globe Life Park..
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