Samardzija Solid Through 8 IP, But A’s Fall to Angels 2-0

There’s no sugar coating the result of this game. The A’s needed to win tonight to maintain hope of splitting the series with the Angels and escaping no worse off than when they arrived in Anaheim, down just one game in the AL West.

The offense came up with a massive goose-egg and extended their scoreless streak to 22 consecutive innings in the shutout loss to converted reliever Cory Rasmus and his former bullpen mates Saturday evening.

Rasmus was simply dominant, striking out six A’s batters and retiring 9-of-10 in his three innings of work. He left with the score still tied at zero, and didn’t meet the minimum requirement to qualify for a win, but he was very good. No need for any fancy descriptions, he was very good.

The Angels finally pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, aided by some very shaky A’s defense in the inning. Albert Pujols singled to lead off the inning and moved over to second on a fielding error by Eric Sogard on a ball hit by Howie Kendrick (reached first safely). Erick Aybar singled to RF, and Pujols came around to score after Sam Fuld quadruple clutched the ball before finally throwing the ball to third base. Kendrick beat the throw to third and Aybar advanced to second on the throw.

Kendrick came in to score on a wild pitch, that could potentially have been an out had Derek Norris not thrown the ball over Jeff Samardzija’s head, pushing the score to 2-0, ultimately the final score.

Samardzija turned in a very solid performance for the A’s, but was the victim of zero-run support. He threw all eight innings for Oakland, allowing just four hits, two runs (only one earned) while striking out nine Angels’ batters and walking none. He retired 14 straight batters to end the game.

Former A’s closer Huston Street worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save against his former team.

A’s batters were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and combined for 11 strikeouts on the evening.

The A’s will try to salvage the final game of the series tomorrow afternoon with Scott Kazmir pitching against Matt Shoemaker at 12:35 PM.