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Butler homers, Sears pitches A’s to series sweep of Angels with 5-0 win

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Lawrence Butler homered, JP Sears won for the first time in more than a month, and the Oakland Athletics blanked the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday for a second straight game by the same 5-0 score to complete a three-game series sweep.

Miguel Andujar and Brent Rooker hit back-to-back RBI singles in the third and Tyler Soderstrom added a sacrifice fly in the decisive inning on a hot Independence Day in the Bay Area, with an announced holiday crowd of 11,956.

Oakland’s pitching shut down an Angels lineup that had been on quite an offensive run.

“This offense that we faced had scored five or more runs in (seven) consecutive games, they had won six of their last seven, they swept us in Anaheim, beat a Detroit team at home, came here really confident and really swinging the bats well,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “So our pitching staff really did a great job this series of controlling their offense, keeping the guys that had really been providing the offense at check and not giving away free bases.”

Sears (5-7) struck out six and walked one, allowing two hits over five innings to snap a six-start winless stretch since beating Houston on May 25. The left-hander had dropped his previous four decisions.

“It’s contagious, you just want to do what the guy did before you,” Sears said.

The Angels lost a fourth straight game coming off a 5-0 shutout Wednesday. They were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since June 20-21, 2023 at home against the Dodgers.

The club now has a six-game losing streak at the Coliseum.

“It was just a tough overall series,” said center fielder Kevin Pillar, who made several sparkling catches and said he was close to snagging Butler’s eighth inning drive. “We were playing really good baseball at home, you got that off day, you come here, just playing these guys not a lot of secrets.”

Right-hander Roansy Contreras (1-1) walked two of the first three batters in the third to get in trouble, then gave up the run-scoring singles and a sacrifice fly before another walk — and that was it in his second start for the Angels. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings.

The Angels played the first of four straight day games as they head to Chicago to face the Cubs — their first visit to Wrigley Field since 2019.


Angels: OF Mike Trout hit on the field off a tee during Monday’s off day and is running on a treadmill as he recovers from a torn meniscus in his left knee. Manager Ron Washington saw the video and said “he looked natural.” … 3B Luis Rengifo was feeling better after exiting a night earlier with an injury on his lower right arm near the wrist after fouling a ball off it in the ninth inning. … 3B Anthony Rendon (left hamstring strain) will return to regular third base duties when healthy, with some games at designated hitter as needed, Washington said.

Athletics: LHP Kyle Muller has rejoined the team from his rehab assignment and is expected to be activated from the injured list this weekend after dealing with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.


RHP Griffin Canning (3-8, 4.71 ERA) takes the mound for the Angels in the series opener with the Cubs. LHP Hogan Harris (1-2, 3.18) pitches for the A’s in Friday’s series opener against Baltimore, which counters with RHP Albert Suárez (4-2, 2.43).



AP Baseball Writer