ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Heaney didn’t need much time to get back in a groove, and it’s just soon enough for the Los Angeles Angels and their postseason push.
Heaney struck out a career-high 10, Martin Maldonado had three hits and scored twice and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 on Monday night.
Heaney (1-0), making his third start since Tommy John surgery, struck out the side in the first and the sixth innings. He had his best outing since the surgery, allowing two hits in six innings. He walked three and gave up one home run but worked his way out of trouble behind a strong curveball.
The Angels (67-65), who had lost four of their last five before Monday, moved within one game of Minnesota for the second AL wild-card spot.
Heaney is back and right in the race for the playoff spot.
“This was in line with what his talent says he can do,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He did a great job keeping those guys off-balance. … He made pitches. Got out of a jam in the second and the fifth. His game plan was great. He and (Maldonado) worked great. He used his breaking ball, changeup, fastball on both sides of the plate. It was great to see that.”
Blake Parker pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
Daniel Gossett (3-7) allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
“He went deep in the game. He got off to a little bit of a slow start command-wise and recovered really well,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Gossett.
In the seventh, Ben Revere doubled to right, and Maldonado slid home headfirst on a throwing error by right fielder Matt Joyce. The catcher scored from first to give the Angels a two-run lead.
Heaney got himself into trouble in the fifth but worked himself out. He got two outs, then walked back-to-back batters. They advanced to second and third via a wild pitch, but then he struck out Chad Pinder on a curveball.
Heaney has been his most effective when that curve has been working. This was the first time since returning from his surgery that he appeared to have full command of it.
He threw 94 pitches over six innings and reached 96 mph on his fastball.
HOME BOY HOMERS
Oakland’s Dustin Garneau homered for the first time this season to lead off the third inning and tie it at 1. Garneau is from San Pedro and played at nearby Cal State Fullerton, so this was a special one.
“My family is back in L.A., so they came down here. It’s close enough,” Garneau said. “Had a good crowd tonight.”
Garneau estimated he had about 50 friends and family members in attendance.
Angels star Mike Trout was not in the lineup due to neck stiffness from having crashed into the outfield wall a day earlier. Trout is in an 0-for-17 slump. The longest slump of his career came in 2014 when he went 0 for 18.
The Angels made two great defensive plays to keep Oakland at bay. Kaleb Cowart made a diving stop in the seventh to rob Matt Chapman of a hit. In the eighth inning, Revere made a sprinting snare of a ball in left field to rob Pinder of a hit with a runner on second base.
HEAT OF THE MOMENT
The Angels didn’t take batting practice outside and instead hit in the cages indoors. Temperatures were in the 90s in Anaheim during the afternoon. The A’s are expected to not take batting practice either Tuesday or Wednesday but did so on Monday.
A’s: RHP Paul Blackburn (right hand contusion), who is on the 10-day disabled list, was scheduled to have tests Monday but results were not yet available.
Angels: Scioscia hopes to get Trout back Tuesday.
A’s: RHP Chris Smith (0-3, 5.56 ERA) is still looking for his first win since being promoted on July 8. He’s just 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in his last five outings (four of which were starts).
Angels: RHP Troy Scribner (2-1, 4.00 ERA) makes his fourth start. The Angels are 4-1 in games he’s pitched this season. He had a career-high six strikeouts last Thursday in a 3-0 loss to Texas.