ANAHEIM, Calif. – Fourteen hits is too many for a pitching staff to give up in a game — let alone the starter. It appeared as though almost everything Oakland's Brandon McCarthy did turned to gold for the Los Angeles Angels.
Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double on the third pitch he ever saw in the major leagues and added a sacrifice fly, and Howie Kendrick had three hits and scored three runs for the Angels in an 8-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
"Too many hits, too many runs — a lot of it with two outs, a lot of it with two strikes. Those are just things that aren't acceptable," McCarthy said. "There were some things that were tough to work through. I just kind of compounded the problems there with some pitches that were not very good, and they were able to drive them. There was just a lack of sharpness tonight, for the most part, and it just held me back from being able to execute."
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 in a matchup of pitchers who were not on major league rosters at any time last season.
The Angels' Tyler Chatwood got his second big league win.
McCarthy 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. The right-hander signed with the A's as a free agent in December after making four starts in the Dominican Winter League.
"It just seemed like everything they hit found holes," manager Bob Geren said. "Don't get me wrong. They hit some balls real hard. But there was a chopper off the plate, a couple of broken-bat hits — they made contact pretty consistently and they all seemed to fall for hits. Brandon was around the plate and caught maybe a little too much of the plate at times."
Chatwood (2-1) pitched 5 1-3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits, including Conor Jackson's first homer of the season with a man on in the third. The Angels' rookie right-hander walked four and struck out one.
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 pitch the other way into the left field corner to drive in both.
"The guy was 25 for 55 in Triple-A, so he can flat-out hit," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "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."
Amarista started at second base one day after his contract was selected from Triple-A 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, in 1 for 22 slump. Kendrick shifted from second base to first.
"Alexi'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."
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, Vernon Wells' single off McCarthy's pitching hand drove in Hunter, and Hank Conger made it 5-3 with an RBI single.
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 quadriceps. 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: The A's were 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.