OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Torii Hunter drove in three runs and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep at Oakland by rolling to a 7-1 victory after Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy took a liner off his head in the fourth inning.
McCarthy (8-6) was sent to the hospital after he was struck by Erick Aybar’s comebacker. The team said he never lost consciousness.
Howie Kendrick doubled and hit a two-run single to help the Angels pull within 2 1/2 games of Oakland for one of two AL wild-card spots. Dan Haren (10-10) allowed one run and three hits in six innings.
The Angels outscored Oakland 21-5 in the series. Los Angeles (74-63) has won eight of its last nine to move a season-best 11 games over .500.
Seth Smith’s single in the third drove home Oakland’s only run. Four relievers held the A’s scoreless over the final three innings.
Oakland, which had won a season-best nine straight games entering the series, had not been swept at home since dropping three straight to the Yankees from May 25-27.
The Angels grabbed control with three runs in the third. Alberto Callaspo hit a leadoff single, moved to second on Bobby Wilson’s sacrifice and scored on Hunter’s two-out single. After Albert Pujols doubled and Kendrys Morales was walked intentionally, Kendrick tacked on a two-run single.
Haren almost handed the lead to Oakland until he found his groove.
He walked Derek Norris and Cliff Pennington to start the bottom of the third. Coco Crisp grounded to first, and Morales’ throw sailed wide to pull Aybar off second and allow Pennington to slide in safely.
Aybar argued with second base umpire Tom Hallion that Pennington ran out of the baseline. Angels manager Mike Scioscia also ran out of the dugout for a failed protest.
Smith singled to right to slice the Angels’ lead to 3-1. Haren struck out Josh Reddick and got Yoenis Cespedes to ground out to end the threat.
Then came the scary play in the fourth when McCarthy had almost no time to react to Aybar’s liner on a 91-mph cutter. The ball bounced off the right side of McCarthy’s head, knocking the pitcher down. He also landed on his head on the infield grass.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson picked up the deflected ball and threw out Aybar for the second out of the inning.
McCarthy curled up in a ball and was writhing in pain. Team trainers checked on McCarthy for several minutes as A’s players huddled around the infield and on the top step of the dugout.
Aybar also stood on first base and looked on with concern. He could be seen in the Angels’ dugout later sitting with his head down and his hands over his head.
McCarthy eventually sat up and stroked his hands through his hair and around his head. He walked off the mound under his own power to an ovation from the Oakland Coliseum crowd and was taken to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland as a precaution.
Travis Blackley tossed three scoreless innings in relief.
Hunter added a two-run single in the ninth with the bases loaded.
NOTES: Angels ace Jered Weaver returned to Southern California for further examination of his bruised right arm. He likely will miss his next start Friday against Detroit. … Pujols’ double in the third was his 40th this season. He had 29 doubles last year with St. Louis. … Oakland LHP Jordan Norberto (shoulder tendinitis) is expected to start throwing again in the next few days. … Both teams are off Thursday.