The A’s rallied in the top of the ninth Wednesday, which only set the stage for their heartbreak in the bottom half at Angel Stadium.
Albert Pujols launched a two-run homer to left off Ryan Dull and the Angels dealt the A’s an 8-6 walk-off defeat, sending Oakland to its fifth consecutive loss.
The winning rally came after the A’s tied it in the top of the ninth on Stephen Vogt’s RBI single off Cam Bedrosian.
Kendall Graveman turned in his shortest start in nearly two months, and the A’s continued wobbling to the finish line of this nine-game road trip.
They commanded three different early leads Wednesday, only to see the Angels rally back and tie it each time. Graveman lasted just four-plus innings, giving up two home runs and failing to complete five innings of the fist time since June 12.
The A’s got to Jered Weaver for four runs through the first four innings, but the Angels battled back three times to tie the score off Graveman, then took the lead for good in the fifth. Graveman came in having allowed just two home runs over his previous seven outings. But after taking the mound with a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, he allowed homers to Jefry Marte and Cliff Pennington in a three-batter span to tie it.
Mike Trout opened the fifth with a broken-bat single just off the glove of A’s second baseman Jed Lowrie, and Pujols brought him around to score with a double to the right field corner. That was Graveman’s final batter. The Angels scored again that inning to make it 6-4 with Andrew Triggs on the mound, when Ji-Man Choi’s grounder scored Pujols. That closed the book on Graveman, who tied his season high with six runs allowed.
For Pennington, who once held down the A’s starting shortstop job, it was a rare burst of power. He hasn’t hit more than three homers since 2012. He also made a difficult turn on an eighth-inning double play that stranded what was at that time the tying run at third for the A’s.