ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - After eight innings of frustration against Oakland's Brett Anderson, the Los Angeles Angels were down to their final out when Mark Trumbo hit a three-run homer off A's reliever Grant Balfour.
Then Russell Branyan, signed to a free agent contract on Thursday after he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks, pinch-hit for Reggie Willits and flied out to the warning track in center field. That was the Angels' last gasp in a 4-3 loss to the A's, resulting in a split of the four-game series.
``We saw Russell in the spring with Arizona, and he had a really strong spring,' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``It didn't carry over to many opportunities at the beginning of the season with them, but if he can do near what he did a couple of years ago when he was in our league, hopefully he'll give us a little bit of a boost. This guy gets on base, he's got power, and I think he matches up good in our lineup to give us a lot of options.'
Joel Pineiro (2-1) gave up 11 hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings - the same three totals he had in his previous start against Atlanta. The right-hander struck out three and walked none while falling short again in a bid to notch his 100th career victory.
``I think he was searching for some things,' Scioscia said. ``I think his ball was running a little bit too much early, and he was having trouble getting it into good spots in the zone. He may not have been as crisp today, but he still had enough stuff and pitched well enough to give us a chance to win.'
After an RBI groundout in the second inning by Andy LaRoche, the A's extended their lead to 4-0 with three runs in the fourth. Josh Willingham led off with a single before Mark Ellis singled with two outs. LaRoche followed with a double to left field, scoring Willingham and Ellis, and Cliff Pennington scored LaRoche with a single.
``As the game went on, after he had given up a couple of runs, I think his stuff picked up a little bit and he looked like he got his second wind,' Scioscia said. ``But I just don't know that he had the command that he's shown us, and he definitely missed some spots in that inning where they bunched those three runs.'
The Angels couldn't bunch any hits together against Anderson (3-4). The left-hander tossed three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings, struck out four and walked three after going 0-3 over his five previous career starts against the Angels.
``He pitched well and threw all his pitches for strikes,' Trumbo said after the Angels lost for the seventh time in 11 games. ``He's not overpowering, but he can sneak his fastball in there a little bit. He threw a ton of breaking balls, and it seemed like he can throw that slider for a strike at will. And that can get you off your game a little bit if you have to respect not only one pitch, but three.'
The Angels' only hits off Anderson were a single by Erick Aybar in the second inning, a double by Maicer Izturis in the sixth and a single by Alberto Callaspo in the seventh. Torii Hunter, who had a hit and an RBI in each of his previous six games, failed to extend the longest such stretch of his career, going 0 for 3 with a walk.
``Anderson pitched a good game and kept us down all afternoon,' Scioscia said. ``He was ahead in the count all game. We had some opportunities to chip into their lead, and we just couldn't get one or two runs across early - which obviously could have made a difference. We made a late rally, but it just wasn't enough.'
Anderson retired his first 10 batters before Aybar's hit. The Angels didn't get a runner into scoring position until the sixth, when Izturis doubled down the left field line after a one-out walk to Willits. But Willits wasn't able to advance on Aybar's fly ball to Willingham in shallow left field, and Bobby Abreu grounded out.
``My stuff wasn't particularly better today than it was on other days, I just mixed and matched well,' Anderson said. ``I can't give enough credit to my defense behind me, it was unbelievable. The defense was spectacular all day.'
In the seventh, Hunter walked and Callaspo singled before Trumbo's double-play grounder sent Hunter to third. Anderson stranded him by striking out Peter Bourjos.
``I had a couple other situations with guys on base, but in the sixth, I was just a rally-killer - chopping a ball to third base,' Trumbo said. ``I didn't really stick with my game plan, and that hurt us right there.'
Notes: The Angels placed INF Howie Kendrick on the 15-day DL with right hamstring tightness, opening up a roster spot for Branyan. ... Angels INF Kendrys Morales underwent a second surgery in Vail, Colo., on his left ankle to clean out scar tissue, degenerative cysts and debris in the area. He won't return this season. ... The A's closed their seven-game trip with a 2-5 record. ... Oakland starters have allowed one earned run or less in seven of the past eight games.
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