Collin Cowgill powers Angels to 2-1 victory over Athletics

Angels celebrate
Angels players celebrate Collin Cowgill’s winning home run in the 14th inning of the team’s 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

KEY MOMENT: Collin Cowgill ended the game in the 14th inning on a two-out home run to left field that barely cleared the glove of Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Athletics pitcher Jeff Francis took the loss as the Angels posted their fifth consecutive win to move to within 2 1/2 games of Oakland for the AL West lead.

AT THE PLATE: A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson threw Albert Pujols’ potential double-play grounder into right field in the sixth, putting runners on second and third for Josh Hamilton, who smacked a run-scoring single to right. Oakland tied it in the eighth when Nick Punto doubled against Mike Morin, took third on Craig Gentry’s grounder to first and scored on Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly to right.

ON THE MOUND: Hector Santiago, demoted to the bullpen May 9 and to triple A on May 21, may have won his rotation spot back with six scoreless innings in which he gave up three hits, struck out eight and walked one. The left-hander, with his 98th and last pitch, struck out Donaldson with a 94-mph fastball with two on to end the sixth. With a runner on third, one out and the score tied, 1-1, in the ninth, Angels reliever Joe Smith struck out Brandon Moss and got John Jaso to ground to first. Cam Bedrosian pitched two scoreless innings for the Angels.

ON THE BASES: Pujols probably cost the Angels a run when he ignored third base coach Gary DiSarcina’s stop sign and tried to score from second on Hamilton’s sixth-inning single. The heavy-legged Pujols was an easy out at home, with Moss, the A’s right fielder, picking up the assist.


SLUMPING SLUGGER: Pujols flied out with the bases loaded to end the third and is batting .147 (11 for 75) with runners in scoring position. After hitting .302 with 10 home runs and 26 runs batted in in his first 32 games, Pujols is hitting .179 with five home runs and nine RBIs in his last 31 games, his season average falling to .242. But Manager Mike Scioscia has no intentions of dropping Pujols from the third spot, saying, “Albert’s presence is huge in the middle of our lineup.” It would be even bigger with a few more clutch hits.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Jered Weaver (7-4, 3.31 ERA) will oppose Oakland left-hander Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.68) at Angel Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On the air: FS West; Radio: 830.

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