Athletics thwarted by Angels bullpen

The Oakland Athletics pulled off a rare and dubious feat on Tuesday by knocking the opposing starting pitcher out of the game in the third inning despite scoring just two runs.

With the bases loaded and a 5-0 lead trimmed to 5-2, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia removed starter Troy Scribner for lefty Jose Alvarez to face Matt Joyce. Alvarez got Joyce to pop out and end the threat, and the Angels cruised from there to an 8-2 win.

Former Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez picked up the win, pitching four scoreless innings in relief. Scribner, whose older brother, Evan, pitched for the A’s from 2012 to 2015, allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings.

A’s starter Chris Smith once again failed to pick up his first win since 2008, allowing five runs in the first inning. In all, he allowed seven runs (six earned) in 3.2 innings. To pick up a win in Anaheim would have been extra-sweet for Smith, who grew up in the Inland Empire.

C.J. Cron hit two homers for the Angels, who managed to score eight runs without Mike Trout as he continues to nurse a stiff neck. Cron launched a three-run shot in the first inning and added a solo homer in the eighth off of Michael Brady for the game’s final run.

The game wasn’t completely devoid of bright spots for the Athletics, however. Matt Joyce hit his 20th homer of the season in the ballpark that served as his home during the worst campaign of his career.

Matt Olson added a solo shot, the tenth of his impressive rookie campaign.

Other positives included reliever Simon Castro inducing a double play after walking the bases loaded and a scoreless inning from Liam Hendriks, who has a 2.25 ERA in August.

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