Amarista's three RBIs in ML debut lead Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The promotion of diminutive infielder Alexei Amarista from Triple-A resulted in some instant offense for the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Amarista, who is just 5-foot-7, hit a two-run double on the third pitch he ever saw in the major leagues and added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to lead the Angels to an 8-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
"Alexei's a player of smaller stature, but he's always played big," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He played in a very tough Venezuelan Winter League the last couple of years and done very well. I think it progressed him and put him up maybe a little higher on our depth chart than he might have been. And he had a terrific spring training for us. So he's going to put the ball in play and hopefully give us a boost."
Amarista started at second base one day after his contract was purchased from Salt Lake. He was the Angels' minor league player of the year in 2009, and was hitting .455 with 16 RBIs in 14 games this month before his promotion. Mark Trumbo, the organization's minor league player of the year last season, got the night off to contemplate his 1-for-22 slump while Howie Kendrick shifted from second base to first.
"The guy was 25 for 55 in Triple-A, so he can flat-out hit," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said of Amarista. "I mean, this is the smallest powerful guy you've ever seen. He can really play the game. He has a great approach at the plate. I could see that just by watching him take batting practice. He's not scared, either, and I love that."
Kendrick had three hits and scored three runs for the Angels, who have put up 12 runs in the first two games of this three-game series after a four-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox in which the Halos were shut out twice and held to just five runs.
With one out in the Angels' second, Kendrick hit a grounder in the hole off the glove of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and legged out a double as shortstop Cliff Pennington chased the ball down in short left field. Peter Bourjos chopped a single off the plate that Kouzmanoff had no play on, putting runners at the corners, and Amarista slapped a 1-1 sinker the other way into the left field corner to drive in both.
Tyler Chatwood (2-1) pitched 5 1-3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits, including Conor Jackson's first homer, a two-run shot in the third. The Angels' rookie right-hander walked four and struck out one in a matchup of pitchers who were not on major league rosters at any time last season.
Brandon McCarthy (1-2) surrendered seven runs and 14 hits over 5 1-3 innings in his fifth start, raising his ERA from 2.10 to 3.57. The right-hander spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers before spending last season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and was on the disabled list three separate times because of shoulder problems.
After Oakland pulled ahead 3-2 with a run-scoring groundout by David DeJesus and Jackson's homer, the Angels matched that three-spot in their half of the third to regain the lead for good.
Bobby Abreu scored on a wild pitch after leading off with a single. Vernon Wells' single off McCarthy's pitching hand drove in Hunter, who doubled. Wells was thrown out trying to steal, but Kendrick followed with a more conventional double than his first one, and Hank Conger made it 5-3 with an RBI single.
"Too many hits, too many runs — a lot of it with two outs, a lot of it with two strikes," McCarthy said. "Those are just things that aren't acceptable."
The Angels tacked on two more in the fifth when Bourjos followed Conger's RBI double with a triple. He hit another one in the eighth, his fourth three-bagger of the season, and scored on Amarista's sacrifice fly.
For the second straight night, Oakland's Coco Crisp was tagged out by shortstop Erick Aybar after oversliding second base on what would have been a successful headfirst steal attempt. This time, it was after the Los Angeles native led off the game with his fourth straight hit and 10th in four games.
His next time up, Crisp hit a fielder's choice grounder and had to be lifted for a pinch-runner after feeling some tightness in his left quad. In Monday night's 5-0 loss, the A's had to pull left fielder Josh Willingham from the game in the sixth inning because of tightness in the left side of his upper back. Willingham remains day to day.
Notes: Oakland was held to one hit over the final 6 1-3 innings — Kouzmanoff's two-out double in the ninth. ... The A's will place C Kurt Suzuki on the paternity leave list before Wednesday's game. He is returning to the Bay Area, to be with his wife Renee for the labor-induced birth of their first child, a daughter. ... A's closer Andrew Bailey, who has yet to pitch this season because of a forearm strain that occurred during an exhibition game on March 14, had a 35-pitch side session in which he threw just fastballs. He will progress to breaking balls on flat ground in his next one.