Ward hits two-run homer to back Canning and help Angels beat Athletics 5-1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Taylor Ward hit a two-run homer, Griffin Canning pitched seven strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Monday night.

Ward gave the Angels a 2-0 lead with his drive to right field in the first inning and he had a ninth-inning leaping catch at the wall for the second consecutive game. He did the same at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.

“Very poetic,” Angels manager Ron Washington said of Ward’s performance. “We certainly needed what he gave us in the first inning and we needed to stop the momentum back there in the ninth inning.”

Zach Neto, Luis Rengifo and Willie Calhoun each had a pair of hits and Neto scored twice.

The Angels, 25th in the majors with their 4.03 runs per game, got more than enough Monday thanks to Canning's strong outing.

Canning (3-8) gave up one earned run and struck out five. He allowed just five hits, including Tyler Nevin's first-pitch home run in the second inning, and consistently pitched from ahead in the count.

“I’m just proud of that,” Canning said. “That’s what we preach and I haven’t necessarily done that very well this year. I’m super happy about it.”

The A’s have lost three straight games and four of the last five. The Angels had lost three of four. In the two-run third, Logan O’Hoppe drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Ward scored on an error.

Luis Medina, who made his major league debut for Oakland in Anaheim a year ago, was chased after three innings. Medina (1-3) gave up four runs, three earned, and struck out four.

“He had zero command tonight,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “It’s tough when you go out there and don’t have command and can’t execute pitches. He gave everything he had. Eighty pitches in three innings is a lot of work to give up four runs. We’ll go back to taking a dive into figuring out what’s causing this and make corrections.”

Canning, on the other hand, had one of his best outings of the year.

“He was outstanding,” Washington said. “At one point, he was 9 for 9 on first-pitch strikes. Over the game, he threw 20 of 25. I congratulated him when I told him that. It was awesome. He was in control the whole night, even though he threw close to 100 pitches.”

Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh took in Angels batting practice and chatted with Washington and players.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: RHP Ross Stripling (strain, throwing elbow) and RHP Patrick Blackburn (stress reaction in right foot) are each on the road trip and expected to throw bullpen sessions in Anaheim. Angels: LHP Patrick Sandoval (elbow) has a torn flexor and UCL and will have season-ending surgery soon.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Mitch Spence (4-3, 3.86 ERA) is 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA over his last four starts after he went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA through his first three starts. Angels: LHP Tyler Anderson (6-7, 2.48 ERA) is ranked fifth in the AL with a 2.08 ERA.

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