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Wade LeBlanc Earns First Win as Angels Blank A’s

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Sep 23, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels catcher

Hank Conger

(24) visits the mound to speak with Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc (35) during the fourth inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Wade LeBlanc shouldn’t be on the Angels’ roster. Mediocre showing in Anaheim and New York led to three DFA’s in four months before September call-ups gave the 30-year-old southpaw a reprieve.

Five relief appearances and two starts later, LeBlanc is one of manager Mike Scioscia’s hottest options heading into the postseason.

LeBlanc (1-1) shut out the Oakland Athletics through 5 1/3 innings Tuesday night earning his first win as a starter since 2012. His scoreless streak runs to 15 2/3 innings in a row, dating back a Sept. 5 outing in Minnesota where he only threw one pitch.

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  • Tuesday’s 2-0 victory was Los Angeles’ 13th shutout of the season and third against their division rival.

    “That’s the way Wade pitches when he’s on. I think just his ability to command both side of the plate with his fastball; it’s not always overpowering, but it has a lot of life to it when you combine it with his off-speed pitch.” Scioscia said in a post-game interview that aired on Fox Sports West. “There’s two strong starts from Wade right there.”

    Oakland hitters scattered five hits against LeBlanc but didn’t reach scoring position until the fifth inning. LeBlanc worked past Josh Reddick’s double by forcing a Geovany Soto flyout and Eric Sogard bunt ground out. The latter came on a Howie Kendrick’s stellar bare-handed throw that narrowly beat Sogard to first.

    The Angels’ first run came on Erick Aybar’s heads up base running. Aybar stole second and subsequently reached third on Soto’s throwing error. With Efren Navarro on first, Hank Conger struck out swinging on a hit-and-run prompting Soto to pick Navarro off while Aybar scored.

    Gordon Beckham’s sixth-inning solo homer off A’s starter Sonny Gray (13-10) provided more than enough run support for the league’s most used bullpen (521 total innings of relief). Huston Street tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 40th save of the season. If all of Street’s save had come in the AL, he would rank third behind only Fernando Rodney and Greg Holland.

    Kansas City’s victory ties them with Oakland for the AL wild card lead. The Angels, meanwhile, maintain a 2 ½ game lead over Baltimore for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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