OAKLAND, Calif. — Tyler Skaggs gave the Los Angeles Angels more than they could have realistically expected even if it wasn’t enough for a win.
Sean Manaea pitched six-plus innings of shutout ball and Khris Davis homered as the Oakland Athletics snapped a season-high eight-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Angels on Wednesday that included stare-downs, some heated exchanges and an ejection.
The Angels, locked in a tight wild card race, were trying for their seventh series sweep and second against the A’s this year. Los Angeles is among five teams competing for two wild card berths who going into Wednesday were separated by four games.
They used a major league record 12 pitchers in the series opener on Monday and eight on Tuesday in extra-inning victories.
The Angels needed just three innings from their bullpen after Skaggs (1-5) had his best start in nearly than a month.
“You always want to win a game. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that this afternoon, but the fact that Skaggsy got us through six helped us to at least get some guys some rest and recharge for Friday,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Skaggs struck out nine and gave up three runs, six hits and one walk. He was 0-1 with an 11.90 ERA over his three previous starts.
“I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Skaggs said. “I’ve still got to clean up a few mistakes, but other than that it’s definitely a positive step.”
Manaea (10-9) struck out six and allowed five hits and three walks.
Davis hit an opposite field shot to right off Skaggs leading off the bottom of the fourth. His league-leading 39th home run broke a scoreless tie.
Home plate umpire Mike Everitt ejected A’s third baseman Matt Chapman after an exchange between Chapman and Angels catcher Juan Graterol in the bottom of the fourth inning triggered by allegations of stealing signs.
Chapman said the Angels catcher was staring down A’s hitters in an effort to intimidate them.
“The way I looked at it I wanted to stand up for my teammates and stand up for myself,” Chapman said. “Even though we’re a young group of guys I feel that we do deserve to be treated just like anybody else in the big leagues and respected by our opponents.”
Graterol stood by his assertions.
“Yeah, I mean, that’s the game, I protect my teammates,” Graterol said. “Tyler is doing a good job so I just take care of him. This is my family. That’s what we’re playing for.”
WALK THIS WAY
Mike Trout walked twice, extending his streak of consecutive games in which he’s drawn a walk to a career-high 14.
Angels: DH/1B Albert Pujols returned to Los Angeles on Wednesday for treatment for a knee injury he suffered sliding into second in last weekend’s Texas Rangers series, Scioscia said. Pujols is expected to rejoin the team on Friday for a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners. … RHP Clayton Richards, who pitched on Tuesday for the first time since going on the DL on April 6 (biceps strain) will make his next start Tuesday on six days’ rest, Scioscia said, noting the move was precautionary. … 3B Yunel Escobar (right oblique strain) did swinging drills and is ramping up baseball activities in anticipation of September activation from the DL
Angels: After Thursday’s day off RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-12, 5.08 ERA) will pitch Friday’s series opener against Seattle. He is 2-4 with a 4.36 ERA in nine career starts against Seattle (1-0, 4.01 ERA) in four starts this year.
Athletics: After Thursday’s day off RHP Jharel Cotton (7-10, 5.33) will pitch Friday’s series opener against the Houston Astros. He is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three career starts against Houston.
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