Anaheim, CA – The Oakland Athletics continue to rely on their unheralded young arms.
They've yet to falter.
This time it was rookie A.J. Griffin, who tossed eight scoreless frames in Oakland's 4-1 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim in the third installment of a key four-game set.
"I felt pretty good, I had a lot of friends here from San Diego. All four pitches were working tonight," Griffin said.
The AL wild card-leading A's have won the first three contests of the series and extended their road winning streak to a franchise record-tying 12 consecutive games. They've won six in a row overall.
Eleven of the 18 rookies Oakland has used this season -- which is second in the majors behind the Chicago Cubs (20) -- have been pitchers. Griffin (6-0) became the first starter in Oakland history to open his career 6-0. He fanned six and scattered six hits.
"He's off to a decent start, that's probably as good as we've seen him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He keeps you off-balance, he's got a lot of confidence, he's fun to watch."
Ryan Cook picked up the final out in the ninth and notched his 14th save of the year.
Ervin Santana (8-12) struck out six, but surrendered two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and three walks for the Angels, who had won six in a row coming into the set. The Angels are 3 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, who are tied atop the AL East, for the second wild-card spot.
"Sometimes you run into pitching that shuts you down. We're seeing that right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Albert Pujols homered in a losing effort.
The A's struck first in the opening frame, added another in the sixth and plated two more in the eighth.
In the first, Josh Reddick hit a two-out double and scored when Yoenis Cespedes reached on Erick Aybar's error at shortstop.
Cespedes smacked a leadoff homer in the sixth into the rocks in left-center field, and Derek Norris' RBI double and Coco Crisp's run-scoring single in the eighth made it 4-0.
Pujols began the ninth with his 30th homer of the season. Aybar stroked a two- out double into the gap in left-center field, which chased Sean Doolittle before Cook induced Vernon Wells into a game-ending groundout to shortstop.
Jim Nash holds the A's franchise record with the most wins to start a career. He began 7-0 in 1966 ... Griffin is the only big-league hurler since at least 1918 to allow three runs or fewer and walk two or less over his first 11 starts ... Pujols has hit at least 30 homers in each of his first 12 major- league seasons ... The A's also won 12 straight road games from July 31-Aug. 5, 1971 ... Oakland has homered in every contest during its 12-game road winning streak.