Wednesday, April 10, 2013 3:18 am
Angels hurt by HRs in home opener, lose 9-5 to A's
By GREG BEACHAMAP Sports Writer
Pinch-hitter John Jaso had a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Athletics blew a four-run lead before rallying to beat Los Angeles 9-5 on Tuesday night.
After Weaver was ruled out for at least a month with an injury to his non-throwing elbow, C.J. Wilson needed 43 pitches to get through the first inning against Oakland, which has won six straight. After Wilson righted himself through six innings, the bullpen immediately blew a lead in the seventh, with Kevin Jepsen (0-1) giving up Jaso's shot and Brandon Moss' two-run homer.
Throw in 13 stranded runners in a game that lasted 3 hours, 44 minutes, and it was no wonder the Angels sounded a bit discouraged afterward.
"We had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't get it done tonight, but we put pressure on them and had the leadoff guys on a lot, and we just couldn't get that one hit. We had a lead and couldn't hold it, so we're going to have to get back to the drawing board and get this bullpen where it needs to be."
Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly in his home debut for the big-budget Angels, who dropped to 2-5 to begin a season of high expectations. Howie Kendrick had three hits and capped Los Angeles' three-run rally in the sixth with a tiebreaking triple off Ryan Cook (1-0).
After the A's put two runners on in the seventh, Jaso's drive landed on top of the chest-high fence down the right-field line, skipping into the seats for his first homer. Two batters later, Jepsen yielded Moss' first homer.
"It was just a crazy game right out of the gates," Jaso said. "It seemed like every inning was a get-out-of-a-jam inning. ... It was a wall-scraper, right there on the shortest part of the fence. I didn't think it was going to get out, but it got out."
The hard-throwing Jepsen had two outs, but couldn't finish off Jaso.
"It was in the middle of the plate, and obviously it wasn't supposed to be in the middle," Jepsen said. "His bread and butter is hitting fastballs, and in situations like that, sometimes you get burned."
Albert Pujols reached base four times for the Angels, while Hamilton was greeted in right field by fans holding up "Hamiltown" signs for his first game at Angel Stadium since he left the Texas Rangers last winter to sign with their AL West rivals.
The $125 million slugger struck out on three pitches with the bases loaded in his first plate appearance and grounded weakly back to the mound with the bases loaded again in the fourth. But Hamilton also made a diving catch in right field in the fifth inning before tying the game with his sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Wilson is the Angels' highest-profile starter in Weaver's absence, but the left-hander allowed six hits and four runs over six innings before leaving with a lead.
"You're always going out there pitching to win and trying to pitch a shutout, regardless of whether everybody's pitching good or pitching bad," Wilson said. "We're all just super-competitive people within ourselves. I was determined to have a better start than I did (last week) in Cincinnati, and it turned out to be the same result."
Mark Trumbo had an early RBI single in his third straight multihit game, but he also grounded out twice with the bases loaded for the Angels, who had 13 hits.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had two singles before leaving in the third inning with a bruised left heel after stretching to reach first base while beating out an infield hit.
Moss had three hits and drove in four runs, delivering an early two-run single before adding a two-run homer after Jaso's shot. Coco Crisp also hit his fourth homer for the A's, who have roared back from an 0-2 start.
"That's part of who we are," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We feel like we always have a chance to come back, so we keep grinding through the whole thing, and sometimes we have a chance."
NOTES: Oakland made three errors in its first seven games before committing two more in the sixth inning. ... Los Angeles' third-inning rally could have been even bigger, but Pujols made a huge baserunning blunder on Hamilton's flyout to center, running several steps past second base and failing to get back to first before Oakland easily doubled him off. ... Los Angeles recalled RHP Dane De La Rosa to take Weaver's roster spot, and he made his Angels debut with a scoreless ninth inning.