OAKLAND –- The comic relief came in the bottom of the fifth, but the A’s provided enough entertainment of their own Monday night at the Coliseum.
They picked the most opportune times to deliver their big hits throughout an 11-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, who lost their fourth in a row to continue their slide in the American League West.
The action was delayed for 10 minutes in the fifth as a piece of padding from the outfield wall fell off after Angels outfielder Shane Victorino crashed into it going after Danny Valencia’s double. It merely lengthened a game that was already crawling along at a snail’s pace, and the crowd broke into sarcastic applause when workers finally popped the pad back into place.
By that point, the A’s had already struck offensively. Valencia delivered a two-run double with the bases loaded in the third and Jake Smolinski followed with a three-run double later in the inning as the A’s went up 5-3. After Valencia drove home another run, and broke the fence, with his fifth-inning double. Mark Canha capped things off with a three-run homer in the sixth to break it open, 9-3, and the A’s were on their way to a third consecutive victory.
Starting pitching report
Felix Doubront’s night did not get off to a promising start. He labored through a 29-pitch first inning that saw the Angels take a 1-0 lead. Los Angeles added to its lead with two more in the third. But Doubront, who had his start pushed back two days because of a right foot contusion, steadied things and lasted six-plus innings. That was important on a night that manager Bob Melvin said his bullpen was short-handed due to heavy use of late. Doubront (2-1) wound up being charged with four runs on seven hits and managed to work into the seventh despite issuing four walks.
Edward Mujica, Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner and Drew Pomeranz closed it out, though Scribner’s injury and exit in the ninth was an unfortunate development on an otherwise cheery night. With the bullpen shorthanded, Melvin was forced to call upon Pomeranz for the third day in a row.
At the plate
The A’s are averaging 6.38 runs over their past eight games, and over the past two days they’ve found a way to cash in with two outs. Sunday’s victory featured a three-run rally with two outs in the 11th. They struck for five runs in the third inning Monday, all with two outs. Valencia and Smolinski, two right-handed hitters that the A’s look to for production against lefties, highlighted the rally with their bases-loaded doubles. Smolinski’s three-run double down the left-field line chased southpaw Hector Santiago (7-9), who lasted just 2.2 innings.
[STIGLICH: Bassitt dealing with shoulder soreness]
Canha’s homer was his 11th, and he finished with four RBI, giving him 54 on the season -- tops among AL rookies. His strong late-season push continues, as he finished August with 21 RBI in 25 games.
In the field
The Angels scored twice in the third with some help from the A’s defense. On Erick Aybar’s sacrifice fly, Canha should have cut off Josh Reddick’s throw but it rolled all the way to the backstop behind home plate, allowing C.J. Cron to advance to second. Cron was on third when he broke for home on a double steal, coasting across home plate as Josh Phegley’s throw went all the way through to second.
A crowd of 12,054 showed up for the opener of this series, which seemed like it would have so much more riding on it back in April.
With Chris Bassitt (1-6, 2.82) scratched from Tuesday’s start due to a sore shoulder, Cody Martin (0-0, 0.00) will be called up from Triple-A to face the Angels in his A’s debut. Matt Shoemaker (6-9, 4.48) takes the mound for Los Angeles. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.