Baseball / Sports

The Oakland Athletics' Brandon Moss (37) follows the flight of his grand slam off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards in the first inning at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 30, 2014. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Oakland A's jump on Los Angeles Angels early, often

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics were able to play the power card again Friday night in a 9-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

But if Brandon Moss, who got the evening started with a first-inning grand slam, has to miss time thanks to the left calf tightness that forced him out of the game in the third inning, Oakland's power will have been seriously diminished.

Josh Donaldson hit two homers, a solo blast in the second and a two-run bomb in the fifth in augmenting their status as the No. 2 homer producer in the American League with 63. Of those, Donaldson (15) and Moss (13) have almost 45 percent of the A's total between them.

If Moss is sidelined for significant time, the A's would be losing a hitter who has been crushing the ball. In his last 24 games, the left-handed slugger is 28-for-92 (.304) with eight doubles, two triples, nine homers and 25 RBIs. Friday's slam was the first of his career.

The offensive largess was manufactured on behalf of Drew Pomeranz, the left-hander making his fifth start after being pulled from the A's bullpen. He left the game one out into the sixth inning with a 9-3 lead, but two runners he'd left on base both came around to score. The five runs Pomeranz (5-2) was charged with came after he'd allowed just two runs in his first four starts.

The win improved the A's record to 33-22 and upped the A's lead over the Angels in the AL West to 2 1/2 games.

Garrett Richards came into Friday's start for the Angels never having beaten the A's (0-2, 5.29 in nine games, five starts), and nothing that took place as the game evolved changed that.

Coco Crisp and John Jaso opened with singles, Donaldson walked and Moss, after getting the count to 2-0 in his favor, launched his 13th homer into the right field bleachers for a 4-0 lead.

Before the inning was over, the A's would load the bases again and get another run with Crisp getting a bases-loaded walk that spelled the end of the evening for Richards.

Lefty Wade LeBlanc pitched out of that jam, but the first batter he saw in the second, Donaldson, hit a homer that just barely cleared the yellow line signifying a homer over the right field scoreboard. The umpires opted on their own to review the call, but it stood.

Crisp singled, Jaso was hit by a pitch for the third time this season and Donaldson singled home a run off LeBlanc in the third, and with Oakland up 7-0, the game seemed to be in hand.

But just after the Donaldson single, Kyle Blanks was sent up to hit for Moss, giving the first indication of an injury to the A's RBI leader.

Pomeranz didn't allow a hit in the first three innings, but the fourth inning saw Mike Trout hit a solo homer and Howie Kendrick add a two-run bomb to cut the A's lead to four at 7-3.

It was back to six runs with Donaldson's second homer, a rocket to center in the fifth off LeBlanc with a man on.

Pomeranz had not pitched more than five innings in any of his first four starts, but this time he made it into the sixth before a one-out walk to David Freese and a single by Kendrick led manager Bob Melvin to bring Dan Otero into the game.

The immediate result was a two-run double by C.J. Cron as the Angels served notice they weren't going to be easily dismissed.

It was, however, the last gasp for the Anaheim crew as Otero, Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle didn't allow a run the rest of the night.

Eric O'Flaherty is likely to be scheduled for a 20-day injury rehabilitation assignment Friday night or Saturday. And that would mean the A's left-handed reliever is on course to be in the Oakland bullpen in three weeks or less. "Physically, I feel really great," O'Flaherty said. "I'm just anxious to know what we're going to do next."

Ryan Cook said Friday he's hoping to be on the plane to New York when the A's take off for their next road trip Monday. Cook is scheduled to throw in Stockton on Saturday in the first game of an injury rehab assignment. Because the A's have been monitoring Cook's work and because he's faced hitters, there is some belief that the one game may be all the tune-up he needs.

Eric Sogard got Friday's start off thanks in large part to the .158 batting average he owns in May. Alberto Callaspo was in the lineup at second base. Sogard, batting .188, is like right fielder Josh Reddick in that he gets some extra at-bats because the A's like his work on defense. But Melvin said Friday he thought the second baseman needed a break.

(c)2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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