Athletics

Late home run hurts A's in loss to start road series vs. Angels

Late home run hurts A's in loss to start road series vs. Angels

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton hit two-run homers, Albert Pujols reached another milestone and the Los Angeles Angels rallied from an early deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.

With a single in the sixth inning, Pujols recorded his 1,000th career hit with the Angels. He became just the ninth player all-time with at least 1,000 hits in each league after getting 2,073 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Four former Angels are on the list: Dave Winfield, Frank Robinson, Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera.

The Angels trailed 3-0 just four batters into the game. Starter Felix Pena regained his composure and gave up just two more hits and no runs while pitching into the sixth inning. Los Angeles improved to 8-1 over its last nine home games.

Matt Chapman and Khris Davis each hit home runs in the first inning for the A's, who are now 13-6 since the All-Star break. Chapman hit his 16th homer while Davis' two-run shot was his 33rd.

Calhoun connected for a two-run drive in the third, his 16th of the season and 11th over his last 25 games. Calhoun's 15 home runs since June 18 lead the American League.

Calhoun had just one home run and was batting .145 over 50 games when he went to the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. In the 44 games since he has returned, he has hit 14 of his 15 home runs, with 34 runs scored and 35 RBIs.

Upton hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth off Lou Trivino (8-2).

Jim Johnson (4-2) retired the only batter he faced for the win. The Angels used three more pitchers in the ninth, with Blake Parker getting the final out for his 11th save.

Fernando Rodney made his A's debut, striking out a batter during a perfect seventh inning. Rodney was acquired Thursday in a trade from the Minnesota Twins.

RODNEY ARRIVES

A's manager Bob Melvin says Rodney doesn't have a set role. Instead, Melvin expects to mix and match his late-inning relievers in a stacked Oakland bullpen.

"More than anything, it probably allows us to not overuse a Lou Trivino, to not overuse a Yusmeiro Petit," Melvin said. "As much as we use our bullpen on certain days, we're not afraid to move guys to the back end of the bullpen if a (Blake) Treinen or (Jeurys) Familia needs time off, so it just makes us better."

Rodney had 25 saves for the Twins in 46 appearances with a 3.09 ERA, but the closer job will still belong to Treinen.

VLAD THE HALL OF FAMER

The Angels honored new Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero with an on-field pregame ceremony that pushed back first pitch about a half hour. Guerrero, who made quick introductory speech at Cooperstown last month, was even quicker when he spoke to the crowd in both English and Spanish on Friday.

"His forte is to not go up there and spew accolades about himself, and I think it makes him all the more special," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was so beloved by his teammates because when he was playing, he was the best player on the planet but . never talking about himself. He was a special talent."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Mike Trout was put on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed right wrist. Scioscia expects his All-Star center fielder to return on Thursday when his DL stint ends. .

UP NEXT

A's: RHP Edwin Jackson (3-2, 2.87 ERA) will take the mound Saturday in the middle game of the series, carrying the sixth lowest ERA in the American League since his contract was selected June 25.

Angels: RHP Tyler Skaggs (8-7, 3.34) is expected to make his return from the disabled list Saturday, having not pitched since July 31 because of a left adductor strain.

A's notes: Oakland completes best 50-game stretch since 2005

A's notes: Oakland completes best 50-game stretch since 2005

OAKLAND — On June 15, the A's were 34-36, 11 games out of a playoff spot. Since then, all they've done is rattle off 38 wins against 12 losses, their best 50-game stretch in 13 years. Even more incredible, 20 of those 38 wins have been of the comeback variety, and 14 have seen the winning run scored in the eighth inning or later. Oakland has only lost one of its last 17 series (14-1-2), moving within a game of first-place Houston in the AL West.

--- The A's won their 65th straight game when leading at the end of the seventh inning, matching the longest such streak in franchise history (July 21, 1927 – June 23, 1928). Oakland is 50-0 this season when leading at the end of the seventh, and 59-0 when leading at the end of the eighth.

--- Matt Chapman doubled and walked to extend his career-high on-base streak to 28 games. It's the longest active streak in the American League. Chapman also extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games.

--- Marcus Semien hit his third home run in the last four games. He is 9 for his last 17 with three home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored.

--- Jonathan Lucroy threw out Dee Gordon attempting to steal second base in the eighth inning. Lucroy leads MLB with 22 runners caught stealing this season.

--- The A's have won 11 of their last 12 home games, and 17 of their last 20. For the season, Oakland is 35-23 at the Coliseum.

--- The A's improved to 25-10 in one-run games, the best record in MLB. Seattle fell to 30-16 in one-run contests.

--- Felix Hernandez made his first career relief appearance after making 398 starts. Only Mike Mussina made more career starts before his first relief appearance.

Mike Fiers battles through injury to earn first win with A's

Mike Fiers battles through injury to earn first win with A's

OAKLAND — In the hours leading up to first pitch Tuesday night, Bob Melvin wasn't even sure Mike Fiers would be his starting pitcher.

“He almost didn't make the start,” Melvin said after the game. “He had a lower back/upper glute issue. I had two (lineup) cards made out. I had potentially (Yusmeiro) Petit starting that game.”

Fortunately Fiers was able to battle through the injury and pitch six strong innings, earning his first win as a member of the Athletics.

“I was fine,” Fiers said. “Everyone's not 100 percent this part of the season, but I was fine. I just had a little something going on, but nothing serious at all.”

After allowing a run in the first inning, Fiers settled in and allowed just one more run in the next five innings. He struck out five batters, without issuing a walk.

“The first couple of innings, I was a little worried about him,” Melvin admitted. “He seemed to loosen up and get better as the game went along. But to think that he was going to give us six innings -- he was pitching on adrenaline.”

“I didn't feel anything,” Fiers said. “I just had a little muscle cramp. It was nothing. I just had to stretch and get a little active warmup in, and it went away.”

Fiers has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last nine starts, lowering his ERA from 4.29 to 3.38. In two starts with the A's, he has given up just three runs in 11 1/3 innings, for an ERA of 2.38, with 13 strikeouts and no walks.

“They all feel like playoff games,” Fiers said. “This is the spot I wanted to be in. I wanted to be on a team that's winning and heading for the playoffs.”

Fiers has already helped the A's in their playoff push, and he figures to be a vital piece the rest of the season.

“To have a guy go out there and give us a quality start, we're going to need that down the stretch,” said second baseman Jed Lowrie.

“He just goes out there and competes, throws strikes, and goes after guys,” added third baseman Matt Chapman. “It's fun to play defense behind a guy like that.”

“I feel like this team has a lot of trust in me,” Fiers said. “I don't want to let them down. I want to pitch well and give them everything I've got.”