ANAHEIM, Calif. — If only the incoming texts lighting up Cliff Pennington’s cellphone were customary congratulations.
Pennington is from The Woodlands, Texas, just outside of Houston, and 12 of his 15 messages Wednesday night were flood pictures. He sure had fun circling the bases after his go-ahead grand slam sent the Los Angeles Angels to a wild 10-8 win over the Oakland Athletics, but his mind is on the safety of family and friends.
“My cousin got rescued on a jet ski two days ago,” Pennington said. “He’s staying at our house now. When there’s stuff like that going on, the game is a getaway to have some fun and let your mind off it.”
Pennington said he and Oakland infielder Jed Lowrie, also from Houston, were talking between pitches asking each other if their families were OK.
“When the game is over, it’s back to reality and trying to figure out how we can help,” Pennington said.
Mike Trout went 4 for 4 with a homer and scored four times in his return to the lineup, Albert Pujols homered twice and Pennington hit his first career slam in the seventh inning.
Pujols drove in four runs and scored three. His two homers moved him into a tie with Jim Thome for seventh place on the career list at 612.
Trout had a triple and two singles for the Angels, who erased a five-run deficit and won their third straight. They remained a game behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Trout snapped an 0-for-17 slump that marked the second-longest hitless skid of his career. He missed the previous two games as a precaution with a stiff neck after crashing into the outfield wall Sunday trying to make a catch.
“He had a good night,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Unfortunately, it was against us.”
Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell homered as Oakland put up a season-high eight runs in the fourth to build an 8-3 lead. But the Angels scored two in the fifth and five in the seventh, capped by Pennington’s drive the barely cleared the right-field wall.
Umpires went to a replay review to check if there was fan interference, but the home run call was upheld.
Chris Hatcher (0-2) walked Luis Valbuena to load the bases with two outs. Pennington then connected on a 2-2 pitch for his third home run of the season.
“He got into a pitch-count battle and Penny finally got a fastball,” Melvin said. “I think he threw him almost all breaking balls until the fastball. He put a good swing on it. A lot of things leading up to that, though. A hit by pitch, a walk. You can’t keep putting guys on base.”
Cam Bedrosian (4-3) worked a scoreless inning and Blake Parker got four outs for his fourth save.
Olson hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Maxwell added a two-run drive to chase starter Parker Bridwell with no outs.
Trout hit a solo home run in his first at-bat, his 27th of the season, and put an exclamation mark on it with a big fist pump.
Pujols had a two-run shot to right field in the third to give the Angels a 3-0 run lead that soon evaporated. He connected for a two-run drive in the fifth to pull them back within three.
“I was joking with (Andrew) Heaney on the bench, that this is probably one of the games you can put in the top 10 of your career whenever you hit a go-ahead grand slam, and there’s two guys in this game that had better days today and do it all the time,” Pennington said with a laugh. “That’s what they do.”
Bridwell had his worst outing of the season, allowing seven runs and six hits in three-plus innings. He walked three, all in the fourth.
“Couldn’t find my release point,” Bridwell said.
Oakland starter Kendall Graveman gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.
Pujols has 21 home runs, joining Willie Mays and Hank Aaron as the only players in history to hit 20 in 16 of their first 17 seasons. Pujols also reached 1,900 RBIs, becoming the 10th player to accomplish that feat.
TOO HOT TO TROT
The Angels didn’t take batting practice for the third straight day because of the heat in Anaheim. They hit in the indoor cages. Oakland did the same thing and did not take batting practice for the second consecutive day.
Athletics: C Josh Phegley (strained left oblique) joined the team. He has been on the disabled list since July 25 and is expected to be activated when rosters expand Friday.
Angels: INF Yunel Escobar (right oblique strain) felt a twinge after taking a swing in a minor league rehab game Wednesday and will be re-evaluated Thursday. . RHP Garrett Richards (right biceps strain), out since April, threw 40 pitches in two scoreless innings of a rehab start at Triple-A Salt Lake. He allowed five hits.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (9-8, 4.55 ERA) pitches Friday night at Seattle after beating Texas last time out.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-4, 4.15) starts Friday night on the road against Rangers ace Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.78).
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