Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 8/31)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 30
in 11
LA Angels1
Game 2: Wednesday, August 31
LA Angels2
Game 3: Thursday, September 1
LA Angels3

Athletics 1

(75-57, 36-31 away)

Angels 2

(74-58, 38-29 home)

10:05 PM ET, August 31, 2005

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

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OAK 000000010 1 7 0
LAA 00020000 - 2 6 0

W: J. Lackey (11-5)

L: J. Blanton (8-10)

S: F. Rodriguez (31)

Angels snap skid, gain ground with victory over A's

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels' struggling offense didn't provide John Lackey much support. He didn't need much.

Lackey (11-5) held Oakland to three hits over seven shutout innings to help the Angels climb within a game of the AL West-leading Athletics with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

Darin Erstad doubled home a run and Maicer Izturis singled in another off Joe Blanton in the fourth inning. The win snapped the Angels' five-game losing slide and ended Oakland's seven-game winning streak.

"I wanted to make it stand up, keep throwing up zeros," Lackey said of the early two-run lead. "We really needed this to get us started in the right direction, and to show those guys that we're going to be hanging around."

He struck out seven, walked four, and pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the third and sixth innings. The A's finally scored against reliever Scot Shields in the eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 36 chances.

"We pitched a great game and offensively, we scratched it out," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "Right now, we're fighting for every run."

The Angels were coming off a 2-1, 11-inning loss to Oakland a night earlier.

They bounced back to win the second game of the three-game series despite another strong pitching performance by the A's. Blanton (8-10) allowed two runs on six hits, walked one and had a career-high 10 strikeouts. The complete game was the second by the A's rookie.

"When you're going against a good pitcher, sometimes it's tough to get some runs across -- especially when they're locked in like that in a big game," Blanton said. "Lackey did a great job. He spotted the ball well, changed speeds fairly well and had a pretty good breaking ball."

Two of the hits off Lackey were comebackers to the mound -- Marco Scutaro's grounder in the third bounced off Lackey's ankle, and Scott Hatteberg's sharp grounder in sixth deflected off the pitcher's glove. Jason Kendall's single to right leading off the game was the only other hit Lackey allowed.

Hatteberg's RBI single in the eighth closed the gap to 2-1, but Shields, who gave up three singles and hit Bobby Kielty with a pitch in the inning, finally ended it by retiring Nick Swisher on a fly to deep left field with the bases loaded.

The Angels' Vladimir Guerrero led off the fourth with a single and scored when Erstad doubled to right-center field. Bengie Molina flied out to right, with Erstad advancing to third, then Blanton struck out Casey Kotchman.

Izturis followed with a bloop single to center field to score Erstad, then tried to stretch it into a double because second base was left unprotected as shortstop Scutaro and second baseman Mark Ellis raced into the outfield to try to catch the shallow fly. But center fielder Jay Payton raced in to field the ball on one hop and kept sprinting to second base, sliding in feet-first and tagging Izturis out.

"I didn't have anybody to throw to, so I had to take off for second. I was just trying to cut him off and slide in front of the bag," Payton said. "That way, if I slide and beat him there, then I cut him off from the bag.

"I didn't want to go headfirst because I'm thinking, if he goes feet-first, then I get spiked. I guess he wasn't really thinking about that too much because he went in headfirst. I thought I might have broken his arm or something at first, but he was OK."

Game notes

Oakland SS Bobby Crosby went on the DL with a broken left ankle, his second time on the DL this year. Trainer Larry Davis thought he might be able to return before the season ends. INF Keith Ginter was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take Crosby's roster spot. ... The Angels will activate C Josh Paul from the DL, transfer 3B Dallas McPherson to the 60-day DL, and bring up OF Curtis Pride and RHP Greg Jones from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday. ... A's CF Mark Kotsay had an epidural injection and is expected to be out another three or four days with back spasms. ... Oakland RHP Rich Harden, who missed his last start because of a strained muscle in his right side, had an MRI on Wednesday and won't be able to throw for a couple of days.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press