OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — C.J. Wilson and Ernesto Frieri combined on a one-hitter and the Los Angeles Angels broke out of their offensive slump in a 4-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Albert Pujols homered for the third time in seven days while Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick both had RBI singles for the Angels, who had scored only five runs in their previous three games combined.
A day after losing its third consecutive one-run game, Los Angeles took a four-run lead after three innings and coasted the rest of the way to give Wilson (5-4) his first win in nearly three weeks.
Cliff Pennington had the only hit—a one-out single in the fifth—for Oakland, which had won five of the previous seven meetings between the teams this season.
Pujols, who signed a $240 million, 10-year deal with the Angels in the offseason, continued to show signs of heating up after a slow start with his new club.
He drove in the Angels’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning then hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the third, a towering solo shot to left off A’s starter Graham Godfrey. It was the 449th homer for Pujols, tying him with Vladimir Guerrero and Jeff Bagwell for 35th on the all-time list.
More importantly for the Angels, Pujols has 15 RBIs in his last 16 games after having only two through his first 18 games with Los Angeles.
That’s an encouraging sign for a team that began the day seven games under .500
Collectively it was one of the Angels’ best offensive performances this month despite some shaky baserunning early.
Los Angeles scored three runs in the first but Trumbo was tagged out by A’s catcher Anthony Recker after a failed squeeze attempt in that inning. One batter later, Kendrick was thrown out by Oakland right fielder Collin Cowgill trying to score from second on Erick Aybar’s single.
Los Angeles hurt itself again in the second when Mike Trout struck out and was called for interference while John Hester attempted to steal second. Home plate umpire Bill Miller quickly ruled Hester out, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to argue briefly.
It didn’t matter much with the way Wilson (5-4) was pitching.
Facing an Oakland lineup minus three starters, the Angels lefty didn’t give up a hit until Pennington in the fifth and faced only three batters over the minimum to earn his first win since May 5. He had seven strikeouts with two walks.
Frieri pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure Los Angeles’ sixth shutout this season, most in the majors.
Godfrey (0-4) didn’t stick around long in his return to the big leagues and remained winless this season.
The A’s right-hander, called up earlier in the day to replace injured starter Brandon McCarthy, threw only 53 pitches and left after allowing four runs and six hits over three innings. Godfrey has lost six consecutive starts dating to last season.
Oakland reliever Travis Blackley pitched well but allowed an unearned run in the seventh after Kendrys Morales reached on an error by third baseman Josh Donaldson. Jim Miller replaced Blackley and gave up a hit and walk to load the bases before hitting Aybar on his right knee to force in Morales and make it 4-0.
Aybar was replaced by a pinch-runner and is listed as day to day.
Oakland was blanked for the seventh time this year, second-most in the majors behind the Angels (eight).
Notes: Pujols has homered against all but three teams—Texas, Baltimore and St. Louis. … A’s OF Yoenis Cespedes did some light hitting in the batting cage with three different-sized fungos but there is still no timetable for when the Cuban slugger will return from his injured left hand. Cespedes was leading all major league rookies in RBIs and stolen bases when he was placed on the DL May 12. … Oakland LHP Brett Anderson’s rehab from elbow-ligament replacement surgery took a brief pause last week when he was shut down after experiencing forearm tightness but trainer Nick Paparesta is optimistic Anderson will remain on schedule in his recovery. … To make room on their roster for Godfrey, the A’s sent LHP Pedro Figueroa to Triple-A Sacramento. Figueroa had a 2.00 ERA in eight appearances with Oakland. … RHP Jered Weaver will attempt to become the AL’s first seven-game winner when he pitches in the series finale Wednesday. Weaver is 7-7 lifetime against Oakland. … RHP Jarrod Parker (1-2) will try to rebound for the A’s after getting shelled in his previous outing.
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