OAKLAND (AP) — Stephen Piscotty thought he had Andrelton Simmons’ fly ball lined up in the sixth inning before a woman reached her glove over the right-field wall and cost him a potential catch in foul territory.
Simmons hit a two-run single moments later, Kaleb Cowart launched a go-ahead grand slam and the Los Angeles Angels scored six times in the sixth to rally past the Oakland Athletics 9-7 on Tuesday night.
The A’s challenged that the fan interfered with Piscotty making the play, but the call was upheld with no interference charged.
“I don’t know how you don’t. He’s going to catch it,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I’m not sure what they saw that we didn’t see. I asked Stephen and he said he’d have caught it. Maybe the placement of the runners, maybe they don’t know where they’re going with that, I don’t know. It’s an out. You want to get every out you possibly can. We felt like it was catchable.”
Oakland dropped five games back of the AL West-leading Astros and 2 1/2 behind the Yankees for the top wild card after Houston and New York each won. The red-hot Rays are closing in, too, trailing Oakland by 5½ games.
“It’s a tough play going into the wall, but I felt like I was there in enough time. Definitely changes how that inning goes, but nothing we can do about it now,” Piscotty said. “I never understand when they’re going to overturn stuff. I had a feeling they wouldn’t.”
Mike Trout homered for Los Angeles and stole his 24th base.
Cowart connected against Lou Trivino (8-3) for his club’s first grand slam of the season and later added an RBI triple.
“Hopefully, I’ll get into a rhythm here and get some playing time. I felt good tonight,” Cowart said.
Noe Ramirez (6-5) pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief for the win. Ty Buttrey allowed a two-run single to pinch-hitter Dustin Fowler in the eighth but got five outs for his fourth save.
Mark Canha hit a three-run double in the fourth for the A’s, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
Trout’s 35th home run broke a scoreless tie when he connected off Daniel Mengden in the fourth.
Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs returned from a third stint on the disabled list this season to throw three scoreless innings. He missed 32 games with a strained muscle in his left leg during his latest trip to the DL. He last pitched Aug. 11 against the A’s before dealing with leg issues once more.
Oakland loaded the bases in the fourth against Cam Bedrosian, getting walks by Jed Lowrie and Piscotty sandwiched around a single by Khris Davis. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien each struck out swinging before Canha came through with a bases-clearing double off the left-field wall. Jonathan Lucroy followed with an RBI single to chase Bedrosian.
Oakland’s Liam Hendriks recorded the first three outs on seven pitches. Then his day was done, and Mengden took over for the A’s, who again began the game with a reliever as Melvin copes with an injury-plagued rotation.
OHTANI TOP ROOKIE?
Don’t ask Angels manager Mike Scioscia who else but Shohei Ohtani should be considered for AL Rookie of the Year — he doesn’t have another name to offer.
Just his Japanese two-way star.
“To do what Shohei did, it’s on a different level,” Scioscia said of the designated hitter and pitcher. “He’s doing everything you could imagine a kid 23 years old coming in and doing. I think he’s Rookie of the Year.”
Angels: Rookie second baseman and utilityman David Fletcher, who exited Sunday’s game against Seattle in the first inning with a strained left hamstring, will only return once fully healthy. “We’re not going to rush anything or run him into a game and put him at risk,” Scioscia said.
Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill, scratched from his scheduled Saturday start at Tampa Bay with a strain in his upper back before getting trigger-point injections, played catch from 120 feet.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena (3-4, 3.75 ERA) faces the A’s for the third time this season seeking his first decision in those matchups. Only one of the previous outings was a start.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (3-5, 4.35) makes his second start since coming off the DL after taking the loss last Thursday at Baltimore, where he lasted just 3 1/3 innings. He has walked one or fewer batters in each of his past nine starts, with just five free passes over 48 innings during that stretch.
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