A’s beat Angels behind Cahill’s 15th win
OAKLAND – Becoming Oakland’s first 15-game winner since 2007 doesn’t mean as much to Trevor Cahill as learning to pitch without his best stuff.
The Athletics’ right-hander did both Saturday, a significant step in Cahill’s maturation and evolution as Oakland’s top pitcher.
He overcame a career-high six walks to throw six scoreless innings and got just enough offensive support in the A’s 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
“Last year when I didn’t have my best stuff I was still trying to hit the corners,” Cahill said. “Today I was just trying to throw it down the middle. The goal is not to walk anybody and I think I set the new standard of walking everybody.”
Cahill (15-6) gave up just four hits, all singles. The right-hander, who has won six of his last eight starts, allowed only one runner past second.
Coming off his worst outing of the season when he gave up eight runs and nine hits over four innings in an 11-1 loss at the New York Yankees, Cahill repeatedly had to pitch out of trouble. He did so despite struggling with his sinker, one of Cahill’s most effective pitches.
“He got away with it because he has such tremendous movement on his fastball,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “When he gets in any kind of trouble, he can get out of it. His record is one of the best in the league on a team that’s right at .500. That’s quite an effort by him.”
Cahill escaped a two-on, two-out situation in the first then retired Hideki Matsui on a fly to center after loading the bases in the third.
The Angels threatened again in the fifth, but right fielder Rajai Davis threw out Alberto Callaspo trying to go from first to third on Howie Kendrick’s one-out single. Bobby Abreu then struck out looking.
Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey completed the five-hitter for Oakland. Bailey got the final three outs for his 21st save in 24 tries.
Mark Ellis, Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington all drove in runs for Oakland, which won its second straight following a four-game losing streak.
Torii Hunter homered for the Angels, who have lost nine of 12 and wasted a solid effort from starter Jared Weaver.
“We’re going to evaluate this thing very closely,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re looking at a lot of things and where guys are right now. It’s a long stretch and we’re obviously paying a steep price for not supporting what really for the last month has been solid starting pitching.”
With the offense struggling, Weaver had little margin for error. Though he didn’t get hit hard, Weaver wasn’t his normal self and had only five strikeouts after going into the game tied with Seattle ace Felix Hernandez for the major league lead.
The Angels problems extended to their defense.
Center fielder Peter Bourjos casually tracked down Kurt Suzuki’s fly ball leading off the sixth, then let the ball bounce in front of him as Suzuki raced to second with a double. Suzuki was later thrown out trying to score on a grounder but Bourjos bobbled Mark Ellis’ single in the same inning, allowing Kevin Kouzmanoff to score and make it 3-0.
Weaver (11-11) walked three and allowed six hits in seven innings. He is winless since Aug. 6, a span of five starts.
“I can only do my job and it just hasn’t been there,” Weaver said. “I’m going to go out there and battle as best I can and let the chips fall where they may and the chips aren’t falling in the right spot right now.”
The lack of scoring continued a troubling trend for Los Angeles. The Angels went into the game having scored only 11 runs over their previous seven games and had been shut out four times in the last two weeks, including an 8-0 loss against the A’s on Friday.
Hunter homered off Oakland reliever Craig Breslow in the eighth, his 19th of the season. It’s Hunter’s first RBI since Aug. 6, the second-longest drought of his career.
Callaspo and Kendrick had two hits apiece for the Angels.
Notes: Injured A’s RHP Joey Devine pitched a simulated game Saturday and appeared fine. Devine is rehabilitating from reconstructive Tommy John elbow surgery. LHP Josh Outman, who also had Tommy John surgery, was also scheduled to pitch a simulated game but threw off flat ground instead. … The game drew just 14,227 fans. … Oakland is 31-14 in day games, tops in the majors. … Bobby Abreu went 0-for-3 and is hitting .061 (2-for-33) over his last 10 games.