Angels take series over Athletics in extras


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OAKLAND — The Angels could have faded away Wednesday, much as Kole Calhoun’s concentration did in the ninth inning. But they didn’t.
Instead, they withstood a pair of furious comebacks by the Oakland A’s to secure a 12-7, 11-inning victory which they hope can elevate them toward greater success. The

OAKLAND — The Angels could have faded away Wednesday, much as Kole Calhoun’s concentration did in the ninth inning. But they didn’t.

Instead, they withstood a pair of furious comebacks by the Oakland A’s to secure a 12-7, 11-inning victory which they hope can elevate them toward greater success. The Angels have won four of their last five games, easing the lingering sting of a five-game losing streak.

They broke a 7-7 tie in the 11th by scoring five runs, including the first two without benefit of a hit. The Angels benefited from a rash of Oakland mistakes in that frame, though none was as egregious as Calhoun’s goof in the ninth when he basically forgot where he was.

Box score

A’s closer Blake Treinen hit Calhoun with a pitch to open the ninth with the score tied, 5-5. One out later, Brian Goodwin grounded to A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, who threw to second base in an effort to force out Calhoun. But neither shortstop Marcus Semien nor second baseman Jurickson Profar was playing on the bag. Calhoun pulled safely into second base, giving the Angels an apparent break.

Then Calhoun suddenly took a step or two toward third base. Semien, who had taken Chapman’s apparently fruitless throw, tagged out Calhoun.

“I kind of lost track of the ball, I guess,” Calhoun said. “That was kind of a funny play right there. I wasn’t really sure if [Chapman] even threw it.

“Everybody’s kind of looking at each other and I looked over and there wasn’t anybody at third and I took a step and [Semien] was trying to tag me. I didn’t think he had the ball or — I don’t know. It was messed up. That was probably the loneliest feeling you can have on a baseball field right there. It’s just a bad play. That’s me not keeping my head up and knowing where the ball was.”

Instead of being deflated, the Angels relied on rookie Luis Rengifo, who doubled home Goodwin and scored on Jared Walsh’s single. Led by Mark Canha, who hit the third of Oakland’s three homers, the A’s pulled even with a pair of runs and forced extra innings. But though they squandered leads of 5-1 and 7-5, the Angels maintained pressure and broke through with their 11th-inning surge.

The Angels’ go-ahead surge included a hit batter, a wild pitch, a sacrifice-bunt attempt that forced Matt Olson, Oakland’s Gold Glove Award-winning first baseman, into a throwing error, and a passed ball. That accounted for two runs.

Tommy La Stella’s RBI single and Jonathan Lucroy’s two-run single accounted for the rest of the scoring.

“It’s kind of bend don’t break,” Calhoun said. “No one ever gave up. We kept on having good at-bats, putting together some nice little rallies. It’s just nice to come out and compete and see some of that paying off. There were a bunch of rallies late. A lot of teams could kind of shut it down. We were able to come out and keep fighting.”

Earlier, a pair of rookies led the Angels’ fight: left-hander Cesar Puello and right-hander Griffin Canning.

With superstar Mike Trout idled by a sore right foot, Puello compensated by going 3-for-6 and driving in four runs on a two-run single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the seventh. The latter was the first Major League home run for Puello, who has played for six different organizations in 12 professional seasons.

“He’s always been extremely polite, a very nice young man,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “It was nice to see him have a good day. Everybody was very happy for him.”

Canning wore a smile but wasn’t particularly happy with himself, despite yielding one run and three hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out five, displaying admirable command, and became the first American League pitcher to strike out at least five batters in his first six Major League games since Oakland’s Daniel Mengden — who, interestingly enough, was the A’s second pitcher of the afternoon — in 2016.

“My first-pitch strikes were pretty bad. I had just seven,” Canning said. “I was pitching behind every single guy.”

With perfectionism like that, the Angels could be poised for more victories and less drama.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.



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