OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -If K-Rod's memory serves him right, this might have been the first time he didn't point to the sky in
salute of his grandfather following a save.
''I'd say probably yes,''
said after he had to work hard to extend his major league record with his 59th save. ''I was upset with myself. I hope he
doesn't get mad at me.''
hit solo home runs in order during a span of four pitches from
in the seventh inning and the AL West champion
Los Angeles Angels
withstood a late rally by the
for a 6-4 victory Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
''It just happened,'' Napoli said. ''We had the lead already and Kendry came up and put a good swing on a pitch. I came up
and was just trying to drive a ball, and Woody put a good swing on a pitch and we happened to hit back-to-back-to-back.''
returned to the Angels lineup after injuring his cheekbone a day earlier, then stole home and hit a pair of singles. Hunter
was hit in the right cheekbone by a ball while working in the indoor batting cage before Wednesday night's game. His second
hit Thursday chased A's starter
(1-1) in the fifth.
The Angels hit three straight homers for the first time since May 24, 2004, at Toronto, helping
(16-7) win his second straight decision - just his second victory in nine starts. The Angels had hit back-to-back homers three
other times this year.
''That's kind of special. That's weird,'' Hunter said. ''I've been facing that guy for years when he was with the
. I feel bad for him. It was fun to see it, but on the other side it's not nice.''
Saunders pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed six hits, struck out four and walked three in an efficient 87-pitch performance.
The Angels, still dealing with injuries to several key starters, doubled their run total from the first two games of the series.
They lost 8-1 on Tuesday and then 3-2 Wednesday night.
''It's a pretty good three-player at-bat right there,'' manager
said of the home runs. ''To see those kids get up there and swing the bats good in that inning is why we're excited about
our player development and guys coming up.''
The A's had their four-game winning streak snapped and were trying to match their season-best stretch of five straight victories,
which they accomplished from April 8-12 and again from May 21-27. Oakland hasn't swept a series since taking all three at
San Francisco from June 13-15 - a span of 25 series.
Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on a hit by pitch and two walks, then pinch-hitter
singled in the A's first run.
struck out pinch-hitter
, Rodriguez entered and recorded the final two outs for his 59th save in 66 chances after blowing an opportunity Wednesday.
drew a bases-loaded walk from Rodriguez, Oakland scored another run on
's groundout and
singled in a run.
''The way I've been throwing yesterday and today, I'm not really happy,'' Rodriguez said. ''I can do a better job. Everything
is there, the velocity's there. I'm not making the right pitches in the right situations. Tomorrow's another series, another
game. I'll be all right. I hit a bump and had a couple of shaky outings. I always bounce back quick. It's nothing to be concerned
about. When it's time for the playoffs, I'll be ready.''
The A's had loaded the bases against Saunders with no outs in the fourth but couldn't capitalize. Saunders retired
on a called third strike to escape the jam unscathed.
was pleased to see his team fight back after the three-homer inning.
''It was quick - it was on four pitches,'' he said. ''That's great about this team, they never quit.''
singled in the third for his first major league hit after starting 0-for-12. He singled again in the seventh.
Notes: Scioscia is seriously considering a three-man starting rotation and to carry 10 pitchers for the first round of the
playoffs. He isn't concerned with the opposing club possibly getting two chances against two Los Angeles pitchers in the best-of-five
division series. ''Our guys have enough experience to make the adjustments,'' he said. ... A's leadoff hitter
stole his 25th base with Oakland and his 29th overall after starting the year across San Francisco Bay with the Giants. ...
The Angels expected to know more about 3B
' status Thursday night. He was to have his tender right elbow re-examined by team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern
California. With 2B
(strained hamstring) still on the DL, Figgins could be needed to play some at second next week. ... A's All-Star RHP
threw 10 pitches in a simulated game before feeling pain in his strained right hip. He won't start Saturday as the club had
hoped and is doubtful for the remainder of 2008.