Angels slowed with 8-7 loss to Athletics
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Collin Cowgill's soft groundout to third wasn't a terribly appropriate way to end a seven-game winning streak and a rollicking homestand that propelled the Los Angeles Angels back into playoff position.
The Angels still packed up and headed for four games in Texas knowing they control their postseason destiny, even after committing four errors and giving up seven unearned runs in an 8-7 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
One day after the Angels (83-75) completed a two-month chase by passing Houston for the second AL wild-card spot, their mistake-filled loss in their regular-season home finale further complicated the playoff race.
''We came back, and we battled,'' said Mike Trout, who hit his 41st homer. ''We didn't win the fight, but we've got to come back (in Texas) and we've got to win every game.''
Trout was on third base when Sean Doolittle retired pinch-hitter Cowgill on a meek groundout, completing a wild five-out save. The Angels dropped back into a tie with the Houston Astros, who played a late game at Seattle.
Los Angeles hit five homers, including Kole Calhoun's leadoff shot in the ninth. Johnny Giavotella hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth, but the Angels couldn't overcome those four errors in a baffling five-inning span for the team that had allowed the fewest unearned runs in the AL.
''It's inexcusable,'' said Giavotella, who made a key error at second base leading to Eric Sogard's three-run double in the fourth. ''We're a better team than that. To win a championship, you can't have those errors. We had a lackluster day, but we've got to put it behind us.''
Trout went 3 for 3, and he drew his second walk in the ninth after Calhoun's 25th homer.
Doolittle retired Albert Pujols on a popup and C.J. Cron on a 350-foot line drive before David Freese singled. But Cowgill, getting just his fourth at-bat since Sept. 5, tapped the next pitch to third.
The Angels' short-handed bullpen gave up five runs in two innings after the departure of Garrett Richards, who yielded four walks and no earned runs during six innings of two-hit ball. Mike Morin (3-2) combined with Trevor Gott on a disastrous seventh capped by Stephen Vogt's tiebreaking, two-run single during Oakland's four-run rally.
''This was a game we should have won, and I feel responsible,'' Richards said. ''If I execute one pitch (to Sogard) ... it's a zero, there's three runs off the board, and we're partying tonight.''
Freese and Carlos Perez also homered for the Angels.
Ryan Dull (1-1) got five outs for his first major league win for the A's, who won for the second time in 11 games.
Barry Zito pitched four innings in perhaps the final start of his major league career, leaving with a lead despite yielding four hits and four walks. The 37-year-old Zito, a 15-year veteran and former Cy Young Award winner, spent most of this season in the minors.
''There's nice bookends,'' said Zito, whose major league debut was a win over the Angels in Oakland. ''I'm from Southern California, so it was great to come back down here. I had a lot of friends in the stands - 30 people came tonight - and a lot of support. ... I just want to get home and consider everything, but I feel complete with everything.''
Giavotella drilled a two-out pitch from Edward Mujica into the bullpen for his first homer since June 18, but the A's rallied in the seventh after an error by Giavotella's defensive replacement, Taylor Featherston.
Josh Reddick drew a bases-loaded walk to tie it, and Vogt delivered a two-out, two-strike, two-RBI single. Oakland added another run in the eighth, which featured C.J. Cron's error and Trout's horrible misplay on a hit to center that was ruled a triple. Trout lost the ball in the lights.
Trout connected against Zito, matching Troy Glaus' 41 homers in 2001 for the second-highest season total in Angels history. Trout also stole his first base since July 25 in the fifth inning. He has just two stolen bases since the All-Star break - two fewer than Pujols.
The Angels drew 3,012,747 fans at the Big A this season, their lowest total since 2002. It's still their 13th straight year with 3 million fans.
Athletics: Carson Blair had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The catcher should be ready for spring training.
Angels: Joe Smith pitched for the first time since Sept. 17, returning after spraining his ankle on a hotel staircase.
Athletics: After a day off, Aaron Brooks (2-4, 7.26 ERA) opens the season-ending series in Seattle.
Angels: Rookie Andrew Heaney (6-3, 3.29 ERA) opens the crucial four-game series at Texas.