The Angels entered Saturdays AL West showdown with a slim one game lead over the Athletics.
The lead was cut to one game the night before after a comeback bid was cut short after Chris Iannetta struck out with the bases loaded on Friday en route to a 5-3 loss. C.J. Wilson was called upon to right the ship on Saturday, where he was opposed by the newly acquired ace of the A’s, Jon Lester.
The Angels would have trouble getting to Lester. In the top of the second the Angels’ newest acquisition Gordon Beckham struck out with runners on first and second with two outs to end the end the inning. It would be one of seven strikeouts for Lester on the night. Wilson allowed his only run on an RBI single by Sam Fuld in the second to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
Oakland would have a chance to pad their lead in the sixth when Derek Norris rocketed a ball down the left field line with a runner on first, but a perfectly executed play at the plate would gun down Josh Donaldson. The play was reviewed, however there was not enough evidence to overturn the call.
The play at the plate would prove to be enough of a momentum swing to allow the Angels to tie the game up in the seventh. The inning started off in a promising way as David Freese led off with a base hit off the wall in left but he was thrown out easily at second. Howie Kendrik followed right up with a double of his own to right.
Lester was well over 100 pitches at this point. During Erick Aybar‘s at-bat, he left a pitch up in the zone with two strikes and Aybar tied the game with an RBI single to center. Lester would easily finish the rest of the inning. He finished with seven strikeouts and one earned run through seven innings.
Wilson matched Lester pitch for pitch all night and it would be his best outing since June 8th.
The game would stay tied into the bottom of the eighth. Manager Mike Scioscia went to Joe Smith to pitch. So far this season, Smith has not had much success against Oakland. He surrendered a lead-off single to the speedy Coco Crisp, who made his way to third with two outs. Brandon Moss came on to pinch hit and didn’t even have to swing the bat to witness the go ahead run come across.
Smith fired a pitch that deflected off of Iannetta’s glove and rolled to the back stop which allowed Crisp to score easily.
The Halos went down rather easily in the ninth and the A’s came out victorious 2-1, and more importantly pulled to a tie for the division lead in the west.