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04/24/05 12:58 AM ET

A's held down by strong Angels pen

Kielty hits a three-run homer in the fifth

ANAHEIM -- The A's pulled themselves out of the early three-run hole that Danny Haren put them in, but they couldn't pull out a victory.

Oakland batted around for five runs in the top of the fifth inning, but the host Angels answered right back by batting around for six runs in their half of the frame, sending Haren to a 9-5 loss and almost doubling his ERA.

Manager Ken Macha said such nights were to be expected from his young pitching staff, which has been mostly solid early while the offense has been mostly sputtering.

The roles were reversed Saturday.

"He was a bit inconsistent with his location," Macha said of Haren, who gave up seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks while his ERA jumped from 2.37 to 4.56. "You're gonna have that from our young guys, and we know that. There's gonna be rough outings, and this was one of them."

Haren, however, wasn't much for love and understanding.

"I'm more frustrated at myself because of the way the team fought back," he said. "I couldn't hold it, and that's what makes me angry."

That the Halos helped themselves to five stolen bases in five attempts was an issue, too.

"Generally speaking, Haren is a little slow [to the plate], and we went to the slide step almost exclusively," Macha said. "That may have had an effect."

Said Haren of the slide step, which can often lead to reduced velocity: "It wasn't really affecting me."

Angels slugger and noted free swinger Vladimir Guerrero was quite the issue, too. The reigning American League MVP went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. He's 5-for-8 in the first two games of this three-game set, and 28-for-84 (.333) with five homers and 18 RBIs in his career against Oakland.

"We've gotta make better pitches on him or he's gonna hurt us," Macha said. "He certainly did tonight."

"He's real tough," said Haren, who gave up all three of Guerrero's hits. "Two of those hits were balls off the plate. He swings hard, and it doesn't have to be a strike to hit it."

The Angels took an early lead on RBI singles from Darin Erstad and Chone Figgins in front of an RBI double by Guerrero in the third, but Oakland exploded on Halos righty starter Paul Byrd two innings later.

Scott Hatteberg's second double of the night got things going, and after a walk to Mark Ellis, Bobby Kielty, who brought a .063 batting average into the game, pumped a three-run homer into the right-field bleachers.

A switch-hitter, Kielty batted .172 with one home run against righties last season and spent much of his offseason trying to limit his movement when batting from the left side of the plate.

"I haven't hit a ball like that [left-handed] in three years," he said. "It feels good to feel like there's something finally right with my swing."

A one-out single by Marco Scutaro renewed the rally, Jason Kendall chipped in with a two-out RBI double, and Eric Chavez followed by snapping his MLB-worst 0-for-17 slide with runners in scoring position by dumping an RBI single into shallow center field to chase Byrd.

Oakland's lead lasted about two minutes; Haren gave up five hits in the bottom half of the inning before being lifted with two out, three runs in and runners at the corners. Righty Justin Duchscherer came on and gave up an RBI single to rookie Dallas McPherson. The final two runs scored when left fielder Charles Thomas dropped a fly ball at the wall off the bat of Josh Paul.

In the three of the four previous meetings between the teams this season, the average number of total runs scored was 3.5.

"Both sides broke out a little bit," Macha said. "One more than the other."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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