Morales’ 2 HRs, 5 RBIs help Angels beat A’s 12-3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – A last-minute change in pitchers by the Oakland Athletics didn’t bother the Los Angeles Angels for very long. They eventually got to emergency starter Tyson Ross and reached double digits in runs for the first time this season.
Kendry Morales drove in five runs with a pair of homers, including a go-ahead shot off Ross, and Los Angeles beat the A’s 12-3 on Saturday night.
“This is what everybody’s been expecting this ballclub to be doing – hitting the ball hard and everybody contributing,” Torii Hunter said. “It was awesome. The total game was played tonight.”
Hunter doubled during a four-run seventh inning against Chad Gaudin for his 900th career RBI, and Morales followed with his ninth homer of the season to make it 11-3.
It was the sixth career multihomer game for Morales, who has 28 home runs since last year’s All-Star break – more than any other player during that stretch.
“I’m not surprised. I mean, have you ever touched this guy? He’s like a brick house,” Hunter said. “He’s hard. He’s strong. I think the organization knew what they were doing when they brought him up to play first base and let Mark Teixeira go. They knew what they could do and they had faith in him to do what he’s doing right now.”
Ervin Santana (2-3) earned his first win since April 18, allowing three runs – two earned – and seven hits over six innings with six strikeouts and three walks. The right-hander is 11-2 with a 1.50 ERA in 18 career appearances against the A’s, including 16 starts.
Justin Duchscherer was scheduled to start for Oakland after being activated from the disabled list. But he was scratched just before game time due to a recurrence of inflammation in his troublesome left hip, which had sidelined him since his previous start April 29.
A’s manager Bob Geren said it was “probable” that Duchscherer would go back on the disabled list for the seventh time in his career. But no move was made after the game.
“For my warmup, I usually run to center field and back just to jog, and I felt something in my hip,” said Duchscherer, who has had two operations on his other hip. “I came in and told Curtis (pitching coach Curt Young) that something didn’t feel quite right. I let him know early just in case he needed to get somebody going.
“As I was throwing (on flat ground), my hip felt OK, but it just got kind of achy,” he added. “Then when I was in the bullpen, I just couldn’t find a way to land without having pain. I started throwing from the stretch, and then I told Curt: ‘I can’t throw like this.”‘
Geren replaced Duchscherer with Ross, who threw 62 pitches over 3 2-3 innings in his first big league start. He allowed three runs and three hits, fighting off a blister that developed on his index finger during the third inning.
“I was just trying to get out to the ‘pen as quick as possible and make sure I had enough time to get loose,” said Ross, who was informed of the switch while he was still in the clubhouse. “I think I did pretty well. I just made one bad pitch to Morales and he made me pay.”
Ross has made 11 relief appearances this season. The only other time he faced the Angels was April 11 at Anaheim, when he pitched three innings for his first big league save in Dallas Braden’s 9-4 win.
“I didn’t even remember him,” Hunter said. “I saw somebody throwing down there and I said, ‘That’s not Duchscherer.’ So it was kind of a surprise. And for three innings or so, he was dealing. He had a perfect game going. We just didn’t know what his ball was doing. But the second time around, we got a little better at seeing his pitches and figuring him out.”
Ross (1-1) retired his first 11 batters before everything unraveled for the 23-year-old right-hander. Bobby Abreu reached on an infield hit and Hunter’s single put runners at the corners, bringing Geren to the mound for a long chat with Ross.
Two pitches later, Morales drove his eighth homer to left-center for a 3-2 lead, chasing Ross. When he returned to the dugout, all his teammates were waiting to greet him and pat him on the back.
The Angels increased the margin to 7-2 with a four-run fifth that included RBI singles by Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick and Abreu. Kendrick was on the front end of a double steal with Abreu and continued home on a throwing error to second by catcher Landon Powell.
Eric Patterson homered for Oakland and Powell had three hits, including an RBI single. Eric Chavez had a double and a single, giving him 2,287 total bases and tying Reggie Jackson for third place on the Oakland list.
Jack Cust returned to the A’s after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Sacramento. He went 0 for 3 and committed an error in left field when he dropped a lazy sacrifice fly by Wood.
NOTES: Ross is from the Bay Area. He made 31 starts in the minors over the previous two seasons – 18 with Class-A Stockton.