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Angels use early knockout, late home runs to beat A’s

ANAHEIM ― Luis Rengifo drove in two of the Angels’ five runs against the Oakland A’s on Saturday, poking a home run over the left-field fence in the fifth inning, and dropping a textbook Baltimore Chop with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Rengifo also made an out in his first at-bat of the night, on a line drive back to pitcher Frankie Montas, that made an impact far beyond the box score. The ball caught Montas’ hand and knocked him out of the game, the critical event in an eventual 5-3 victory at Angel Stadium.

Michael Lorenzen threw six shutout innings, and Andrew Velazquez also homered, as the Angels snapped a four-game losing streak before the announced crowd of 39,045.

Mike Trout was the beneficiary of Rengifo’s high chopper off the plate that eventually landed in the glove of pitcher Lou Trivino. While no one covered first base to retire Rengifo, Trout casually sprinted in from third to score the 1,000th run of his career.

The Angels had not won since leaving Oakland on May 15. They had to survive a late rally by the A’s, who scored three runs in the eighth inning against relievers Aaron Loup and Oliver Ortega. Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his ninth save of the season.

Rengifo’s line drive back to the mound in the second inning ― clocked at 95 mph, according to Statcast ― effectively forced the A’s into a bullpen game.

Montas threw both hands up to field the ball, which rattled in and out of his glove. The right-hander recovered the ball, and tossed it underhand to first baseman Seth Brown for the out, but was uncomfortable as he attempted a few practice pitches. The 29-year-old Dominican sauntered slowly back to the dugout, straddled by his manager and an athletic trainer. His day’s work was done.

It was a break for the Angels. Montas leads the A’s in innings pitched (50 2/3), strikeouts (55) and WHIP (1.02). Last season he finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting.

Right-hander Domingo Acevedo and left-hander Adam Kolarek got through the fourth inning without allowing a run. Kolarek stayed in the game for the fifth, which turned the switch-hitting Rengifo to his right side ― his stronger side, responsible for 10 of his 14 career homers before Saturday.

Rengifo’s first home run of the season broke a 0-0 tie.

Shohei Ohtani ripped a 111-mph single against Kolarek to begin the sixth inning. Trivino took over and walked Trout before allowing a single to Anthony Rendon to load the bases.

With one out, Brandon Marsh drew a walk, bringing in Ohtani with the Angels’ second run. That set the stage for Rengifo’s second hit of the game, with Trout scoring the Angels’ third run.

Velazquez’s opposite-field blast against Jacob Lemoine gave him two home runs this season, a career high.

Lorenzen (5-2) has beaten Oakland in each of his last two starts, allowing just one run and eight hits across 13 innings. Saturday, he threw 57 of his 84 pitches for strikes, and used his sinker effectively to record eight outs on the ground.

The Angels (25-17) host the A’s (17-25) in the rubber match of the three-game series Sunday. They trail the first-place Houston Astros (26-15) by 1 1/2 games in the American League West.

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