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Nolasco (10 K's) spins best start of season
By Alex Espinoza
Special to MLB.com |
OAKLAND -- Ricky Nolasco did his part on Monday night. But he had to sit as a spectator in the 11th inning, watching as A's second baseman Jed Lowrie hit a walk-off solo shot to hand the Angels a tough 3-2 defeat.
Nolasco tossed seven strong innings and struck out 10 batters for the first time since Aug. 28, 2013. But he left the game while it was locked in a 2-2 stalemate, leaving him without a chance to earn a victory.
"We've just got to keep doing our job," Nolasco said. "It's a team game. We can't be worried about what those guys [the hitters] are doing. There's going to be a lot of games where those guys pick us up, especially with the good offense that we have. They're going to be picking us up when we're struggling."
Nolasco exited his previous start after feeling his calves cramp up, but he said it was no issue on Monday night. He retired the first six batters he faced, and the only major blemishes on the evening were two solo shots he surrendered -- one to Lowrie in the fourth and another to Trevor Plouffe in the fifth. The 34-year-old allowed five hits, walked none and struck out 10, saying it's the best he's felt all year.
"Just trying to make pitches and put myself in good counts," Nolasco said. "I was able to do that."
Following Nolasco's strong outing, David Hernandez pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Deolis Guerra fell one out short of getting through his third inning of relief, as Lowrie turned on a 1-0 pitch and sent the A's fans home happy.
The Angels have now lost five of their last six. On a night when Mike Trout (left hamstring) was held out for his third straight contest and starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons (left hand and right thumb contusions) had to leave after being hit by a pitch in the first inning, manager Mike Scioscia still wasn't making excuses for the offense.
"Ricky was great," Scioscia said. "Again, tonight we pitched really well. There's probably three pitches we didn't get quite where we wanted and they ended up out of the park. Then on the offensive end we just didn't do enough. We didn't play a really good game on the offensive side. We didn't execute well getting some bunts down. Could have given us a little more margin early. We just didn't pressure those guys enough."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor for MLB.com based in the Bay Area, and covered the Angels on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.