OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Yoenis Cespedes finished a single shy of the cycle and threw out two runners at the plate, powering the Oakland Athletics past the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 on Saturday night.
Cespedes doubled in the fourth, hit a two-run triple in the seventh and a three-run homer in the eighth. He matched a career-high with five RBIs to help Oakland stretch its lead to 3 1/2 games over the Angels in the AL West.
Collin Cowgill’s three-run homer off Tommy Milone in the fourth accounted for all of the Angels’ runs. The A’s tagged Tyler Skaggs (4-3) with four runs and five hits in six-plus innings.
Fernando Rodriguez (1-0) tossed one scoreless inning for the win.
Milone allowed nine hits in six innings, striking out three and walking one. He labored most of the way but got a big boost from his strong-armed, green glove-wearing left fielder on nearly identical plays in the second inning.
Cespedes charged in and heaved a one-hop strike to catcher Derek Norris to nab Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun after line-drive singles. The throws sent the announced sellout crowd of 35,067 at the Coliseum roaring to their feet each time, and Cespedes received high-fives and head-pats from teammates and coaches in the dugout.
Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth upheld the first call after a 2-minute, 30-second review to see if Norris illegally blocked the plate under the new collision rule. There was no review or challenge on the second play.
Cespedes came back big time with the bat. He doubled with one out in the fourth for Oakland’s first hit, and Norris drove in a run on a flyout for Oakland’s first run.
After Kyle Blanks’ solo homer and Josh Donaldson’s RBI groundout tied the score in the seventh, Cespedes’ drive off reliever Joe Smith landed just over Calhoun’s glove in right to score the go-ahead runs. And he lined a three-run homer in Jarrett Grube’s major-league debut in the eighth.
It was Cespedes’ 10th home run this season. He also had five RBIs at Cleveland on May 18.
The Angeles wasted too many opportunities at the start to overcome Cespedes’ big game. Los Angeles loaded the bases with no outs in the first before Milone retired the next three hitters, and then Cespedes saved two runs with his spectacular throws in the second.
Angels All-Star center fielder Mike Trout was scratched from the lineup because of upper back stiffness. He was initially the designated hitter.
Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss was not in the lineup. He will likely sit out again Sunday to give his nagging right calf additional rest.
NOTES: The A’s honored the 1974 World Series championship team before the game. Three World Series MVPs – Gene Tenace (’72), Reggie Jackson (’73) and Rollie Fingers (’74) – threw out ceremonial first pitches. … The Angels designated LHP Wade LeBlanc for assignment and called up Grube from Triple-A Salt Lake. … Angels ace Jered Weaver (6-3, 2.99 ERA) starts against Oakland’s Sonny Gray (5-1, 2.31) in Sunday’s series finale.