Anderson brilliant, A's gain split with Angels

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Anderson brilliant, A's gain split with Angels

May 26, 2011

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ANAHEIM (AP) The Oakland Athletics, starved for runs most of the month, finally got some, with every player notching a hit against the Los Angeles Angels.Brett Anderson tossed three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings and Andy LaRoche drove in three runs to help the last-place A's win 4-3 on Thursday.The A's split their four-game series with the second-place Angels, who fell to 4-7 in their past 11 games."It's good to finish the series with two out of three wins," LaRoche said. "Hopefully, it will give us some momentum going home and it will carry over. We're starting to see signs of life from our offense. As long as our pitchers continue to do the same job they've been doing, hopefully our offense will start to liven up a little bit."
GUTIERREZ: Anderson breaks through
Anderson (3-4) struck out four and walked three to beat the Angels for the first time in six career starts."My stuff wasn't particularly better today than it was on other days, I just mixed and matched well," he said. "I can't give enough credit to my defense behind me, it was unbelievable. The defense was spectacular all day."The left-hander had been 0-3 in his previous five starts. Anderson finally got some run support from his teammates, who had supplied two runs or less in seven of his previous 10 starts this season."He's not overpowering, but he can sneak his fastball in there a little bit," said Mark Trumbo, who was 0 for 3 against Anderson. "In the sixth, I was just a rally-killer - chopping a ball to third base. I didn't really stick with my game plan, and that hurt us right there."But Trumbo helped the Angels avoid the shutout, hitting a three-run homer off Grant Balfour with two outs in the ninth.The Angels' Torii Hunter, who had a hit and an RBI in each of his previous six games, failed to extend the longest such stretch of his career, going 0 for 3 with a walk.The Angels' only hits off Anderson were a single by Erick Aybar in the second inning, a double by Maicer Izturis in the sixth and a single by Alberto Callaspo in the seventh."Anderson pitched a good game and kept us down all afternoon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just was ahead in the count all game. We had some opportunities to chip into their lead and we just couldn't get one or two runs across early."Joel Pineiro (2-1) gave up 11 hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings - the same three totals he had in his previous start against Atlanta. The 11 hits are the most allowed by an Angels starter this season. The right-hander struck out three and walked none for the second straight game while falling short in a bid to notch his 100th career victory."After he had given up a couple of runs, his stuff picked up a little bit and he looked like he got his second wind," Scioscia said about Pineiro. "But I just don't know that he had the command that he's shown us, and he definitely missed some spots in that inning where they bunched those three runs."The A's extended their lead to 4-0 with three runs in the fourth. Josh Willingham led off with a single before Mark Ellis singled with two outs. LaRoche followed with a double to left field, scoring Willingham and Ellis. He scored on Cliff Pennington's single.Oakland led 1-0 in the second on LaRoche's groundout to third that scored former Angel Hideki Matsui, who singled to lead off the inning.Notes: The Angels placed INF Howie Kendrick on the 15-day DL with right hamstring tightness, and signed INF Russell Branyan to a contract for the season. Branyan pinch hit in the ninth. ... Angels INF Kendrys Morales underwent a second surgery in Vail, Colo., on his left ankle to clean out scar tissue, degenerative cysts and debris in the area. He won't return this season. ... The A's closed their seven-game trip with a 2-5 record. ... Oakland starters have allowed one earned run or less in seven of the past eight games and have a 1.61 ERA over that span.

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected defensive linemen with their top picks in the final two drafts under general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers fired Baalke at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season, and new general manager John Lynch stepped into a tear-down project.

That complete rebuild began Thursday evening with Lynch’s selection of another defensive lineman. The 49ers traded back one spot and selected Solomon Thomas of Stanford with the No. 3 overall pick.

“We see a special football player, disruptive football player, who has tremendous versatility,” Lynch said. “I think he fits in with the current group that we have because he’s a little different than the guys we have. And when I think of Solomon, I think of speed and quickness and disruption.”

The 49ers expect to play more of an aggressive, attacking style of defense under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh. Perhaps, the team’s biggest need is at the “Leo” position, the weak side end that is considered more of a pass-rusher.

Thomas appears better-suited at the other end or at a defensive tackle position, but the 49ers are keeping an open mind about using him at nearly every spot along the defensive line in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.

“There are four defensive linemen and what’s intriguing about Solomon is he has the ability to play all four of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s what makes him so unique. That’s why I think John says he’s a little bit different than some of the guys we have, because you can move him around. He has the quickness and speed to play on the outside. He has enough sides to play on the inside, so you don’t want to put him in one spot.

“We don’t think he has to be one specific role. Obviously, he is a defensive lineman, but there’s four spots he can play at and I think that’s going to depend on down and distance, whether we’re expecting run, whether we’re expecting pass and the type of personnel we’re going against.”

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.