Ramon Laureano’s absurd throw highlights Athletics win over Angels

A truly absurd throw by rookie outfielder Ramon Laureano highlighted what was a tremendous all-around night for the Oakland Athletics, who rolled to a 7-0 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Already leading 5-0 in the bottom of the third, Laureano tracked down Justin Upton’s drive to the gap in left-center and proceeded to make a ridiculous throw to first baseman Mark Canha, who received it on the fly and didn’t even have to come off the bag to double off Eric Young Jr., who had rounded second as Upton appeared to be headed for a double.

The throw instantly drew comparisons to a 2014 play at Angel Stadium by Yoenis Cespedes, who bobbled a ball in the left field corner before nailing Howie Kendrick with a laser beam to the plate.

That was one of the few chances the Angels (59-59) would have all night against Edwin Jackson, who turned in his most dominant outing as a member of the Athletics’ rotation. Over 7 1/3 innings, he allowed three hits and three walks, and his six strikeouts were one shy of his season-high. The only batter to reach third base against Jackson did so in the first inning, as Upton doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Offensively, Oakland (69-48) was carried by Marcus Semien, whose power has largely been absent since last season’s wrist injury. His three-run shot off Tyler Skaggs in the second inning was his first longball since June 17 — also against the Angels — and when he pounded a hanging curveball from Skaggs into the bullpen in left-center in the fourth inning, it marked his third career multi-homer game. Five of his nine home runs this season have come against the Halos.

For Skaggs, his return from an adductor strain was far worse than his prior two outings against the A’s, in which he didn’t allow an earned run. A Semien double and Matt Chapman RBI single had the visitors on the board two batters into the game, and Khris Davis’s 34th homer of the year — yet another opposite-field blast — made it 5-0 in the top of the third. Skaggs lasted just 3 1/3 innings, and as soon as he left the game, a Davis RBI single against Hansel Robles brought home a seventh run.

The Angel bullpen did keep the A’s from tacking on any further, with Robles recording five outs, Williams Jerez pitching the sixth and Noe Ramirez handling the seventh and eighth. With the bullpen set to pitch the entire game tomorrow (Taylor Cole is getting the start), Mike Scioscia chose to avoid using any of his relievers for the ninth, instead deferring to backup catcher Francisco Arcia, who allowed just a Stephen Piscotty single in an otherwise clean inning.

Ryan Buchter got the final two outs of the eighth and Emilio Pagan kept the hosts off the board in the ninth despite loading the bases to start the frame.

With the Seattle Mariners winning a third straight game in Houston, the A’s maintain their 1 1/2 game lead for the second Wild Card spot but now sit just 3 1/2 games behind the Astros for the AL West lead.

Ethan Kassel

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