Blanton roughed up again, Angels lose to A's 11-5

(AP) Blanton roughed up again, Angels lose to A's 11-5
By JOE RESNICK
Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif.
Nine seasons after he made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics, Joe Blanton finally got a chance to pitch against them. The experience wasn't exactly worth waiting for.

Blanton was charged with six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings Wednesday night in an 11-5 loss to the A's, and did not record a strikeout in his second outing with the Los Angeles Angels. The 32-year-old right-hander had made 118 consecutive starts with at least one strikeout since May 31, 2008, when he pitched six innings for the Athletics without one in an 8-4 loss at Texas.

"There were a couple of situations where I tried to put guys away," Blanton said. "I mean, I generally don't try to strike guys out. I try to make the defense work for me. But with (John) Jaso up in the third with a runner at third and two strikes on him, I'm trying to put him away right there. But I ended up hanging a slider instead of throwing a quality pitch."

The A's were the only major league team Blanton (0-2) had never faced. He made his first 118 career starts with them between 2005 and 2008, winning a career-high 16 games in 2007.

"I felt good coming in, but mechanically I just got a little bit off," Blanton said. "My changeup is usually my go-to pitch, and tonight I was leaving it up in the zone and lost control of it a little bit. I couldn't find it the whole game and I just tried to battle through it."

Albert Pujols was 4 for 4 with two doubles that gave him 1,000 extra-base hits. But the Angels stranded 13 runners and were limited to a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton, a run-scoring groundout by Mark Trumbo, a two-run single by Howie Kendrick and an RBI single by pinch-hitter Hank Conger.

Tommy Milone (2-0) threw 106 pitches over five innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and three walks while striking out five. The left-hander fanned Hamilton and Trumbo back-to-back in the fifth with runners at second and third before Kendrick picked them up with one of his three hits.

Brandon Moss tied a career high with five RBIs for Oakland, including his second homer in two games, helping the A's extend their winning streak to seven. His other five-RBI game was on Sept. 29 against Seattle, when he hit a game-ending, three-run homer in the 10th inning to give Oakland a 7-4 victory. It came during a season-ending six-game winning streak that propelled the A's to their first AL West title since 2006.

"I faced him a little bit back when he was with Boston, and I actually played with him for about a month in Philly," Blanton said. "He swings aggressive. He really attacks the ball and doesn't get cheated. So with guys like that, you've really got to move the ball in, move back and forth, keep him off balance and don't mix your speeds."

Moss hit a two-run triple in the third, then extended Oakland's lead to 5-2 in the fifth with a two-out solo homer to right-center. It was the fourth allowed by Blanton, who gave up three in his season debut at Cincinnati after allowing a combined 29 home runs last season with the Phillies and Dodgers.

"Obviously, I've hit some balls well," said Moss, who came within a double of the cycle. "But no matter what it might look like, I've just had some hits that have found holes and broken bats and roll-overs that have gone through.

"Sometimes baseball's like that," he added. "There are times where I've felt like I couldn't get out, and then end up going 0 for 10. Then sometimes I have no idea where to even stand in the box, and end up getting a few hits. So you've just got to go up there and battle, and that's all I'm doing right now."

Moss, who had career highs last season with 21 homers and 52 RBIs in just 84 games, got his fourth RBI on a bases-loaded walk during a five-run sixth. He capped his big night with a broken-bat single in the seventh after Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo dropped a two-out popup by Yoenis Cespedes, allowing Coco Crisp to advance from first to third.

The A's grabbed a 4-1 lead with three runs in the third after Eric Sogard led off with a single to right and continued to second on Hamilton's error. Jaso, who hit a go-ahead, three-run homer as a pinch-hitter in Oakland's series-opening 9-5 win on Tuesday night, singled home Sogard with the go-ahead run and Moss' triple delivered two more.

NOTES: X-rays were negative on Angels SS Erick Aybar, who was out of the lineup with a bruised left heel that forced him out of Tuesday's game. "We're just hopeful it's something that'll calm down here in the next couple days and we can get a read on it. But right now it's very sore," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Erick's a tough kid. And when he's hurting and comes out of a game, you know it's significant." ... This is only the second time in 22 years that the A's have won their first five road games. They also did it in 2008. ... OF-1B Brad Hawpe agreed to a minor league contract with the Angels, and will play for their Triple-A Salt Lake club after taking part in extended spring workouts in Tempe, Ariz.

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