Soto's HR in 9th sends Angels to win over A's

Soto's HR in 9th sends Angels to win over A's

OAKLAND -- Catcher Geovany Soto delivered a go-ahead, two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning off A's closer Sean Doolittle to give the Angels their third straight win, a 5-4 series-clinching victory at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Soto's first home run of the season, a blast to left-center field following a one-out walk to C.J. Cron, overshadowed a two-homer day from Marcus Semien. The A's shortstop tagged Angels starter Hector Santiago for a homer to left to lead off the third, then again with two outs in the seventh for his second career multi-homer day.

"It's great to have helped the team win," Soto said. "But it's mainly a team effort."

Santiago was on the hook for four runs in 7 2/3 innings, while A's starter Kendall Graveman limited the Angels to one run and four hits. A's reliever Ryan Madson was responsible for two runs, snapping a 15-inning regular-season scoreless streak dating back to last year, when he surrendered a two-out, two-run double to Albert Pujols in the eighth ahead of Doolittle's blown save, his first of the year.

"They had some pretty good hitters get some good at-bats off 'em," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Both guys looked good out there. Albert hit a changeup. Soto probably hit a fastball that was down maybe a little but more than we see Sean pitching up. The bullpen's been great. You gotta give them credit, too."

Angels closer Huston Street called Tuesday's win "a micro-example of who we are as a team, and who we will continue to be throughout the season."

Street shuts the door

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Move over, Reggie: Pujols made it a one-run game in the eighth inning, turning on a two-out, two-strike changeup for Madson and lacing a two-run double down the left-field line. The hit snapped Madson's streak of 15 regular-season innings without allowing a run and gave Pujols 1,703 RBIs for his career, passing Reggie Jackson (1,702) for 23rd on all the all-time list.

"I just missed my pitch. It was a changeup, it got in, jammed him a little bit, but it was up enough so he could handle it," Madson said. "I knew that was kind of a safe pitch, wanted him to swing over the top of it, but it was up enough for him to get it in there." More >

Pujols' two-run double

Speed Burns: After sitting three straight days, outfielder Billy Burns returned to the starting lineup and made the most of his opportunity, providing a spark from the leadoff spot by reaching base in each of his first three plate appearances via a walk and two hits. In the first, he stole second and, after advancing to third on Josh Phegley's fly ball to right field, scored the game's first run on Reddick's RBI single. His hustle paid off again in the third, when he singled, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third base and promptly scored on Reddick's groundball out to first.

"That's what he does, he creates some havoc out there," Melvin said. "Gets on base three times, steals a couple bases."

Burns swipes third

Double dinger: Semien had just two hits in his previous 15 at-bats when he stepped to the plate in the third inning for the first time Tuesday night and belted a 2-2 fastball offering from Santiago into the left-field stands. His homer-happy ways from the No. 9 hole continued in the seventh, as he improved to 6-for-16 (.375) at home this season. The shortstop, who is on pace for 54 home runs this season, totaled 15 last year.

"I've faced [Santiago] a lot," Semien said. "It seems like every time we play them we've faced him, and he's shown me his whole arsenal. I got him on a cutter. He threw me a lot of changeups the one at-bat I got out, then I was able to get him on the changeup the next time.

"It felt great tonight. I just want to keep consistent with barreling up the baseball, not necessarily trying to hit home runs, but if it happens, it happens."

Semien's solo homer

Running a long way: Andrelton Simmons, widely regarded the best defensive shortstop in the game, sprinted more than 100 feet to make a sliding catch on Coco Crisp's foul pop-up to start the ninth inning. Statcast™ had Simmons covering 114.6 feet and running at a top speed of 19.6 mph to make that catch. His route efficiency was 98.5 percent.

"That's my first taste of how ... really good he is," Angels closer Huston Street said after recording the save with a 1-2-3 ninth. "I swear to you when he caught it, I was like, 'Wow, that's a great play.' But I guess you've just seen him make so many plays, I really wasn't surprised."

Statcast: Simmons' racing grab

QUOTABLE
"That's the good thing about having five pitches you can throw for strikes. If you have them, you can do whatever you want." -- Santiago, on throwing only changeups in the fourth inning and zero breaking balls from the start of the fourth until he exited with two outs in the eighth

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cliff Pennington pinch-ran for Pujols in the top of the eighth, then checked in at first base for the first time in his nine-year career in the bottom half. Counting the playoffs, Pennington had seen action at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and pitcher, but never first base. He got some time there this spring, though, and made a nice charging play on a slow roller.

"We're not going to hesitate to put him out there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The only way you're going to get game experience is to get out there. If we need him to try to get back into a game and play first base, he's able to do that. He's comfortable."

WHAT'S NEXT
Angels: Matt Shoemaker takes the mound for the series finale hoping to make up for a rough first start. Shoemaker gave up six runs and recorded only nine outs when he faced the Rangers on Friday, giving up seven hits and three walks. He had a 6.04 ERA in five starts against the A's last year.

Athletics: Left-hander Eric Surkamp returns to the mound Wednesday for a 12:35 p.m. PT start against the visiting Angels. Surkamp went 4 1/3 innings in his A's debut in Seattle on Friday, allowing two runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts in his first start since July 23, 2013.

 

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.