OAKLAND — The Angels entered the weekend bringing with them one of the American League’s worst starting rotations.
That group looked a lot healthier after three games against the A’s.
On Sunday it was veteran Jered Weaver, sporting a fastball that topped out in the low 80’s, who held A’s hitters spellbound in a 2-0 Los Angeles victory that played out in just 2 hours, 19 minutes on Father’s Day.
The A’s didn’t advance a runner as far as second base the entire afternoon. They dropped two of three to the Angels and mustered just four runs for the entire series against a rotation whose rash of injuries have been right on par with Oakland’s. The Angels arrived in Oakland with a starter’s ERA of 4.82, 13th in the American League. But Matt Shoemaker, Tim Lincecum and Weaver gave up just two earned runs in 21 innings combined for the three-game series.
Shoemaker came in with an ERA of 4.76, Weaver was at 5.71 and Lincecum was pitching in his first major league game in nearly a year after hip surgery.
Weaver in particular tied the A’s in knots, buzzing through their lineup for a three-hitter and giving up little in the way of solid contact.
The A’s, an AL-worst 4-12 in June, had a chance to leapfrog the Angels in the standings but instead fell 16 1/2 games out of first place.
Starting pitching report
Eric Surkamp was efficient and effective Sunday, turning in his best start of 2016. The lefty held the Angels to two runs over six innings, striking out five and walking two. The six innings tied his career high. In six of his previous seven starts, Surkamp hadn’t made it through five innings. It was all the A’s could have hoped for from a pitcher who brought an 8.07 ERA into the game and was perplexed after his previous start about diminished fastball velocity. Given their diminished starting pitching depth, the A’s had no choice but to run Surkamp out there Sunday despite his struggles. Now, they’ll probably lean on him a bit longer in light of Henderson Alvarez’s shoulder setback that will keep him on the sidelines.
A bright spot for the A’s — Liam Hendriks returned from the disabled list and delivered two innings of shutout relief with two strikeouts. It was his first big league outing since May 7.
At the plate
The A’s were mere spectators in this one when they weren’t playing defense. Yonder Alonso had a second-inning single, Billy Butler led off the fifth with a single (and was thrown out at second by Mike Trout) and then Butler led off the eighth with another single. That was it for the home team.
In the field
Max Muncy made a diving catch in right field and Jed Lowrie made a leaping snare of Trout’s liner in the eighth. Fans at least had that to cheer about.
The announced holiday crowd was 22,846.
After the A’s dropped two in Milwaukee earlier this month, they get a chance for payback as the Brewers visit for a two-game series. Sonny Gray (3-6, 5.54) will take the ball in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener against right-hander Jimmy Nelson (5-6, 3.92). On Wednesday, Daniel Mengden (0-2, 2.25) matches up against righty Junior Guerra (3-1, 3.81) at 12:35 p.m.