Offense takes night off as Angels lose to A's


As the Angels took batting practice before opening a four-game series with last-place Oakland, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia bristled at the idea that the division-leading Angels should count on beating the Athletics.

"If you go out there with that attitude, just thinking you should win because you're in first place, you're going to go 0 and 10," he said. "You've got to go out and earn every win."

Oakland then went out and proved Scioscia's point at Angel Stadium on Thursday night.

Led by Ryan Sweeney, who was a double short of hitting for the cycle, and 21-year-old starter Trevor Cahill, Oakland held the Angels to three hits and handed them their fourth loss in five games, 2-0.

The right-handed Cahill, an Oceanside native, shut out the Angels through seven innings on only two hits, and Oakland's bullpen then sealed his win.

"He was on his game," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "His ball was moving everywhere. The first inning it seemed like he was all over the place, then he settled down and threw strikes. He had the ball moving like crazy, one of the best sinkers in the game."

The Angels didn't get a hit until there was one out in the fourth inning on a warm night that began with pitcher Chuck Finley and outfielder Brian Downing being inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame in a ceremony near the pitcher's mound.

Despite leading the American League in several offensive categories, the Angels could mount virtually nothing against Cahill.

Ervin Santana, who came in having won four consecutive starts, pitched well for the Angels, but Cahill outmatched him.

Santana gave up two runs and eight hits in his six innings of work, along with six strikeouts and two walks. He threw 105 pitches.

"He was terrific," Scioscia said. "The last three starts, everything's been consistent, his velocity, his arm speed, the break on his slider. He pitched a strong ballgame, definitely a ballgame a lot of times we're going to win. We just couldn't do anything offensively tonight."

Oakland got on the scoreboard when Sweeney hit a one-out solo home run over the center-field wall in the second inning.

The Athletics got their second run in the sixth inning when Sweeney tripled over the outstretched arm of left fielder Juan Rivera and then scored on Daric Barton's single.

Santana flirted with more trouble but wiggled out of it.

In the fourth inning, for instance, Sweeney singled with one out and Mark Ellis walked. But Santana struck out Barton and Cliff Pennington.

And in the fifth inning, Santana got Scott Hairston to ground into an inning-ending double play after Adam Kennedy and Kurt Suzuki had singled and Santana had walked Jack Cust to load the bases.

Angels batters, meanwhile, didn't bring the crowd of 43,139 to its feet until the sixth inning, when catcher Jeff Mathis hit a leadoff double and moved to third when Chone Figgins grounded out.

But then Bobby Abreu popped out to second, and Hunter grounded out to end the threat.

Even so, the crowd jumped to its feet again in the seventh on a sparkling defensive play by the Angels.

After Matt Palmer replaced Santana, Suzuki lined a one-out grounder that nearly hit Palmer and appeared headed for a single to center field.

But second baseman Maicer Izturis backhanded the ball, then flipped it -- with his gloved hand -- to shortstop Erick Aybar, who relayed the ball to first base for the out.

"That's about one of the best plays I've seen," Hunter said.

Despite the loss, the Angels still have won six of 10 games against the Athletics this season, including three of four in Oakland last month.

But again, Scioscia had cautioned against discounting the Athletics.

The team has a blend of veterans such as Kennedy and Mark Ellis who "would play hard in a spring training game" combined with "young power arms they're going to throw out there every night against you," Scioscia said. "They're rebuilding in a great way."


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