Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub
The Angels salvaged the third game of the series in Oakland, surviving a rocky ninth inning to hold on to a 6-4 victory, giving Joe Saunders his 16th win of the season. With a little more than a week to go before the start of the post-season, Mike Scioscia has struggled to maintain a balance between going for home field advantage and resting his star players, but some of the bit players came through for the Angels today. After scoring only three runs through the first two games, the Angels got that many runs in three at bats in the seventh inning today.
The Angels struck first in the game's opening frame. The first three batters of the game reached safely, with Mark Teixeira's RBI single scoring Reggie Willits. They added two more in the fifth innings, chasing A's starter Josh Outman. Robb Quinlan's RBI single scored Mark Teixeira and moved Torii Hunter to third. A few pitches later, Quinlan broke for second on a delayed steal. Torii Hunter took advantage of the ensuing rundown to steal home, and in the confusion, Quinlan returned safely to first.
The Angels provided some thunder in the seventh inning. Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, and Brandon Wood blitzed A's reliever Keith Foulke for back to back to back home runs, giving the Angels a 6-0 lead. Joe Saunders finished the A's off in the seventh, at which point Mike Scioscia decided to sit him down for the remainder. Amazingly, Justin Speier worked a perfect eight inning.
In the ninth, all heck nearly broke loose. Jason Bulger began the inning by hitting and walking the only two batters he faced. Jose Arredondo came on and allowed a walk and an infield hit before striking out Travis Buck. With the bases loaded, the tying run stood in the on deck circle, making it a save situation, and Frankie Rodriguez entered the game. He allowed a walk and single (sandwiching a fielder's choice in between) before retiring Ryan Sweeney for the game's final out and his 59th save of the season.
Top three Angels performers:
Gary Matthews didn't produce much in terms of runs, but he did deliver three hits, and made a beautiful diving catch in right field.
Robb Quinlan didn't make a huge impression on the box score, delivering one hit and one RBI, but he made big contributions. The delayed steal mentioned above helped bring in a run (he later stole the base outright). In the fourth inning, the A's loaded the bases with no one out, and Quinlan turned a grounder into third into a force at his base, from which point he threw home to retire Emil Brown, and helped Joe Saunders escape the inning with no damage.
Joe Saunders twirled seven scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 3.52 and pick up his sixteenth win.
Jeff Weaver of the game:
Jason Bulger is working hard to keep himself off the post-season roster, and he didn't do himself any favors, failing to retire a batter in the ninth. In his last two outings, he's allowed five runs on one hit, three walks, and a hit batter, while failing to retire even one hitter. Ouch.
Play of the game:
The back to back to back homers were nice, but Quinlan's double play from third to home kept the A's off the board in a big situation when the game was still within one run.
What to expect tomorrow:
The Angels head to Arlington to take on the Rangers. Jon Garland looks to build on his last two excellent starts (3 runs in 13 IP), while the Rangers counter with Matt Harrison who's 8-3 record belies his 5+ ERA. Expect another patchwork lineup as Scioscia balances health and rest for the post-season push.
Game Time is 5:05 on FSN