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A's capitalize on Derek Norris pinch-hit blast

  • Derek Norris, right, is congratulated by Chris Young after Norris hit a two-run home run off Angels reliever Scott Downs in the seventh inning on Sunday. (BEN MARGOT/Associated Press)

OAKLAND — Derek Norris asks for pinch hitting advice from Oakland hitting coach Chili Davis and other veterans who have played in the NL.

That assistance paid off on Saturday as Norris had a pinch-hit two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Athletics' 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

"It does take a little different mindset," Norris said after getting his first career pinch hit in 17 at-bats. "It's not an easy thing to do. Relievers are so good these days you want to be aggressive and look for something early in the count."

Jed Lowrie also drove in a run for the A's, who won their second straight and five of seven overall. Coco Crisp added two hits.

"That's just the way we play baseball," Norris said. "There's no one guy like a (Miguel) Cabrera or a Chris Davis. We have a group of guys who can put together things."

Tommy Milone (9-8) allowed four hits over seven innings, allowing one run. He walked four and struck out six.

"I felt good, minus the four walks," Milone said. "I'd like to think that's not the type of pitcher I am. Fortunately none of them scored. It was nice to get through."

Josh Hamilton hit a booming home run for the Angels, who lost their second straight and five of seven overall.

Grant Richards, making his first start since April 30, pitched five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out four.

"I was just going to go out there and try not to overthrow," Richards said. "Strike one was a big priority for me."

Ryan Cook pitched the eighth and Grant Balfour got the final three outs for his 28th save in 29 chances.

Richards, who came out of the bullpen in his past 26 appearances, gave up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start, also against the A's.

"It started off a little fuzzy, with him trying to find his release point," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Once he did, he pitched a strong game."

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