Homers from Vogt, Semien lead Athletics past Angels
By Jane Lee and Earl Bloom
ANAHEIM -- The A's got home runs from Stephen Vogt and Marcus Semien and relied on a dominant six-inning performance from their bullpen to hold off the Angels, 6-3, on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series at Angel Stadium.
A's right-hander Dan Otero put together four scoreless innings in relief of starter Kendall Graveman, who lasted just three-plus innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts. David Freese singled in two runs off him in the first, and Albert Pujols added an RBI single in the third.
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker was also around for only three-plus innings. The right-hander struggled with his command out of the gates, walking two of his first three batters he faced and three overall. He was on the hook for five runs and seven hits, including Vogt's three-run homer in the third and Semien's leadoff shot in the fourth.
"We saw enough of him last year for sure," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Shoemaker. "To make him throw some pitches, string together some good at-bats, that's what we need to do to a starter, try to get into the bullpen."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED What a relief: The A's bullpen, which entered the game with four losses in the club's first 13 games, bailed out Graveman with six scoreless innings. Otero led the way with a career-high four frames, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts. Evan Scribner tossed a scoreless eighth, and Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth, notching his first save with the Athletics. More >
Big blast: Vogt provided the difference-maker in this one, belting a three-run home run to right field in the third inning, his team-leading fourth long ball of the season. The A's catcher did it from the three-hole, rewarding Melvin's decision to plug him into the middle of the lineup in place of the injured Ben Zobrist.
"The nice part for me is, I've hit in every spot in the order except for leadoff since I've been here with the A's, so I've kind of experienced going everywhere," said Vogt. "What I'm really learning is, it doesn't matter where you take your at-bat in the order, take it the same way you would take it in any other slot."
Wild from the start: Shoemaker entered the game 9-0 with a 2.60 career ERA vs. the American League West. He walked Sam Fuld on four pitches to open the game. It only led to one run, but it didn't get any better for an uncharacteristically wild Shoemaker. He walked career-high-tying three. In his previous 23 starts, Shoemaker walked zero nine times and one seven times.
"Everything was kind of off -- it was one of those nights," Shoemaker said. "Unfortunately, those nights happen. You're almost fighting yourself, trying to execute pitches." More >
Web masters: The A's came through with several defensive gems in the winning effort. Fuld made a spectacular diving grab in center field to rob Freese of a two-out RBI hit in the third. First baseman Ike Davis, meanwhile, provided two memorable plays, including a reaching grab of a Mike Trout foul ball over the railing of the A's dugout in the fifth inning.
"I got excited," said Otero. "I don't know if you saw it, but I got really excited. Anytime you don't have to throw another pitch to that guy, it's a really good thing."
"He hits in the three spot every day, so we're losing a significant guy here for a couple days," -- Melvin, on being without Zobrist while he nurses a sore left knee, potentially for the seriesMore >
"You have to have the horses run the race they're capable of running. We have some real, strong guys at the back end. Before that, we'll match up." -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia, talking about his reliever's roles, which have yet to be defined beyond setup man Joe Smith and closer Huston Street
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: Left-hander Hector Santiago (1-1, 2.92 ERA) starts against the A's at 7:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. Santiago is 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA in his career against Oakland.
A's: The A's will counter with fellow lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 3.00). The 26-year-old is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) against the Angels.