If the Los Angeles Angels were looking for proof positive they can make a late push for the postseason, they got it this week.
Los Angeles capped a three-game sweep of the A’s — its first over the NorCal rival since October 2009 — with Wednesday’s 7-1 win in front of 15,404 spectators at the Coliseum.
The Angels not only beat the A’s, they dominated a team that had won nine straight and trailed only seven innings during the streak. Against Los Angeles, Oakland never led and got outscored 21-5 in the three games.
“It’s just baseball,” A’s catcher Derek Norris said. “If you look at it optimistically, we went .500 on the homestand. We’re still right in the mix. If losing three games is the worst thing that happens, we’ll be OK.”
While the loss on the field was tough to take, a scary moment in the fourth inning ended A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy’s day early. The right-hander was struck in the back of the head by a line drive off of the bat of Erick Aybar. McCarthy appeared to get struck below the right ear and he turned away from the liner. He fell hard to the ground in front of the mound, where he remained with training staff for several minutes before getting to his feet and walking off without assistance.
McCarthy didn’t lose consciousness, but was taken to a nearby hospital where he stayed overnight as a precaution.
The A’s later announced McCarthy, who allowed three earned runs in 3²⁄³ innings, would not accompany the team on its charter flight to Seattle today.
“The first thing he said to me when I got there was ‘Where did it hit me?’” said Norris, who was first on the scene. “I thought that was a good sign.”
Right-hander Dan Haren set the tone with seven strikeouts in his six innings of work to lead Los Angeles to its 12th win in 15 games and ninth of 12 on the road.
Haren worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings, leaving the bases loaded once and stranding five in all. He pitched to the minimum in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings and retired the final seven batters he faced.
Torii Hunter collected a pair of hits and drove in three runs, while Howie Kendrick added two RBIs for the Angels.
The A’s lone run came in the third inning when Seth Smith’s single to right with one out scored Norris.