A’s Spoil C.J. Wilson’s Home Debut
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kurt Suzuki and Kila Ka’aihue drove in runs, Oakland scored two more on C.J. Wilson’s throwing error in his home debut, and the Athletics beat the struggling Los Angeles Angels 4-2 Thursday night for their third straight victory.
Tommy Milone (2-1) allowed seven hits in five innings in his native Southern California to win the eighth start of his major league career as the Athletics took three of four from the big-budget Angels, who dropped to 4-9.
Albert Pujols had three doubles and missed his first homer for the Angels by just a few inches, sending a drive off the top of the left-field wall in the fifth. The $240 million man extended his hitting streak to nine games with his first three-hit game for Los Angeles, although his career-worst homer drought to open a season stretched to 13 games.
Wilson (2-1) labored through six innings of two-hit ball in his home debut for the Angels, and his teammates also struggled. Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo drove in runs, but Los Angeles stranded 11. Erick Aybar made two errors after receiving his Gold Glove trophy and signing his new $35 million contract before the game.
Pujols reached on a one-out throwing error in the ninth, but Torii Hunter grounded into a game-ending double play. Grant Balfour earned his fourth save for Oakland.
The Angels have lost seven of nine, already falling seven games behind Texas in the AL West early in a season of sky-high expectations.
Milone grew up just north of Los Angeles and pitched three seasons at USC before signing with Washington, which traded him to Oakland. He had a small but vocal cheering section at Angel Stadium, but he nearly gave up Pujols’ first homer with the Angels: After the three-time NL MVP missed by inches in the fifth, he slapped his hands together in obvious frustration at second base.
Wilson opened the season with two stellar road victories after signing a $77.5 million deal to return to his native Orange County, but the left-hander wasn’t impressive at home despite eight strikeouts. He needed 102 pitches to get through his first five innings, and his throwing error helped Oakland take a 4-0 lead.
After Suzuki drove a two-out double into the left-field corner in the second, Wilson created his own trouble in the fourth. He issued two leadoff walks and allowed both runners to score when his throw to first on Seth Smith’s check-swing tapper skipped past Pujols. Yoenis Cespedes scored before Jonny Gomes, who flipped upside-down but got up smiling from his collision with Chris Iannetta.
Ka’aihue then drove in Smith for his first RBI with the A’s.
The Angels finally got going later in the fourth with consecutive doubles from Pujols and Wells, followed by Trumbo’s ferocious RBI single off the left-field wall.
Milone escaped jams in his final two innings, stranding two runners in each. Los Angeles stranded two more in the sixth and seventh against Oakland’s bullpen.
NOTES: Aybar was bumped from the leadoff spot to eighth in manager Mike Scioscia’s lineup after his .190 start to the season. Aybar went 2 for 4. … Pujols was the first Angels hitter with three doubles in a game since Chone Figgins on Aug. 19, 2009. … Milone’s two teams are 7-1 in his eight career starts.