By Pete Zarustica
The Oakland A’s of northern California are headed south, while the Los Angeles Angels of southern California are headed north. No, it’s not a franchise switch, but a change in fortune.
With Albert Pujols’ walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Angels defeated the A’s 8-6 Wednesday night in Anaheim, sending the Athletics to their fifth straight loss. The win put the Halos at 49-58, in fourth place in the American League West. Since the All-Star break, the Angels have a 12-6 record.
The two teams played to a 4-4 deadlock through four innings, with Jefry Marte and Cliff Pennington slamming sole home runs to knot up the score. The Angels went ahead 6-4 in the fifth when Pujols doubled in Mike Trout, and then Ji-Man Choi hit a sharp grounder which allowed Pujols to score from third.
But the A’s rallied with solo runs in the eighth and ninth to tie it up. Their efforts went for naught, though, as Trout reached on a throwing error by A’s third baseman Ryon Healy, and Pujols crashed his 21st home run of the season.
“I’ve had so many at-bats in that situation where early in my career I’d try to do too much and try to hit a home run, but as I was getting older and getting experience I’ve realized that you just go out there and try to put a good swing and start the rally with a base hit,” said Pujols. “That’s the main goal.”
Pujols and Trout each had three hits in the game; Andrelton Simmons had two. Jered Weaver had a so-so outing, going six innings and giving up nine hits and three earned runs. He struck out one batter and walked none. He did, however, pass Mike Witt as the team leader in innings pitched all-time.
The win went to Mike Moran (2-1), who pitched the final two-third of an inning in the ninth.