Pitching sets tone for A's quick rebound

Hahn gives bullpen rest with strong outing

Pitching sets tone for A's quick rebound

OAKLAND -- Just like that, the A's have knotted a series that had the beginnings of a horror scene.

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Back at the Coliseum just 15 hours after experiencing perhaps their biggest collapse of the season, a five-run lead that mutated into a five-run defeat, the A's responded with an encouraging 4-1 victory over the Angels to even the three-game set on Saturday.

Oakland needed only two pitchers to get the job done, after relying on six to maneuver through Friday's mess. Right-hander Jesse Hahn led the way with 7 2/3 superb innings, and Tyler Clippard notched the final four outs for his 11th save.

Clippard earns the save

"We've been getting really significant performances out of our starter," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But on a day when we probably didn't have a few guys available down there, and after last night, we needed our starter to go deep in the game and hold them down. He did every bit of that."

"It's exactly what we needed right there," said Stephen Vogt, who went 3-for-3 while moving into the American League lead with Miguel Cabrera for most RBIs (51).

Hahn held a stacked Angels lineup to just four hits. He walked four but also struck out just as many, stranding five runners -- including at second and third base in both the second and third innings.

The right-hander fanned Kyle Kubitza to close out the top half of the second, and in the third, he maintained his composure after a wild pitch put runners on second and third to induce an inning-ending flyout from Albert Pujols.

Vogt's RBI double

"Right then, I didn't want to get beat on my worst stuff," Hahn said. "So for me, my best pitch is my sinker in, so I tried to get that sinker in on him, either get a ground ball or, fortunate enough, I got a fly ball from him."

"He went from just kinda throwing to now he's pitching, and he's pitching consistently," Vogt said. "He makes adjustments really well and knows his stuff now."

Hahn's effective use of all four of his pitches -- notably his slider and changeup, which weren't thrown for as many strikes early in the season -- have allowed him to be less predictable and, in turn, get deeper into games. He's completed at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts, three times completing at least seven frames.

His ERA through 14 starts stands at 3.40, and 2.25 in his last six starts.

That the A's offense has been keeping pace with the starters' performance is why this club maintains belief in a turnaround. On Saturday, the offense collected 11 hits, and is batting .309 over the last seven games, including .383 with runners in scoring position.

But the players also know they can't look beyond a series.

"We're right back in this one," Hahn said. "It's basically 0-0 right now. We got to try to come out and get a win tomorrow and hopefully win the series."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.