Halos' big inning sours end of A's great road trip

Halos' big inning sours end of A's great road trip

Halos' big inning sours end of A's great road trip
ANAHEIM -- It began as your quintessential pitching duel, ultimately ending with a rare A's loss.

That's what happens when Jered Weaver is on the mound.

The Angels righty, who has made a habit out of handcuffing Oakland's lineup, did just that Thursday via seven scoreless frames, as A's lefty Brett Anderson attempted to return the favor. He did so for six innings, before allowing five runs in the seventh in an eventual 6-0 Oakland loss.

Still, the A's exited Anaheim winners of the four-game set, having captured victories in each of the previous three games, as well as three more in Seattle, while falling just one win short of a perfect road trip, their 12-game winning streak on the road halted.

They'll take it.

"Good road trip for us," manager Bob Melvin said. "I mean, you want to get as greedy as you can, take every one, but Weaver was really good today."

"You never want to be the guy that stops the streak, but that's the good thing about baseball, you can go out tomorrow and start a new streak, whether at home or on the road," Anderson said. "Overall, it was a really positive road trip."

Texas fell to the visiting Indians later in the day, and the A's remained three games back of the American League West leaders.

Anderson, making his fifth start of a season that previously was consumed by Tommy John surgery rehab, began his outing in the same strong form that defined his first four, allowing just five hits through six scoreless innings. But a leadoff homer from Torii Hunter in the seventh -- the first allowed by Anderson this season -- led to quite the breakthrough inning for the Angels, who sent 11 men to the plate in the frame.

Anderson, having already given up a pair of runs, departed with two outs and the bases loaded before being charged with three more, as righty reliever Jesse Chavez -- making his A's debut -- allowed each of his inherited runners to score, plus one more.

In his four other starts, spanning 26 innings, Anderson had allowed a combined three earned runs.

"We got some pitches to work with, I guess," the Angels' Mark Trumbo said. "He's got good stuff. I don't know that [it was] anything other than kind of doing what we needed to do when we needed to do it. He made good pitches still. We laid off some of them and put a couple into play when we needed to."

"He had everything working today," Hunter said. "He had his slider, curveball, the two-seam fastball. He had us off balance. But Weaver pitched a tremendous game, keeping us in the game, keeping us close, and he was just waiting for us to do something, and we finally got it done."

Making his first start since Sept. 2 because of right biceps tendinitis, Weaver looked rather healthy, limiting the A's to just two hits through seven scoreless innings.

In doing so, the Angels ace improved to 9-7 with a 2.36 ERA in 24 career appearances against the A's, including a 0.29 mark in four outings vs. them this season, thanks to just one run allowed through 30 2/3 innings.

But even he, despite owning the A's, acknowledged that what they have going -- Oakland has won 42 of its last 55 -- is pretty remarkable.

"We've got a pretty heavy payroll compared to those guys, but they always seem to grind it out and put things together," Weaver said. "They have a great starting rotation, they're doing a great job over there and their bullpen is solid. And they're swinging the bats, too. These guys are always scrappy, and it's going to be interesting out here down the stretch.

"You can't take them lightly. They're playing the game hard and executing when they need to."

That trend needs to be intact for the weekend's series with Baltimore, which will be followed by a crucial 10-game road stretch through Detroit, New York and Texas.

"There's two ways to play, and it's to hold the lead when you're in first or get to first," Jonny Gomes said. "I remember when there was a lot of talk of trying to get to .500 early in the year, and we're not trying to finish at .500. With [19] games left, you're not trying to win the Wild Card. You're trying to get to first."

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.