OAKLAND (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a two-run drive to make him one of four players with 10 career 35-homer seasons, and the Los Angeles Angels jumped on AL ERA leader Sonny Gray from the start to beat the Oakland Athletics 9-4 Wednesday.
Pujols had an RBI single in the first inning, then hit his 555th career homer in the second. He joined Hall of Famers Willie Mays (10) and Mike Schmidt (11) and Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez (12) to have reached 35 home runs in 10 or more years.
Andrew Heaney (6-2) struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in seven innings to end a six-start winless stretch. He had gone 0-2 since a victory against Texas on July 26.
Gray (12-7) lost his third straight decision, matching his career high with six earned runs allowed for the first time since exactly a year earlier on Sept. 2, 2014, at Seattle.
The All-Star righty gave up four straight singles to start the game. Gray’s wild pitch scored the first of four runs in the inning.
Gray lost to the Angels for the first time in five starts this season after beginning 3-0.
The Angels won two in a row for the first time since a three-game winning streak Aug. 17-19. They also earned just their fifth victory in the last 22 road games.
David Murphy and David Freese each singled home runs in the first inning and C.J. Cron had an RBI groundout as Gray fell behind. Gray also dropped to 7-3 in 12 starts against the AL West this year and 19-8 for his career.
Josh Phegley hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first when the A’s pulled back within 4-3. Oakland has homered in a season-high nine straight games, with 12 longballs. Brett Lawrie led off the eighth with his 15th home run against reliever Joe Smith.
Billy Burns and Danny Valencia returned to the Oakland lineup after each sat Tuesday to rest their ailing bodies. Valencia hit an RBI single.
Angels: 1B/LF Efren Navarro was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to give Los Angeles more depth at first given Pujols was designated hitter for the second straight game. Navarro came in to pinch-run in the seventh and stayed in to play 1B beginning the eighth.
Athletics: RHP reliever Evan Scribner has a tear in his lat muscle behind his pitching shoulder and is done for the season. He had a similar injury in 2011. … OF Sam Fuld (back spasms) missed a third straight game and could need a few more days. … Oakland optioned RHP Cody Martin to Triple-A Nashville a day after taking a loss in his first career start.
Angels: Off-day Thursday. RHP Garrett Richards (12-10) pitches the series opener Friday against Texas, trying to improve on his 2-0 mark and 1.84 ERA through his first two starts of the year against the Rangers.
Athletics: After Thursday’s off-day, RHP Aaron Brooks will face Seattle Mariners for the first time Friday. He makes his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday for his second big league stint of 2015.
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