- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Kendall Graveman’s first complete game in nine major league starts was a big help to Oakland manager Bob Melvin’s battered bullpen. It still went down as a loss, however, because of Albert Pujols’ homer in the first inning.

Graveman threw 111 pitches over eight innings on Saturday night, scattering eight hits and striking out seven without allowing a walk. But C.J. Wilson was even better, limiting the Athletics to just two hits over seven innings as the Los Angeles Angels beat the A’s 1-0.

“Kendall’s pitched some great games for us, but I don’t know if any of them were better than that,” Melvin said. “The last three times out, he deserved to win every game he pitched. He was terrific. He deserved to go back out there for the eighth.”

Two nights after passing Mickey Mantle for 16th place on the all-time home run list, Pujols hit the 538th of his career and raised his RBI total to 1,636 - tying Ernie Banks for 29th place on that list.

“I probably threw too many fastballs in that sequence. That’s on me,” Graveman said. “But that one bad pitch is not something I’m going to reflect on. I’m going to look back on it and see the quality pitches that I did make.”

Pujols’ drive into the left field bullpen gave him 18 homers for the season, tying Mike Trout for the club lead. The three-time NL MVP became the sixth player in Angels’ history to homer at least 10 times in a 15-game span, and the first since Mo Vaughn did it from May 8-25, 2000.

“The pitch to Pujols was down, so it wasn’t an awful pitch. But he went down and got it,” Melvin said. “Sometimes you have to give the hitter credit. But after that, it didn’t seem to affect him.”

On April 20 in Anaheim, Graveman threw 73 pitches in three-plus innings and left with a 5-3 lead after walking his first two batters in the fourth.

“The movement was a lot better this time, the sinker was good and the ground balls were there,” the 24-year-old right-hander said. “The last time I was giving up hard contact with balls that didn’t move north and south. So I think that was one of the biggest differences tonight. Another is that I’d seen them before and I had a game plan. I looked at what I did the first time and made adjustments off of that.

“The first four innings we pitched one way and the last four we pitched a different way,” Graveman added. “After the fourth I was able to get some more off-balance swings and some that were off the barrel. So it was good to be able to do that. It was a good sign.”

Wilson (4-5) struck out eight and walked three in his first scoreless outing since April 7, when he allowed two hits over eight innings in a victory at Seattle. The left-hander was 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA his previous five starts - including a loss at Yankee Stadium last Sunday, when he gave up a season-worst six runs along with seven hits and three homers in seven innings.

“Obviously there are a lot of guys in their lineup that have seen me a ton of times, and they’ve had so many at-bats against me that I had to be really really careful,” Wilson said. “When you have a one-run lead, you can’t make any mistakes. So I was determined to pitch tough no matter what the count was and just try to get an out on every pitch.”

Wilson’s biggest out came in the fifth, when he got Sam Fuld to chase an outside breaking pitch in the dirt for the third out after giving up a walk to Brett Lawrie and Marcus Semien’s two-out double to left-center. Fuld, who came in 4 for 11 against Wilson with three RBIs and no strikeouts, was in the starting lineup against a lefty for only the second time all season.

Joe Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Huston Street got three outs for his 19th save in 21 attempts, one night after he needed 26 pitches to preserve a 5-4 victory against his former club.


Athletics: RHP A.J. Griffin, who hasn’t pitched for the club since undergoing Tommy John surgery, was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Closer Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Griffin on the 40-man roster.


Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (7-3) is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels, including back-to-back wins in April. His 1.74 ERA through Friday was the second-best in the majors, and a percentage point behind Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole.

Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (4-4) has allowed three earned runs in 18 2/3 innings over his last three starts. He is 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA in five home starts this season, including a 6-3 loss to the A’s on April 20, when he worked three-plus innings and gave up home runs to Stephen Vogt and Semien.

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