MICHAEL WAGAMAN, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Angels manager Mike Scioscia hasn’t seen Albert Pujols swing like this since the slugger was playing in St. Louis.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: From Mackinac to Motor Bella, Major Events Return
It just hasn’t been enough to lift Los Angeles out of its up-and-down funk.
Pujols hit his AL-leading 21st homer of the season, and tied Tim Salmon’s team record with 13 home runs in June, but the Angels lost 3-2 to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
“The last three or four years, it’s been tough playing with the injuries,” said Pujols, who hit a grand slam in Friday’s come-from-behind win over the A’s. “But I’m still going to try and do the best I can to help my ballclub to win, whether I feel 100 percent or I feel 50 percent or whatever.”
The Angels put runners on base in every inning but one yet couldn’t push a run across until Pujols’ two-out blast off A’s closer Tyler Clippard.
David Freese followed with a bloop single, but Clippard worked out of the jam.
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Pinch-hitter Matt Joyce reached on a one-out error in the ninth before Clippard struck out Efren Navarro and retired Johnny Giavotella on a fly to deep left to end it.
“If you pull a little bit more you’re fine, or if you hit a little bit more toward that scoreboard, it’ll go,” Scioscia said. “It was right in that alley that knocks it down. It is what it is. It’s just frustrating.”
The A’s won the final two games of the series between the two teams after losing five of six to their division rivals.
Scott Kazmir (4-4) pitched into the eighth inning and gave up one run one six hits with six strikeouts for Oakland.READ MORE: Rolling Stone Magazine Named ‘Respect’ #1 Song Of All Time
“He got into trouble in the first and later on but to get out of it and do a great job to keep us in that game,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Fortunately we were able to tack on a few more runs for him.”
A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie, who made a catch while falling into the Oakland bullpen on Friday night, turned in another nifty defensive play when he stumbled over the mound in foul territory to catch Carlos Perez’s pop fly.
Sam Fuld doubled with one out in the A’s third and scored on Billy Burns’ single. Burns extended his hitting streak to 12 games, matching his career high.
Lawrie and Ike Davis added RBI singles in the sixth to put the A’s up 3-0.
Garrett Richards (7-5) gave up three runs in six innings.
“I felt like I had good command of all three of my pitches,” Richards said. “They had some timely hits. Today just wasn’t our day.”
Angels: Pitcher Jered Weaver was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will undergo an MRI on his left hip Monday. He has lost his last four starts. … OF Alfredo Marte was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake City to take Weaver’s roster spot.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (4-4), who pitches Monday in Anaheim against the Houston Astros, is winless in his previous three starts.
Athletics: RHP Jesse Chavez (3-6) starts Monday in Texas. He struck out a career-high 11 in his most recent start against San Diego.MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You See Another Relief Payment Soon?
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