Oakland manager Bob Melvin loves it when Ramón Laureano and Chad Pinder produce at the plate, but he is even happier when they come through with key defensive plays.
They both did that on Friday night as the Athletics rallied for an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Laureano had the third four-hit game of his career and made a leaping catch above the center-field wall while Pinder delivered the go-ahead homer and made a great grab of his own.
“We pride ourselves on our defense. We're really good,” Melvin said. “You can be solid and make the routine plays but we also have the ability to make the great plays.”
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The A's led 6-4 in the seventh when the acrobatic Laureano reached over the fence to turn Anthony Rendon's bid for a tying homer into the the final out of the inning.
“It seems like he makes a great play here (at Angel Stadium) once a year, but it doesn't make it less exciting,” Pinder said. “Him bringing that ball back helped put a plug in the momentum.”
Laureano hit a solo shot in the ninth for insurance. It was also his major league-leading eighth homer in May.
Pinder, who added three hits, drove a fastball from Mike Mayers (1-3) into right-center to put Oakland back in front at 6-4.
The second baseman, who homered for the second time this season, also came through with his glove. He had a diving catch on a shallow flyball to right-center by José Iglesias to end the fifth.
“I was just thinking to just go and make a play,” Pinder said.
Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie also went deep for the Athletics. Yusmeiro Petit (6-0), the second of four Oakland pitchers, allowed two runs in one inning but got the win.
Jared Walsh and Iglesias homered and Juan Lagares had a two-run triple for the Angels, who have dropped four of five since superstar outfielder Mike Trout went on the injured list with a calf injury.
Oakland got on the board first when Canha led off the third with his ninth homer, marking the second time this year he's gone deep in back-to-back games.
The Angels responded in the bottom half when Iglesias lined a fastball from rookie James Kaprielian over the wall in center.
After Oakland took a 3-1 lead in the sixth on Sean Murphy's two-run double, the Angels scored three times in the home half to take the lead.
Walsh began the rally with a solo shot. Three batters later, Lagares lined a ball down the right-field line that took a couple caroms off the wall and led to a two-run triple and a short-lived Angels 4-3 advantage.
BULLPEN WOES CONTINUE
Angels' relievers have allowed 31 homers, which is the most by a bullpen in the majors, along with the fifth-worst ERA at 5.05.
“We’ve given up a lot of runs late when we have leads. That’s the most frustrating way to lose for a team when you fight and then it goes wrong,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have to keep moving it forward. We did keep fighting back for us to get where we want to be we have to keep holding leads.”
Kaprielian, who grew up in nearby Laguna Hills, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out nine in his second major league start.
Los Angeles' José Quintana went a season-high 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
ROJAS CLUTCH IN RIGHT
Jose Rojas had the first two outfield assists of his career. The Angels right fielder prevented Oakland from adding on runs in the third when he fielded Pinder's double on one bounce, threw it to second baseman David Fletcher, who then relayed it to home to get Matt Olson at home.
In the seventh, Rojas cleanly fielded Laureano's single and fired a perfect throw to catcher Drew Butera to tag Canha.
Rojas is the first Angels outfielder with two assists in a game since Justin Upton on April 18, 2018, against Boston.
Athletics: P A.J. Puk (strained left biceps) will have another rehab appearance on Saturday at Triple-A Las Vegas after throwing a scoreless inning on Thursday. ... P Jesús Luzardo (broken left hand) is with the team on this road trip and will throw a bullpen session on Sunday. ... P Mike Fiers (lumbar strain) was moved to the 60-day injured list.
Angels: P Chris Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) threw 25 pitches during a bullpen session.
Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.88 ERA) is 3-0 and has held opponents to a .219 batting average over his last seven starts. Los Angeles lefty Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 5.56 ERA) is still looking for his first major league win as a starter.
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