OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After watching catcher Chris Iannetta get thrown out at the plate, Cole Kalhoun thought he could beat left fielder Yoenis Cespedes' next heave home.
He was wrong.
The Angels had no answer for Cespedes on Saturday night.
Cespedes finished a single shy of the cycle and threw out two runners at the plate, powering the Oakland Athletics past the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 in front of an announced sellout crowd of 35,067.
"Knew it was going to be bang-bang and he's got a great arm," Calhoun said. "I thought I had a good jump. I thought it'd be closer than what it was, but that was a great play by him."
On a night the Angels missed wasted opportunities to score, Cespedes made quite a lot of great plays.
The reigning Home Run Derby champion doubled in the fourth, hit a triple in the seventh that scored the go-ahead runs and added a three-run homer in the eighth. He matched a career high with five RBIs to help the two-time defending AL West champions stretch their lead to 3½ games over the Angels in the division.
"I got a lot of motivation when I see the field like that," Cespedes said through an interpreter in Spanish. "The stands are full, the same thing when we were in the playoffs. It was sold out and they made me feel like a stronger mind and gave me a lot of motivation."
Collin Cowgill's three-run homer off Tommy Milone in the fourth accounted for all of the Angels' runs. The A's tagged Tyler Skaggs (4-3) with four runs and five hits in six-plus innings.
Fernando Rodriguez (1-0) tossed one scoreless inning for the win.
Milone allowed nine hits in six innings, striking out three and walking one. He labored most of the way — including escaping a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first — but got a big boost from his strong-armed, green glove-wearing left fielder on nearly identical plays in the second inning.
Cespedes charged in and heaved a one-hop strike to catcher Derek Norris to nab Iannetta and Calhoun after line-drive singles. The throws sent fans roaring to their feet each time, and Cespedes received high-fives and head-pats from teammates and coaches in the dugout.
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