OAKLAND – A night after a bullpen malfunction helped doom the A’s, Jesse Hahn sidestepped that issue altogether.
The right-hander pitched into the eighth inning, holding the Los Angeles Angels to four hits and leading the A’s to a 4-1 victory Saturday to even this three-game series at the Coliseum.
Hahn’s effective, 109-pitch outing, allowed manager Bob Melvin to go straight to closer Tyler Clippard when he left the dugout to get Hahn after 7 2/3 innings. Clippard recorded a four-out save and the A’s snapped a brief two-game losing skid.
It was a good way to wash out the taste of Friday night’s 12-7 debacle of a loss, when the A’s let a five-run lead evaporate in the seventh. After Sonny Gray left with the bases loaded in that game, the Angels scored nine runs as the A’s cycled through five relievers the rest of the night.
The A’s jumped out to a lead in the first Saturday, then the Angels tied it 1-1 in the top of the sixth. But Oakland came right back and scored three in the bottom half of that inning to take control.
Starting pitching report
Hahn (5-5) has shown steady improvement over his first full season in the majors. Over his past six starts, he’s 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Going back further, he’s posted quality starts in seven of his past eight outings. And since May 9, Hahn has lowered his ERA from a season-high 4.73 to 3.40.
He struck out four and pitched around four walks to allow just one run Saturday. He also benefited from two inning-ending double plays in the sixth and the seventh. The Angels put two runners in scoring position in both the second and the third, helped by a passed ball and wild pitch respectively, but Hahn stranded runners in each frame.
Clippard came on with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth, and he retired cleanup man Albert Pujols on a fly ball to right to end that inning. He allowed Johnny Giavotella’s one-out single in the ninth to end a 12-pitch at-bat, but finished things out for his 11th save.
At the plate
The A’s broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth on the strength of three RBI doubles. Josh Reddick went to the opposite field to score Ben Zobrist and break a 1-1 tie. Brett Lawrie doubled home Reddick to chase Angels starter Jered Weaver (4-8). Then Josh Phegley greeted Cam Bedrosian with another run-scoring double for a 4-1 lead.
In the first, Marcus Semien and Stephen Vogt doubled in consecutive at-bats to give the A’s an early lead.
In the field
The double plays aided Hahn’s cause. Both of them happened to be started by Semien at short, and he’s showing steadier play over the past couple of weeks.
A crowd of 26,471 was on hand.
Scott Kazmir (3-4, 2.84) will take the mound looking to reverse his history against the Angels. He’s 2-5 with a 7.56 ERA against them, lasting three innings or less in each of his last three outings against them. Garrett Richards (7-4, 3.59) goes for Los Angeles in Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. series finale.