OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ With California in danger of blowing a six-run lead, reliever Shawn Boskie came on to restore order.
Boskie worked four scoreless innings and the Angels withstood Mark McGwire’s grand slam to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-4 Wednesday night.
``I was just aggressive with my fastball,″ said the victorious Boskie (2-0). ``I have to be that way with everybody. That aggressive fastball will get some outs.″
California got two-run homers from Rex Hudler and J.T. Snow, and Jim Edmonds added a solo shot as the Angels won consecutive road games for the first time this season. Edmonds also made a leaping catch against the center field wall in the eighth inning to rob Geronimo Berroa of at least extra bases.
Oakland’s Jason Giambi went 0-for-3 with a walk, snapping his major league-high 19-game hitting streak.
Phil Leftwich, recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Vancouver to make his first major league start since August 1994, retired the first nine batters he faced before running into trouble in the fourth. Infield singles by Allen Battle and Berroa and a walk to Giambi loaded the bases.
McGwire then drove an 0-1 pitch over the center field wall for his third homer of the season and seventh career slam.
After Terry Steinbach followed with a single, Leftwich was lifted for Boskie (2-0), who got Phil Plantier to hit into a double play and then fanned Scott Brosius to end the inning.
``That was big right there to stop that,″ said Angels manager Marcel Lachemann said. ``Mike James and Troy Percival did a great job, but if Boskie doesn’t do his work right there, that means nothing.″
A starter most of his career, Boskie has been used mostly in relief this season, and he said he doesn’t view going to the bullpen as a demotion.
``The thing that makes it easy to swallow is I’ve done well as a reliever,″ he said.
James worked the eighth and Percival got the last three outs for his ninth save.
``McGwire gave us some momentum, but Boskie and Percival shut us down,″ Oakland manager Art Howe said.
The Angels built a 6-0 lead off Todd Van Poppel (0-3), who lasted just two innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits, including the three home runs, and his ERA swelled to 10.00.
``I made a lot of mistakes. They basically jumped on every mistake I made,″ Van Poppel said.
Hudler said Van Poppel was pitching well, but the Angels found a way to hit against him.
``He had a good crisp fastball and a sharp curve,″ Hudler said. ``Fortunately we got to him early and we were able to hang on at the end. It was a great outing for our relievers, and that’s what we really needed.″
Hudler opened the game with a double, took third on Edmonds’ single and scored on Tim Salmon’s fielder’s choice. After Chili Davis flied out, Snow hit a two-run shot over the right field wall for a 3-0 lead.
George Arias doubled to start the second. After Van Poppel retired the next two batters, Hudler was knocked down by a brushback pitch. Hudler hit the next pitch out for his third homer of the season and Edmonds followed with a solo shot.
Notes: Leftwich replaced pitcher Scott Sanderson on the roster. Sanderson was put on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 25 with a strained right groin. ... Battle had two stolen bases and has nine steals in his last 14 games after failing to swipe a base in his first nine. ... With his seventh career grand slam, McGwire tied Sal Bando for the Oakland club record. ... California has scored at least four runs in 13 of its last 18 games. ... Snow snapped a 25-game homerless string when he connected for his first of the season off Van Poppel. That was seven more games than his longest stretch without a homer last season.