Scutaro's two-run blast sparks Oakland offense

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Though Marco Scutaro and Huston Street weren't expected to be big parts of the Oakland Athletics this season, the versatile infielder and the young reliever have been
indispensible so far.

Scutaro hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and Street got his first major-league victory in the A's 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Jason Kendall hit a two-run double for the A's, who scored two runs in the first inning -- matching their total from the first 19 innings of this series. Scott Hatteberg and Mark Ellis had run-scoring singles, while Street and Octavio Dotel provided solid relief pitching in the A's third victory in four games.

Scutaro's first homer of the season put Oakland back ahead after Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer in the sixth for the Angels.

Though he spent last season as Oakland's starting second baseman, Scutaro was expected to lose the job this spring in competition with Ellis and Keith Ginter. Instead, Scutaro has been filling in at shortstop for Bobby Crosby, the injured AL rookie of the year -- and he made big plays with his bat and his glove against the Angels.

"No matter where you play, you've got to play hard," Scutaro said. "I'm just taking advantage of the opportunity I'm getting. I think (the A's) know what I can do, but they're the ones who make the decisions."

Street (1-0), the A's highly-touted future closer, got only two months of minor-league experience last year, but he pitched two strong innings of relief in another impressive outing during his first month in the majors. He showed poise under pressure, getting three strikeouts and not panicking when he hit Vladimir Guerrero on the arm with a fastball in the eighth.

"You try not to be surprised," said Street, who planned to give the game ball to his mother after the A's arrived in Dallas on Sunday night for the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. "You set expectations for yourself, but your goal is just to get better every day. That's been my approach throughout my short professional career."

Dotel got the final five outs for the A's first save of the season, getting Darin Erstad to line into a game-ending double play when Juan Rivera was caught off second.

Guerrero also hit a two-run homer for Los Angeles, but starter John Lackey (1-1) repeatedly got in trouble, yielding 10 hits and seven runs in 5 2/3 innings while wasting his teammates' hits.

"You would think, looking at J.L.'s game, it was like three different people pitching," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "Any pitcher on this staff should be able to hold a lead. We need to get a consistent flow out there, especially to get our offense going. Three times, J.L. wasn't able to hold the lead

A day after Rich Harden and Jarrod Washburn traded eight scoreless innings in Oakland's 1-0, 10-inning victory, starters
Kirk Saarloos and Lackey both got hit early. Saarloos allowed six hits and five runs.

Guerrero homered in the first, but the A's went up 4-3 in the second on a double in the left-center alley by Kendall, who was 3-for-17 on Oakland's six-game homestand before getting two hits in the first two innings Sunday.

Anderson homered into the short right field stands against Ricardo Rincon in the sixth, giving Los Angeles a 6-4 lead. But Eric Byrnes doubled and scored on Ellis' single later in the inning, and Scutaro hit Lackey's 101st pitch for his first homer of the season.

"It was a frustrating game," Lackey said. "I didn't pitch as bad as the numbers show. I threw three bad breaking balls. Our guys were scoring runs. I couldn't make any of our leads stick."

Oakland fans booed when manager Ken Macha removed Street and inserted Dotel with one out in the eighth, but the closer got two quick outs to strand Guerrero at first base.

Game notes
Angels catcher Bengie Molina strained his right quadriceps in the second inning. Scioscia doesn't expect him to play Monday against Seattle. ... After his early struggles, Saarloos faced the minimum 12 hitters during a four-inning stretch. ... Scutaro made an
exceptional defensive play in the fourth, sprinting to stop Steve Finley's grounder and making a long cross-body throw to beat him at first.