Callaspo delivers when Angels need it most

Callaspo delivers when Angels need it most

Callaspo delivers when Angels need it most
OAKLAND -- The struggling Angels' offense, which showed signs of breaking out of its funk in a win over the A's on Tuesday night, was back to its usual anemic self on Wednesday afternoon in the rubber match of the teams' three-game series.

But despite wasting another brilliant start from right-hander Jered Weaver, Los Angeles did just enough to take home the 3-1 win in 11 innings, securing the series victory and improving the team's record in deciding games to 2-4.

With no runs or hits tallied by either team since the sixth inning, Wednesday's game became a race to see which mediocre offense could push something across. The Angels finally did in the 11th off A's left-hander Jordan Norberto.

Alberto Callaspo doubled with two outs and runners on the corners, plating Peter Bourjos (pinch-running for Kendrys Morales) and Howie Kendrick and finally breaking the 1-1 tie that had gripped the game for five innings.

"We're doing what we need do," said right-hander Ernesto Frieri, who worked the bottom of the 11th for his first career save. "I think things are trending positive right now, and we just got to keep playing baseball. This is not an easy game. You've got to take every day one game at a time, and that's what we're doing right now."

For a while, it looked as if Weaver would just win the game himself. After allowing eight runs in a loss to Texas on May 13, the 29-year-old pitched like an ace for the second straight start, spinning eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball.

Weaver looked to have a significant chance to collect his second shutout of the season against a team that he has dominated in the past. He came into the affair with a 2.71 career ERA in 21 starts against Oakland, and lowered that mark to 2.63 with his performance on Wednesday.

Weaver's strong start came a day after left-hander C.J. Wilson one-hit the A's over eight shutout innings. Oakland has now scored just 27 runs over its last 11 games.

"There's no doubt both guys threw the ball really well, but offensively, as a ballclub, you got to still make things happen." said A's shortstop Cliff Pennington. "They both were really hitting their spots, ahead in the count all day long, but at the same time you got to be able to find a way to scratch and claw, especially when your guy did what Parker did."

The Angels looked just as poor at the plate against Oakland starter Jarrod Parker, who bounced back from the worst outing of his young career to spin seven innings of five-hit, one run baseball, striking out eight. Manager Mike Scioscia said his team's lack of offense made Weaver's job more difficult.

"He just keeps pitching," Scioscia said. "It's not easy to pitch with your back against the wall. It isn't. There are things that he had to do in the game a little earlier that he might not have wanted to do if we had a 2-0 or 3-0 lead, instead of a 1-0 lead."

That 1-0 lead disappeared when the punchless A's lineup managed to make things interesting. Seth Smith hit a changeup out of the park to center field with two outs in the sixth inning, tying the game at 1.

Aside from the run Los Angeles pushed across in the top of the third thanks to Maicer Izturis' RBI single, the team couldn't manage much offense against Parker or the three A's pitchers who followed him. Albert Pujols grounded out with Bobby Wilson on second base to end the third, and Morales lined out with two runners on in the top of the eighth off right-hander Ryan Cook, ending the only other minor threat the Angels had.

But Los Angeles finally produced in the 11th, and Frieri, who still hasn't allowed a hit in his stint with the team, closed it out. Despite the continued struggles at the plate, the Angels came through when it mattered most to get a much-needed win. It was both their first extra-inning victory and their first in their last at-bat all season.

"Obviously, we haven't played to the level we need to or want to, but we're not looking for instant gratification," Scioscia said. "We're looking for the grind. You want to keep pounding, and then maybe 30 days from now, see what the standings are, or 60 days from now."

Ben Estes is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.