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04/08/09 3:30 AM ET
Bullpen falters against A's
Angels fall flat after jumping out to early lead
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Leave it to Torii Hunter to cut through the silence with some humor. "Man," the Angels center fielder said, shaking his head. "I thought we were going to go undefeated, but it didn't work out for us." Walking by with a smile, heading toward the showers, Chone Figgins grinned. "Way to go, Obama," Figgins said. The Athletics got some hits to fall -- 16 of them, here, there and everywhere -- and their cumulative weight flattened the Angels, 6-4, on Tuesday night, knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten two games into the season. A two-run seventh inning against Kevin Jepsen, who yielded four singles in all types of forms, turned the game in Oakland's favor, the A's winning a battle of bullpens after starters Dustin Moseley and Trevor Cahill had engaged each other on fairly even terms. "They pressured us in the batter's box all night," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They kept it on us, and we couldn't catch up from behind." Manufacturing single runs in the first two innings against the rookie Cahill on the legs of Figgins and Jeff Mathis, the Angels left the bases loaded in the first and two men in scoring position in the third. Ending a 12-inning scoring drought, the A's broke loose with a three-run fourth inning against Moseley on four singles and an infield out. "That's what I wanted to do -- come in and throw strikes," Moseley said. "I threw too many of them ahead in counts in that [fourth] inning. "They've got a good lineup. They've got some thunder throughout that lineup." The A's were without Matt Holliday, who was ill, but they got three hits apiece from Jack Cust, Jason Giambi and Ryan Sweeney, with Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Ellis delivering a pair each. Sweeney scored twice and Cust knocked in two, including the second run in the seventh against Jepsen with a broken-bat single after Eric Chavez's fielder's choice grounder had delivered the go-ahead run. Giambi fought off several mid-90s fastballs before delivering a single that was followed by a Garciaparra single through the middle smothered by second baseman Howard Kendrick to load the bases. "Garciaparra's ground ball, if it's five feet this way or that way," Scioscia said, "it's a double play and we're out of the inning. That's what happens." Scioscia praised the work of both Moseley and Jepsen, neither of whom was blessed with good fortune. "I thought Jep was throwing well," Scioscia said. "Guys got some hits, but his arm was alive -- and he's going to be important for us this year. "I thought Moseley pitched very well. Even when they got the three runs in the [fourth] inning, he still had good stuff and made some pitches." Michael Wuertz picked up the win with a scoreless sixth, followed by two scoreless innings by Santiago Casilla before Brad Ziegler finished for his first save. Jepsen absorbed the loss. Figgins got the Angels started, as he so often does. After leading off with a walk, he stole second, advanced on Howard Kendrick's deep fly to right and scored on Bobby Abreu's infield out. The Angels made it 2-0 in the second when Mathis doubled leading off, was bunted to third by Erick Aybar and scored on a wild pitch. But Cahill showed his resolve under pressure, making pitches under pressure and leaving runners stranded. Twice he retired Juan Rivera in key situations, on a fly ball in the first and a ground-out in the third. "We had opportunities early, but you have to give those guys credit," Scioscia said. "They made some good pitches in key situations. We were good at the plate -- we just couldn't get any key hits." Cust's inability to handle Guerrero's fly ball to right center leading off the fifth for a two-base error set in motion events leading to the tying run. Kendry Morales' line-drive single to center scored Hunter, who'd reached second on a fielder's choice. Moseley yielded three earned runs on nine hits across six innings, striking out four while walking none. Cahill surrendered three runs, two earned, on five hits in five innings. Figgins scored twice, Abreu delivered a pair of RBIs, Morales had a double and a walk before his RBI single, and Aybar delivered a double and a walk. But the Angels were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and those were the numbers that cost them.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.