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OAK@LAA: Wells wallops solo shot to deep left-center

ANAHEIM -- Considered the team's weakest link coming into the season, the Angels' bullpen showed why Tuesday night.

After a solid 6 2/3 innings from Dan Haren, the bullpen gave up four runs in the eighth, and the team lost, 5-3, to the A's on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium in front of 41,016.

Reliever Kevin Jepsen couldn't hold a 2-1 lead, giving up two straight walks with one out, before Coco Crisp hit a sharp RBI single to center and tied the score at 2. Josh Reddick then got his third hit of the night, a ground-rule double into the left-field stands that gave the A's a 3-2 lead.

"He had good action on his ball, he just couldn't get it into the zone," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just lost his release point a little bit, and when he got it back, he couldn't put them away."

A single by Yoenis Cespedes with reliever David Carpenter on the hill then plated Crisp and Reddick to give the A's a 5-2 lead. Both runs were charged to Jepsen.

"Someone has to be a part of that back-end pyramid," Scioscia said. "We can't just have Scott Downs being the lone solider going to [Jordan] Walden again. We need some guys to get into that pyramid. Kevin has the stuff to do it but just didn't get it done tonight. We need that consistency that can grow that depth."

The Angels' bullpen is now 0-3, and after the eighth, its ERA is a staggering 5.90 with 32 hits and 10 walks allowed in 29 innings.

With the loss, the Angels fall to fourth place in the American League West at 4-7, five games back of the division-leading Rangers.

After the game, Jepsen continued to be frustrated with how much his ball was sinking out of the zone.

"It was a tough thing to do," Jepsen said. "I was watching the pitches, and they had good action. It is very frustrating. I've had some good outings and then a few bad ones, two of which have cost us the game.

"I want to be that guy at the back of the bullpen. I know that I can be that guy."

The Halos took a 2-1 lead in the sixth after a seeing-eye RBI single to left field by Torii Hunter plated Kendrys Morales from second. Morales got on with a two-out single, before a wild pitch by A's starter Tyson Ross put Morales in scoring position.

And even though the Angels got seven hits off Ross, he was able to limit the damage in six innings, throwing 91 pitches, 61 of which were strikes.

"I thought he was terrific," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's the best I've seen him throw -- in a game, I don't want to say we have to win, but we've been struggling some and really needed to win a game. And for him to go out there and give us six innings in that fashion against that lineup is terrific."

Just like Ross, Haren cruised through the first four innings of Tuesday's contest, allowing only a single and double to Reddick.

It was a welcome sight for Haren, who came into the game with an 0-1 record and 6.97 ERA after allowing 20 hits in just 10 1/3 innings in his first two starts.

"Dan attacked the zone," Scioscia said. "His ball was up a bit, but he got back into counts well. His split was working early, but not as much late."

The right-hander gave up the first run of the game in the fifth, when Daric Barton hit a towering home run to right field. And had it not been for the stellar glove work of Peter Bourjos, who robbed Josh Donaldson of a home run to center field, it would have been back-to-back home runs for the A's.

Bourjos helped tie the score in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI groundout. Vernon Wells and Alberto Callaspo hit back-to-back singles and moved up on Chris Iannetta's groundout before Bourjos grounded out to shortstop, plating Wells.

Haren was knocked out in the seventh after a single by Cespedes and a bunt hit by Kurt Suzuki put runners at first and second with two outs. Downs came in to get the third out, ringing up Barton on a called strike to end the threat.

"For Danny, it was a terrific start that got us to a point in the game that we needed to. We just couldn't get those last outs," Scioscia said. "He was holding up, but we just didn't think it would be the right time to stretch him."

In all, Haren gave up one run on five hits for the no-decision. In complete command of the strike zone, he threw 85 pitches, 63 for strikes.

"Everyone is kind of struggling in the bullpen," Haren said. "As the season goes on, roles are defined, and it is still really early. With that being said though, we need to be playing better. We can't continue losing games and giving up ground. We are going to have to play better. That is the bottom line." Comments