ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Ricky Nolasco had extra days between starts to work on mechanical issues and it paid off as he led the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night to earn the series sweep.
Nolasco (2-2) threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run and three hits. The Angels (12-12) have won four consecutive games and are back to .500 as they head to Texas.
Bud Norris is settling into the closer’s role for Oakland. He pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season and second in as many nights.
In the sixth inning, Nolasco walked two batters and Yonder Alonso reached on an error to load the bases. Blake Parker relieved Nolasco and struck out Ryon Healy with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Angels, who scored eight runs in the previous game’s win over the Athletics, scored two runs in the first inning. Mike Trout, who has an 11-game hitting streak, hit a two-out double in the first, followed by a run-scoring single by Albert Pujols and an RBI double by C.J. Cron. Trout, the reigning AL MVP, has hit safely in 23 of 24 games this season.
Oakland starter Kendall Graveman (2-1), who came off the disabled list after missing one start with a minor shoulder strain allowed two runs in six innings and scattered six hits. He struck out four and walked none.
The Athletics scored once in the fourth inning on a single to right field by Alonso.
Nolasco, the Angels’ Opening Day starter, seemed to work out the kinks with mechanical adjustments in bullpen sessions. He pitched decisively and faced just three batters over the minimum through the first five innings.
“He threw a couple of bullpens,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “One was just touch and feel to get the normal stiffness you might have after a start out. The other one was really a tutorial to find that release point. He’s ready. He feels good.”
Angels third baseman Yunel Esocbar hit a double in the eighth inning to snap an 0-for-22 skid.
Athletics: RHP John Axford (strained right shoulder) threw from 90 feet and could join the team on the upcoming road trip. … LHP Sean Manaea (left shoulder tightness) is expected to play catch in Texas on Friday. He left Wednesday’s start after just 34 pitches in two innings.
Angels: RHP Mike Morin (neck tightness) is expected to start throwing in a few days. … RHP Andrew Bailey (right shoulder inflammation) has resumed throwing. … RHP Huston Street (right lat strain) is throwing off a mound.
Oakland RHP Jharel Cotton (2-2, 4.76 ERA) will make his ninth career start against Houston on Friday night. He leads the AL in games started by a rookie (4) and innings pitched (22 2/3).
LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-1, 4.44 ERA) got his first win of the season against Toronto in his last start, allowing two runs in seven innings. Skaggs, who is pitching his first full season since Tommy John surgery, had an extra day of rest before this start against Texas.
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