OAKLAND, Calif. -- — Ramón Laureano hit a home run and made a homer-robbing catch in his return from the injured list, and the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Los Angeles Angels 8-4 Wednesday for their sixth straight win.
Shohei Ohtani homered for the second straight day, giving him 19 for the Angels. He also neatly bunted against the shift for a single and stole his team-leading 10th base, a day before he was scheduled to start on the mound.
Laureano, who missed 17 games with a strained right hip, perfectly timed his jump to reach over the fence and catch Justin Upton's flyball in the fourth. The acrobatic center fielder was credited with the fifth homer-saving grab in his career.
In the bottom of the fourth, Laureano connected for his 12th homer, cutting the Angels' lead to 4-1.
“I just wanted to play,” Laureano said. "At the end of the day, with the adrenaline the fans bring, I don’t really think about (the injury) when I’m out there. Just kind of compete, get a good at-bat, good, quality pitch and just go after it. It was a good game overall.”
Added A's manager Bob Melvin: “We get spoiled with his play. We see it all the time, but it’s really good.”
Watson (2-3) faced six batters and didn’t record an out, surrendering six earned runs on five hits and a walk.
“His changeup was cutting,” Angels manager Joe Maddon explained. “It was not doing it’s normal thing. I didn’t know that immediately, but I was told that afterward. So that pitch that he normally relies on wasn’t reacting like it normally does. I think that was a big part of it.”
The Angels jumped on Athletics starter Cole Irvin for three runs on five hits in the first inning. But Irvin settled in to pitch 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision.
“Today was one of those days where I didn’t have everything,” Irvin said. “I had to battle.”
Burch Smith (1-0) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.
The AL West-leading A’s improved to 43-27, their best record through 70 games since 1990, when they were 45-25.
Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon missed his second straight game with a strained right triceps but is expected to return as soon as Thursday.
Athletics: Pinder returned after being hit behind his left ear by an 82 mph splitter from Junior Guerra on Monday. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning and went 2 for 2 with an RBI.
The Athletics reinstated Laureano from the 10-day injured list before the game and optioned OF Skye Bolt to Triple-A Las Vegas. Bolt went 1 for 13 with a home run in nine games with Oakland.
Angels: Ohtani (2-1, 2.85 ERA) takes the hill Thursday as Los Angeles welcomes the Detroit Tigers for a four-game series.
Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (3-1, 2.51) makes his seventh career start Friday as Oakland opens a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
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