ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) –– Torii Hunter and Alberto Callaspo hit back-to-back homers, Ervin Santana allowed one run in six solid innings, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 Wednesday night for their fourth win in six games.
Reggie Willits’ first hit of the season was a run-scoring double for the Angels, and Peter Bourjos added an RBI single. Los Angeles has won two of three in the four-game series with its upstate AL West rivals.
Santana (3-4) yielded six hits and two walks, outpitching Oakland’s Trevor Cahill in his second straight victory after winning just once in his first nine starts.
Jordan Walden pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 13 chances.
Coco Crisp had an RBI double in the fifth for the A’s, who have lost seven of eight amid scattered locker-room dissatisfaction with manager Bob Geren.
Hunter and Callaspo connected in the fifth inning against Cahill (6-2), who couldn’t join Boston’s Jon Lester as the AL’s only seven-game winners.
Cahill had won his past three starts against the Angels, but he’s stumbling for the first time in an otherwise stellar season. After five consecutive victories, the right-hander yielded 10 hits for the second time in three straight winless starts. He also gave up five walks while struggling through six innings.
Cahill had given up just four homers all season before Hunter and Callaspo connected with one out in the fifth. Willits was 0 for 13 to start the season before his double later in the fifth scored Mark Trumbo.
Hunter might be regaining his power stroke after a weak start to the season in the cleanup spot vacated by injured Cuban slugger Kendrys Morales, who’s out for the season with a broken left ankle from early 2010. Hunter has two homers in his last four games after hitting just four in his first 47 outings.
Santana mostly avoided trouble, but got help from his defense at a key point.
Crisp’s double in the fifth inning drove home Andy LaRoche, but Alexi Amarista’s relay throw allowed catcher Hank Conger to tag out Cliff Pennington at the plate, keeping the game tied at 1 before the Angels’ three-run rally in the bottom half of the inning.
In the eighth, Amarista — who also had two hits – made a nifty diving stop at second base of Ryan Sweeney’s grounder, with his throw barely beating Sweeney to end the inning.
Geren called a 15-minute team meeting before the game, possibly to discuss communication issues in the wake of reliever Brian Fuentes’ critical comments about Geren earlier in the series.
Former Oakland closer Huston Street, now with Colorado, added to the drama by telling the San Francisco Chronicle that Geren was a poor communicator and his “least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.”
“I don’t think it’s my place to comment on somebody on another team,” Geren said of Street.
Notes: Angels C Hank Conger snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a second-inning single. … Cahill allowed back-to-back homers for just the second time in his career. … Santana improved to 13-3 in his career against Oakland.