Scioscia fuming after sloppy loss
Skipper upset on a few fronts; K-Rod's error gives game to A's
OAKLAND -- With two doubles and a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth, Mark Teixeira did everything in his considerable power to claim a game for the Angels on Wednesday night. But they threw it away -- literally.
Francisco Rodriguez, in his first save opportunity since seizing the single-season record, sent a throw to first base sailing into the right-field corner in the bottom of the ninth, enabling the tying and go-ahead runs to score in a 3-2 win by the A's in front of 20,102 at McAfee Coliseum.
"Throw it on the bag -- that's your job there," K-Rod said, having blown his seventh save in 65 opportunities. "That ball was way down the line. He [second baseman Sean Rodriguez] couldn't touch it. You can't stop that."
Cliff Pennington faked a sacrifice bunt and hit a high chopper that K-Rod let fly with runners on first and second and none out, with the Angels defense in a wheel play. But what rankled manager Mike Scioscia was a team error charged to center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. to open the inning.
After Teixeira's line-drive homer to right following Garret Anderson's single against Brad Ziegler had given the Angels their first lead, 2-1, Daric Barton singled through the middle leading off the bottom of the ninth.
Matthews fielded the ball cleanly and sent it in toward second. It skipped past Sean Rodriguez and then shortstop Brandon Wood, rolling all the way past the mound to the left of catcher Jeff Mathis. K-Rod also was supposed to back up the play.
Barton moved to second, into scoring position, as Scioscia seethed in the dugout.
"That's just something that shouldn't happen," Scioscia said. "The ball gets by what should have been three guys there. You have to control the ball in that situation -- and we didn't do it. I don't care who you give the error to -- it's something that shouldn't happen.
"The ball short-hopped Sean, he let it go, and it got by Woody. We've got two guys to get a 60-foot throw and we miss it."
Scioscia did not second-guess K-Rod for trying to make a play on Pennington's chopper after he'd walked Jack Hannahan, who'd struck out in three previous at-bats against starter Jered Weaver.
"That's a Baltimore chop, a tough play," Scioscia said. "The kid [Pennington] can run. He got it down on the ground in a wheel. If the ball beats him, we have a shot at him. That's an aggressive play, and if you get the out, that's a huge out."
The manager said he was frustrated "on a lot of fronts" -- notably in the fourth inning when Teixeira doubled for the second time against starter Greg Smith and Kendry Morales grounded to short, not moving the runner to third. Smith pitched out of that jam.
"We've got to come out and play better tomorrow, get it going offensively," Scioscia said. "Three runs in two games is a little tough."
The A's, after an 8-1 win on Tuesday, can sweep the series and claim the season series in Thursday's finale against the runaway American League West champions. The season series stands at nine wins apiece.
Weaver, pitching for postseason starting consideration, delivered one of his strongest efforts of the year. The right-hander matched Smith zero for zero through four innings before the A's cashed in on three hits in the fifth, Aaron Cunningham's second double of the night driving home pinch-runner Bobby Crosby.
Weaver showed his competitive nature when he left the bases loaded by striking out Jack Cust and Kurt Suzuki.
"I like that stuff -- one out, bases loaded," Weaver said. "You step back -- `come on, you can do it.' Sometimes they get you, sometimes you get them."
Weaver, who had 12 days of rest before his previous start against the Mariners, said it was "the best I've felt all year ... one of the good ones."
He struck out eight and walked three (one intentional) while giving up six hits in six innings. Darren Oliver was superb across two innings of perfect relief, striking out three, before turning it over to K-Rod.
With Torii Hunter a late scratch after bruising his cheekbone in a pregame accident in a batting cage, and with Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera getting another day off, the Angels did not have their customary complement of right-handed weapons to confront Smith.
Teixeira did his part, slamming two of the four hits against Smith, who went six innings and struck out four.
"A little headache, but I'm all right," Hunter said. "I'm old school; I could have played if I needed to."
When Teixeira unloaded on Ziegler for his 31st homer of the season and 11th with the Angels, it ended several streaks for the side-winding right-hander who has been one of the surprise success stories of the season.
It was the first time since Aug. 17, 2005, that Ziegler had allowed a home run and his first in the Major Leagues -- a span of 54 innings. He was pitching for Double-A Midland the last time someone went deep against him.
Ziegler also had a string of nine successful saves end, but he moved to 2-0 with the win while K-Rod fell to 2-3.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.