KEY MOMENT: Johnny Giavotella crushed a Tyler Clippard changeup in the ninth inning that looked like a go-ahead two-run homer to left field. “From the dugout, it looked like a no-doubter,” Angels slugger Albert Pujols said. But Giavotella hit it in the wrong spot, directly toward a gap between the upper decks in the Oakland Coliseum. Sam Fuld made the catch at the wall in front of the 367-foot sign to end the game. “He hit it hard enough, but in that one alley, the wind pushes straight in,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “If you pull it a little more, you’re fine. If you hit it more toward the [out-of-town] scoreboard, it will go. It was right in that alley that knocks it down. It’s frustrating.”
AT THE PLATE: Pujols flied to the warning track in center with two on in the first and lined to right with two on to end the third, but he drove a two-run homer to left in the eighth to pull the Angels to within 3-2. It was the American League-leading 21st homer of the season and 13th in 23 games for the slugger. Since the start of May, Pujols has more homers (18) than strikeouts (16). The Athletics scored three runs in six innings off Garrett Richards. Fuld doubled and scored on Billy Burns’ single in the third, and Brett Lawrie and Ike Davis hit RBI singles in the sixth, an inning Stephen Vogt and Ben Zobrist opened with singles.
ON THE MOUND: A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir beat the Angels and his demons, giving up one run and six hits in 7 1/3 innings and inducing double-play grounders to end the fifth and sixth. Kazmir, released by the Angels after going 11-17 with a 5.31 earned-run average from 2009-2011, entered Saturday with a 28-22 record and 3.61 ERA since the start of 2013. But in three starts against the Angels, he was 0-3 with a 22.09 ERA. “It feels a little more special to pitch the way I did today against that team, knowing some of the guys,” Kazmir said. “As much as they heckled me the past year or so, it felt good.” The heckling, Kazmir said, was good-natured. "[Erick] Aybar is the No. 1 guy,” he said. “Great guy. He got me a couple of times. They had a lot of ammo, so I’m glad to get this one.”
DELAY OF GAME: It took replay officials 5 minutes 14 seconds to review a second-inning call at third in which Lawrie, attempting to steal, was ruled safe, then out by umpire Greg Gibson when he slid past the bag. Angels third baseman David Freese tagged Lawrie once but not after Lawrie came off the bag. Officials in New York, issuing a rare explanation for a call, determined Lawrie was tagged on the right shoulder before touching third. Officials look at the entirety of the play, no matter what part is challenged.
MILESTONE: Scioscia declined to attach any significance to the fact he managed his 2,500th regular-season game Sunday. “It’s neither here nor there,” he said. Does he have another 2,500 games in him? “Let’s worry about today’s game.”
UP NEXT: Left-hander Hector Santiago (4-4, 2.77 ERA) will oppose Houston left-hander Brett Oberholtzer (2-1, 2.73) at Angel Stadium on Monday at 7 p.m. TV: FS West; Radio: 830.