It was a night for the Southern California local guys wearing green and gold to shine for the A’s.
Jesse Chavez, from Fontana, about a 45 minute drive from Anaheim, turned in another brilliant pitching performance, lasting seven innings of two run (one earned run) ball. Chavez allowed four hits and struck out nine Angels’ batters without allowing a walk. The only earned run Chavez allowed to cross the plate came in the third inning when Albert Pujols connected for his fourth home run of the season.
The Angels also scored an unearned run in the first inning when Kole Calhoun scored on a Pujols single up the middle. Calhoun had moved into scoring position on a passed ball one batter earlier with Chavez facing Mike Trout.
The nine strikeouts by Chavez matched his career high which came in his last start. Through his three starts this season, the right hander has allowed just three earned runs and boasts a 1.35 ERA and 22 strikeouts through 20 innings pitched. He has been straddled with three no decisions so far and is still searching for his first win despite being absolutely filthy on the mound since being moved to the rotation this spring.
Another So. Cal native played a key role in the come from behind victory, as John Jaso, pinch-hitting for starting catcher Derek Norris in the top of the ninth inning, continued his hot hitting at Angel Stadium with a two-run homer off Ernesto Frieri for the game winner. Josh Donaldson began the rally with a single to lead off the ninth inning and finished the night 2-for-4. Yoenis Cespedes contributed with his fourth homer of the season in the fourth inning against Hector Santiago for the A’s only other run. Alberto Callaspo continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-4 night at the plate, and is currently batting a red-hot .394 on the season.
Jaso now boasts a .424 average in Anaheim (28-for-66), with six homers and 22 RBIs in 20 games.
Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the win, his first of the season, and Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save of the season.
The win marks the 14th time out of the past 20 games in Anaheim that have ended with a favorable outcome for the Athletics. It also moves the A’s to an impressive 6-1 on the season’s opening road trip and an American League best 9-4 record.
The A’s and Angels square off again Tuesday night at 7:05PM on Jackie Robinson day. It will be Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA) for Oakland against Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.75 ERA) for the Angels.