ANAHEIM, California: Tim Lincecum put the Angels in a hole with a four-run, six-hit second inning Thursday night (Friday in Manila), but that’s nothing compared to the massive crater the Angels have dug for themselves this season.
A 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics dropped the Angels 16 games behind Texas in the American League West, their largest June deficit since 2001, when they fell 20 games behind a Seattle Mariners team that won 116 games.
The Angels rallied in the ninth inning when Johnny Giavotella doubled and Jett Bandy hit a two-run homer off Sean Doolittle to cut the deficit to 5-4. Andrelton Simmons popped out to first for the second out.
Pinch-hitter Jefry Marte swung through Doolittle’s first pitch and lost control of his bat, which struck home plate umpire Paul Emmel on the top of the head. Emmel began bleeding profusely and left the game, with third -base umpire Quinn Wolcott taking over behind the plate.
Marte popped out to second on the next pitch to end the game, the Angels falling to 31-42 on the season and 7-14 in June.
Lincecum’s second start with his new club did not go nearly as well as his first, when the former two-time Cy Young Award winner limited the A’s to one run and four hits in six innings of last Saturday’s 7-1 win in Oakland. He lasted three innings, allowing four runs and seven hits, striking out two and walking two.
It can be a challenge facing a team you had success against twice in a row, “because those hitters are going to make adjustments,” Manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “I think Tim is ready for it, not only in his pitch selection, but his game plan.”
Lincecum put a heavier emphasis on his fastball, which topped out at 89 mph, and changeup in the first two innings, rarely throwing his curve or slider. The A’s were not fooled.
The right-hander labored during a 26-pitch first, in which he allowed a two-out single to Stephen Vogt and walked Danny Valencia before striking out Khris Davis. He barely survived a 37-pitch second.
Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso singled, and Marcus Semien golfed a knee-high changeup over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, his 13th of the season. Coco Crisp shot a one-out single to left, and Max Muncy singled to center. Vogt, with the Angels infield shifted toward the right side, lifted a popup to shallow left.
Third baseman Yunel Escobar got turned around while pursuing the ball, which hit his left forearm and fell for an error allowing Crisp to score for a 4-0 lead. Valencia singled, but Escobar turned Davis’ grounder into an inning-ending double play.
Lincecum walked one in a scoreless third, but with his pitch count at 83 and the top of the A’s order coming up in the fourth, Scioscia pulled the starter in favor of Deolis Guerra.
The Angels halved the deficit in the fourth, Mike Trout sparking a rally with an infield single and C.J. Cron driving a one-out double off the right-field wall.
Giavotella floated a run-scoring single to shallow center, just out of Semien’s reach, to make it 4-1. Daniel Nava, channeling his inner-David Eckstein, let an 0-and-2 fastball hit him on the right thigh to load the bases.
Bandy’s sacrifice fly to right scored Cron to make it 4-2, but Simmons flied to the track in right-center for the third out.
Last-place Oakland, which won for only the fifth time in 18 games, padded its lead in the fifth when Davis hit his 17th homer, a towering solo shot to center, off Guerra for a 5-2 lead.
Right-hander Kendall Graveman allowed two runs and eight hits in 62/3 innings to snap the A’s 17-game streak without a win from a starting pitcher, the second-longest in Oakland history.