ANAHEIM -- Kole Calhoun blasted a two-run homer off Jesse Chavez and Nick Tropeano pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut on Thursday afternoon, setting the tone in the Angels' 2-0 victory over the A's in Southern California.
Calhoun's homer was the only hit for the Angels' offense, which plated fewer than four runs for the 11th time in 16 games this season. It came off Chavez in the bottom of the third, two batters after Drew Butera reached first on a throwing error by A's third baseman Brett Lawrie. Calhoun got a 1-1 cutter out over the plate and lined it over the scoreboard in right-center to give him three home runs on the season and eventually help split the four-game series.
The win moved the Angels to 7-9 and was just their second victory in seven home games this season. The A's finished their 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record and are 8-9 on the season.
"That's a big win right there," Calhoun said. "For us to not really be doing what we want to do at the plate and still be able to come out with a win is huge."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Tropeano deals: Tropeano was basically only called up to start because his pitching schedule allowed him to take the ball on five days' rest. For the Angels, it was a happy coincidence. The 24-year-old right-hander, acquired from the Astros for catcher Hank Conger in November, shut out the A's for six-plus frames, scattering five hits, walking one and striking out five. It was probably only a one-start stint, since Matt Shoemaker is expected to return from the bereavement list next week, but Tropeano made a favorable impression. More >
Missed opportunities: The A's stranded 10 baserunners and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, missing every chance to provide support for an impressive Chavez. Twice they left a runner at third base. Josh Reddick led off the seventh with a base hit and advanced to third on Eric Sogard's one-out single, but Marcus Semien proceeded to fly out to shallow right field, and Sam Fuld grounded into an inning-ending forceout.
Seventh heaven: The seventh inning was a nightmare for the Angels on Wednesday, when they turned a tie score into a five-run deficit with three relievers. But Fernando Salas preserved a two-run lead in the series finale, paving the way for Joe Smith and Huston Street to record the final six outs. Salas, who allowed 75 percent of inherited runners to score last season, came in after Tropeano allowed a leadoff single to Reddick and retired three of his next four batters.
Tough-luck loss: The A's couldn't have asked for much more from Chavez, who was starting in place of Jesse Hahn (blister). Making his first start of the season following four relief appearances, Chavez allowed only Calhoun's homer in six innings, walking three and striking out four. He finished at 90 pitches.
"He was great," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We expect a lot out of him, and to give up one hit on a moment's notice to start, I don't know how you can ask for much more than that." More >
"I've seen us lose on a no-hitter, so winning on a one-hitter feels a lot better." -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia, on the Angels winning despite not getting much offense
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tuesday marked the third time in Angels history that they've won despite getting only one hit, with the last occurrence coming on a walk-off passed ball against the Rangers on June 16, 1986. Charlie Hough had a no-hitter through 8 1/3 innings until Wally Joyner broke it up. The last time the A's lost despite allowing one hit was April 14, 1992, in Kansas City. It was only the fourth occurrence in Oakland's franchise history since at least 1914.
Mike Trout stole his fourth base in the Angels' 16th game on Thursday, already accounting for 25 percent of his output from 2014. That year, Trout didn't pick up his fourth stolen base until the Angels' 26th game of the season.
Street's streak of consecutive batters retired to start the season ended at 14 on Thursday, when Semien reached on a slow roller to the right side with two outs in the ninth inning. The Angels' closer retired the next batter, pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist, on a flyout in foul territory to notch his fifth save.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's finally return home on Friday following a 10-game road trip, and will have lefty Scott Kazmir on the mound for a 7:05 p.m. PT start against the Astros, who will counter with southpaw Dallas Keuchel. Kazmir is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA over his first three starts this season, and 6-0 with a 1.84 ERA in nine April starts over the last two seasons.
Angels:Garrett Richards makes his second start of the season on Friday, when the Angels host the Rangers for a weekend series. Richards gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in five innings against the Astros on Sunday, nearly eight months after rupturing his left patellar tendon. Game time is 7:05 p.m. PT.