OAKLAND -- It took a Houdini act from the mound and an unlikely power source for the Oakland Athletics to take a series-clinching 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday afternoon.
Andrew Triggs recovered from walking the first three batters he faced to work six solid innings, allowing three hits, to improve to 5-2 on the season. A's second baseman Chad Pinder erased a 1-0 deficit with a two-run home run off the top of the right-field wall in the top of the fifth, his second homer of the season.
Thus, the A's effectively righted the ship after dropping the second game of the series to the Angels 7-3 Tuesday. The A's have won five of their last seven, including a stretch of three straight walk-off wins, after dropping eight of nine.
A's manager Bob Melvin marveled at Triggs' resilience after a near-nightmarish beginning. He limited the Angels to one run in the first on a fielder's choice by Jefry Marte.
"That's Houdini," Melvin said. "It's one guy away from getting somebody up in the first inning. You don't typically see a starter walk three guys in a row and do it on, what, throw one or two strikes in between? ... And then he gives us six innings and nothing else. I wouldn't say I wasn't expecting it, but it was Houdini like."
Even Triggs kind of shakes his head.
"I don't think I've done that in any outing that I can recall, albeit the first three of the game," said Triggs, who tied his career high of three walks allowed. "So it was kind of bizarre, but the ball was dancing on me a little bit, but we were able to contain things and I found the zone a little bit more."
He may have caught the Angels at the right time. Los Angeles' lineup was softened by the absence of sluggers Mike Trout, who sat out his fifth straight game with a tight left hamstring, and Albert Pujols, who had the day game off after a night contest.
In a pitching-dominated contest, Pinder's high-arching shot came off Angels starter Jesse Chavez, who was effective overall. In his first start against his former team, Chavez (2-5) allowed three hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"One mistake -- a cutter that stayed up and didn't cut on me," Chavez said of Pinder's shot. "The ball was able to get into the jet stream and get out. I felt really good today and that's probably why I fought myself mechanically. I was a little bit too good. It was hard for me to find the right lane in which way I wanted to attack."
The A's continue to ride the long ball, with 11 home runs in their last five games and 45 homers for the season.
Pinder, who has five RBIs overall, got a chuckle out of seeing the ball hit the very top of the fence, following Mark Canha's leadoff single.
"Honestly off the bat I did not (think it was going out)," said Pinder, called up from Triple-A Nashville in April after Marcus Semien went on the disabled list. "I knew it had a chance to get into the gap. You never know what the wind's going to do up top, here especially. Luckily, I think the wind may have got a little bit and taken it out."
Triggs, a 28-year-old right-hander, began the game throwing seven straight balls, and had 12 balls in first 14 pitches. He walked Yunel Escobar, Cameron Maybin and Kole Calhoun before the sparse crowd of 11,061 had even settled in. But he struck out Luis Valbuena, Pujols' replacement, and induced an RBI fielder's choice from Marte and a line out from Ben Revere.
"I think a lot of the game we left behind early," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had a lot chances in scoring position in the first inning. Give Triggs some credit with making some pitches to get out of it. He almost got out of it completely except the ball was bobbled at third base. We just didn't pressure them enough offensively."
Scioscia also credited Chavez with a strong effort.
"I think at night time no way that ball was going to carry," Scioscia said of Pinder's home run. "He pitched really well for us."
A's right fielder Mark Canha had a nice comeback start after three weeks in Triple-A, with back-to-back singles in his first two at-bats. He was back in the lineup for the first time since hip surgery ended his 2016 season. Canha flew out as pinch hitter Tuesday.
With his strikeout in the first inning, A's slugger Khris Davis extended his club-record streak to 21 games with a strikeout by a non-pitcher. He tacked on another strikeout in the third, before he had an RBI single in the eighth.
A's catcher Bruce Maxwell left the game after the third inning for precautionary measures after taking a foul tip to the mask. Stephen Vogt replaced him.
NOTES: Reigning American League MVP and April AL Player of the Month OF Mike Trout had no setbacks during a light pregame workout under team trainer Adam Nevala, and could return on Thursday, according to manager Mike Scioscia. ... A's LHP Sean Manaea (strained left shoulder) hit 94 mph consistently in his rehab start, but may need another start before he returns ... Oakland RHP John Axford (strained right shoulder) threw live batting practice and starts his rehab assignment Saturday ... A's manager Bob Melvin looks at RHP Bobby Wahl, who has developed confidence in his breaking ball, as a potential closer ... Melvin thought OF Rajai Davis, who was reinstated on May 2 off the disabled list, reached a turning point Tuesday with two stolen bases.