Angels get a kick in the pants by the A’s, 9-1
Reporting from Oakland — Maybe it was the pants. The Angels wore throwback uniforms Sunday to celebrate ‘80s weekend and MC Hammer Bobblehead Day in the Oakland Coliseum, but many players’ pants didn’t seem to look or feel right.
Some were too short, some were too baggy, some were too tight. And then there were Hank Conger’s, which were a little loose and stopped at mid-calf. Really.
“I asked for capris style,” Conger joked as his teammates howled at the sight of him. “I’m wearing them.”
Not quite knowing what to do with the pants, players pulled them up to their knees, their high red socks giving them a bit of a Little League feel.
The Angels looked like misfits and then played like misfits, falling apart during an eight-run first inning and losing to the A’s, 9-1.
Starting pitcher Joel Pineiro lost his grip on the ball and the game quickly slipped away. The right-hander retired one of 10 batters before being pulled in the first inning, giving up eight runs — seven earned — four hits and four walks.
“I think I spiked every ball I threw, and when I did get a good grip, the ball was up,” Pineiro said. “It was weird. It was just slipping. I tried resin, dirt, sweat, anything I could find. I switched out balls more than I ever have. I’ve never had that problem before.”
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez limited the Angels to four hits and no runs in seven innings, striking out eight and walking two, and the Angels avoided their 11th shutout when Bobby Wilson hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth inning against Jerry Blevins.
The A’s won three of four games, ending the Angels’ string of consecutive series victories at eight, their longest since their 100-win season in 2008.
Pineiro walked the first three batters he faced before giving up a two-run single to Hideki Matsui. Scott Sizemore walked to load the bases and David DeJesus hit a routine grounder to first baseman Mark Trumbo, whose throw home pulled Wilson off the plate.
The error allowed a run to score, and Conor Jackson crushed his first grand slam and Oakland’s first slam this season to left field for a 7-0 lead before Kurt Suzuki grounded out.
It marked the first time in Oakland history the first seven A’s batters scored before the first out of the game.
But they weren’t done. Cliff Pennington doubled and Jemile Weeks hit a run-scoring single to center field to knock Pineiro out of the game.
Coco Crisp singled, but Trevor Bell got Josh Willingham to fly to deep center field and, after a walk, Sizemore lined out to right field to end an inning in which the A’s batted for about half an hour.
The seven earned runs given up by Pineiro were the most by an Angels starter since Ervin Santana gave up nine in 32/3 innings at Baltimore on Aug. 4, 2010. Pineiro had given up seven earned runs combined in 192/3 innings of his previous three starts.
The start was the shortest of Pineiro’s career and the shortest by an Angels starter since Aug. 28, 2007, when Santana gave up five earned runs and four hits in one-third of an inning at Seattle.
The game was reminiscent of Scott Kazmir’s July 10, 2010, debacle in Oakland, when the former Angels left-hander gave up 13 earned runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 15-1 loss.
“I was just trying to throw the ball in the strike zone,” said Pineiro, who threw 37 pitches, 18 for strikes. “Every pitch was slipping out of my hand, my curve, changeup, slider and especially my sinker, which is my go-to pitch.
“Everything was in the dirt, and when I did get a ground ball, the guys were standing around forever, you know? [Errors are] going to happen. It was my own fault. I wish I could say I had a blister or something, but I didn’t. Physically, I felt great.”
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