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LAA@OAK: Trumbo crushes a two-run shot to left

OAKLAND -- Mark Trumbo hasn't exactly embraced the charms of the Oakland Coliseum this season, but he vented in constructive fashion on Wednesday in steering Angels ace Jered Weaver toward a 4-1 decision over the A's and his career-high 17th win.

Trumbo, an American League Rookie of the Year candidate alongside teammate Jordan Walden, unleashed a line-drive homer to left-center in the sixth inning.

The two-run shot against Rich Harden, Trumbo's 27th of the year and second against Harden, cleared the fence in a heartbeat and gave Weaver the upper hand in front of 14,743 sunbathers.

Bobby Abreu's run-scoring double to right-center on the heels of Howard Kendrick's walk had gotten the Angels even in the sixth, before Trumbo's screaming bullet ended Harden's day.

"He's going to have to get Rookie of the Year consideration," Mike Scioscia said of his first baseman, and then the Angels' manager went one surprising step beyond. "If we reach our goal, he has to get some MVP consideration.

"If we take him out of our lineup, we're not even in a pennant race this year. When you talk about one guy's impact on a team, Mark's up there. His numbers might not be on the level of some other guys, but his value is."

Informed of Scioscia's endorsement, Trumbo seemed caught off guard.

"It's flattering," Trumbo said, "but my whole focus now is on winning the [AL] West. I'm not thinking about anything else."

Weaver (17-7) needed 115 pitches to make it through seven innings, finishing strong in holding the A's to a run on six hits, two walks and a hit batsman, while striking out only one hitter.

Scott Downs worked a typically clean eighth, and Walden claimed his 31st save with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

Harden, who'd silenced the Angels on five hits and a hit batter through five innings, slipped to 4-3 with the loss.

"I got behind some hitters and made a bad pitch to Trumbo," Harden said. "I basically wanted to bounce that pitch. And if I throw it down -- start it low in the zone and it breaks down -- it's a swing and miss. But I just left it up.

"With Weaver on the mound, we got an early lead and guys were playing good defense. So the way it was going, it's frustrating to lose it like that."

Trumbo also factored into an insurance run in the eighth with a single off the wall in right and a steal of second, his ninth, that brought Abreu home on an error.

Trailing Texas by three games in the AL West, the Angels set off for Baltimore feeling good after taking the final two from the A's on the start of a pivotal 10-game junket.

"Obviously, we haven't gotten to our goal," Weaver said, when asked about achieving his career high in wins. "From a personal standpoint, it's pretty cool. My goal every year is to get better. Right now, I'm looking down the road."

He might find a second start on three days' rest coming as early as Sunday. That's something Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher will determine in the next few days.

Searching for his command early, following a stellar performance against the Yankees, Weaver reached the third inning in good shape. But he left a pitch in Josh Willingham's wheelhouse, and the A's cleanup man hammered it over the fence in left-center.

Willingham's 26th homer gave Harden a lead, but the A's would strand seven runners in those first three innings -- three in the first and two in the second and third.

"They were working the count really well early on," Weaver said. "Balls started finding their barrels more. The first four innings, they were pressuring me, getting some guys on base.

"Me and Jeff [Mathis] were able to work together and get out of situations. I attribute it to Jeff calling a great game. Then the bullpen came in and did a great job shutting them down."

Striking out Brandon Allen to close the third, Weaver found his rhythm and retired 13 of the final 14 men he faced.

"He didn't have his best stuff," Scioscia said, "but he kept us in the game and got it done."

Trumbo's two RBIs gave him 82, seven more than Torii Hunter. Trumbo is on pace to become the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in homers and RBIs.

When he stepped in against Harden in the sixth, having been robbed by shortstop Cliff Pennington in his first at-bat, Trumbo was hitless in his past 11 at-bats and 2-for-27 in the A's yard -- going down on strikes 14 times. He'd been given Tuesday night off, after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the series opener.

Harden was ahead 1-2 in the count, when he left a changeup in a spot where Trumbo could reach it, and he found the sweet spot. It was the same pitch Trumbo launched earlier in the season against Harden.

Trumbo banged another rocket to right in the eighth, then surprised the A's with a steal. This led to an error, when Eric Sogard couldn't field Kurt Suzuki's throw, allowing Abreu to score.

Showing the full range of his talents, Trumbo snagged a line drive by Scott Sizemore to close the eighth against Downs.

It was another big day by the young guy Scioscia considers indispensable to the Angels' presence in the AL West race. Comments