Brett Anderson followed up his worst outing of the season with one of the best performances of his career, and the Oakland Athletics kept on surging past the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West standings.
Anderson pitched 7 2/3 dominant innings of two-hit ball, and Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer in the A’s 4-0 victory over the Halos on Saturday night.
Anderson (8-5) was brilliant in his first start since giving up seven runs while failing to get an out in the fourth inning against Tampa Bay last weekend. Mixing off-speed pitches with a solid fastball at the Big A, the veteran left-hander didn’t allow an Angels runner to reach second base until Luis Rengifo’s eighth-inning double chased him on his 100th pitch.
“I felt good early, and in the middle innings they hit some balls right at people,” Anderson said. “It’s good that it was better than the last time, and obviously I’m just going to try to continue that.”
Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley drove in runs for the A’s, who have won four of five and 12 of 17 overall to push past the Angels in the middle of the divisional pack. Oakland has won 16 of its last 21 road games as well.
Mike Trout went 1 for 3 with a walk and a ninth-inning single, and Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts as Los Angeles was shut out for the first time since April 16. The Angels failed to get any runners to third base against Anderson or Liam Hendriks, who got the final four outs.
“(Anderson) was unbelievable,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Everything that he struggled with the other day, he was on it today. I’ve seen him good, but I don’t know if I’ve seen him better than that. It was quick work, too. When he’s on, that’s typically what happens.”
Tyler Skaggs (7-7) gave up just two hits and two runs, but walked four and couldn’t get through five innings for the Angels. They have fallen back to .500 again with two straight losses following a four-game winning streak.
“He’s a great pitcher,” Skaggs said of Anderson. “I thought I threw the ball really well. … The four walks is something I need to cut down on, but I’m not going to hang my head.”
Anderson had only one win in his previous five starts in June, but he repeatedly got the Halos to swing early in the count, and their rare hard-hit balls went right at defenders.
Neither team managed a hit in the first three innings, but after Jurickson Profar drew a leadoff walk in the fifth, Semien chased Skaggs with an RBI double.
Former A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill came in, and Chapman hit his first pitch into the right field stands for his 20th homer, reaching base in his 16th straight game in the process.
“It definitely feels good, but not something I’ve ever been thinking about,” Chapman said of securing his second straight 20-homer season before the All-Star break. “Definitely proud of it, but there’s still a lot more to do.”
Oakland’s Stephen Piscotty left the game in the sixth inning after spraining his right knee while sliding into second. The outfielder was attempting to stretch his hit into a double until he got hurt, and the Angels tagged him out when he ended up lying on the ground past the base.
Piscotty will have an MRI exam to determine the extent of the damage, Melvin said. The A’s are cautiously optimistic that Piscotty didn’t tear anything.
“It was scary, obviously,” Melvin said.
Athletics: OF Khris Davis sat out his second straight game after getting hit on the hand by a pitch Thursday. The slugger isn’t expected to miss much more time.
Angels: RHP Matt Harvey will begin another rehab assignment Tuesday. He hasn’t appeared for the Halos since May 25 due to a back strain, and he has struggled when healthy in his first season with the club.
Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.99 ERA) will look to build on his first win since Sept. 9, 2018, when he takes the mound for Los Angeles in the series finale against Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.86 ERA), who will match his career high with his 13th start already this season.
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