ANAHEIM -- The Los Angeles Angels emerged with a 4-3 win over the A's on Thursday night in the first game of a four-game weekend set with the American League West lead on the line when Howie Kendrick delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning.

The A's, however, were playing the game under protest stemming from an odd incident in the ninth inning. It remains to be seen if the protest is upheld. The Angels didn't score, so it probably won't be, but the A's could well argue that the call by home plate ump Greg Gibson forced them to burn through their bullpen in the inning.

The A's (78-55 and two games behind the Angels) were incensed at an obstruction call made by Gibson against the A's.

A's reliever Dan Otero and first baseman Brandon Moss both had ideas about fielding a high chopper off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar. Otero fielded it, and with Moss standing adjacent collided with Aybar.

Otero had the ball, but that apparently held no weight with Gibson, who ruled obstruction against Moss. Manager Bob Melvin came out to argue, and after getting no satisfaction, returned from the dugout to say the A's were protesting the game.

"(Gibson) said he had to have a clear lane to the base, but (Aybar) was way out of the base line,'' Melvin said. "Then he went to try and make contact with the fielder. So hopeful it's upheld.''

Melvin said that calling obstruction on Moss was odd given that Moss never touched Aybar.


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Umpire crew chief Gerry Davis, speaking to a pool reporter, said Gibson told him it was a judgment call.

Davis said he couldn't comment on the play because of the protest. He did elaborate a little, however.

"The ruling was obstruction on the first baseman. We can't really comment on the play further than that because of the protest involved,'' Davis said. "That was a judgment call on Greg's part, but you have to talk to the league office on that.''

Melvin's hope that the call will be overturned rests on the MLB front office accepting that Aybar was running out of the runner's lane, that Moss never touched Aybar and that Aybar ran into Otero. It's not clear that MLB will see it that way.

The rule book (4:19) says: "Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team's chances of winning the game."

Otero and Moss were involved in the next play, both backing off a bunt from John McDonald that went for a hit. Another bunt got the runners to second and third, at which point the A's intentionally walked Gordon Beckham.

Fernando Abad replaced Otero and got Kole Calhoun to pop out, and at that point Ryan Cook came out of the bullpen to face Angels RBI leader Mike Trout. Cook got the grounder that ended the inning.

The bottom of the 10th was entirely the Angels' own doing after Cook walked Albert Pujols to start things off. Josh Hamilton singled past second baseman Alberto Callaspo to get Pujols to third base, and Kendrick delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly to right.

  • Starters Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir switched spots for the weekend, Samardzija now starting Saturday and Kazmir on Sunday. Melvin said the belief was that Kazmir, who has thrown 158 innings in 26 starts this year, needs a bit of extra time off. At the same time the move would break up the A's two lefty starters so Jon Lester and Kazmir don't pitch on back-to-back days. When they've pitched against the same team on back-to-back days in August, the A's are 0-3 in Kazmir's starts.

  • The A's bolstered their bullpen depth, recalling right-handed reliever Evan Scribner from Triple-A Sacramento. Oakland normally carries seven relievers but had been at six since Sean Doolittle went on the disabled list. To make room on the roster for Scribner, the A's sent Wednesday night's starter in Houston, Drew Pomeranz, to Class-A Beloit, Wisconsin. This is the fourth promotion to the big leagues this season for Scribner.

  • Catcher John Jaso is eligible to come off the 7-day concussion disabled list Sunday, but he's unlikely to do so. Melvin said Jaso is no longer having the kind of headaches that led to his going on the D.L., but the catcher hasn't begun doing any baseball activity.

    A.L. WEST RACE
    Team W L PCT. GB
    Angels 80 53 .602 --
    A's 78 55 .586 2.0

    FRIDAY'S GAME
    A's (Jon Lester 13-8) at L.A. Angels (Jered Weaver 14-7), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA

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