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A’s rebound behind Hahn to beat Angels

The A’s bounced back from a devastating loss Friday night with a win Saturday afternoon.

Starter Jesse Hahn lasted 7-2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits to notch his fifth win of the season.

Angels starter Jared Weaver (L, 4.75 ERA, 4 ER, 6 H) allowed an RBI double to Stephen Vogt in the first inning. Marcus Semien came around to score, but Weaver settled down and kept things quiet until his team tied the score.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

Mike Trout came home on a single hit by shortstop Erick Aybar in the sixth, but the A’s quickly countered during the bottom half.

Three A’s batter doubled in that inning, outfielder Josh Reddick, third baseman Brett Lawrie and catcher Josh Phegley.

Utilityman Ben Zobrist was the first run of the inning, with Reddick and Lawrie scoring on their respective extra-base hits.

Hahn got himself into a couple of jams early on, but worked out of them, partly because of his expanded repertoire of pitches he’s been more comfortable with as of late.

“It is (a natural development) because you can’t get by with just a fastball. Good hitters will lock into that fastball eventually, so I needed to throw something else for a strike.”

Hahn induced some ground balls with his sinker, and with the help of mostly sound defense behind him, he was able to make it nearly eight innings. It’s the deepest he’s gone in a game since late May, when he tossed a complete game shutout against the Detroit Tigers.

Perhaps more impressive than any one facet of the game was Billy Burns and his continued hitting streak. Burns’ 11-game hitting streak isn’t marred by one element considered cheap or phony.

Burns now has 20 infield hits in a little more than 200 plate appearances, making nearly 10 percent of appearances “cheap.” While the infield hit isn’t glamorous or highlight worthy, it’s been wildly effective for Burns and the A’s. Burns has a .325 batting average as the result, and 15 stolen bases.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Burns has thrown his bat in the path of the ball on multiple occasions, looking for light contact and a large lead to first. But, as manager Bob Melvin has pointed out before, Burns has also some pop.

Burns has hit two home runs — though none in June — in 206 trips to the plate and is still a rookie. He’s in a good spot.

Melvin said:

“It’s tough to even describe how important he’s been for us. … With Coco (Crisp) out, that’s a guy we not only rely on to be our leadoff guy and hold down that position, a guy who got clutch hits for us, he stole bases for us.”

He continued:

“And Billy is doing all that. And now he’s getting big hits, he’s driving in runs. He’s driving a few balls and they’re not able to play him as cheap. But he always gets his infield hits and always takes the concentration of the pitcher when he’s on base.”

Burns’ stolen base mark leads all rookies, a deep class to be sure, and his 60 hits lead rookies in that category as well. Burns now has 19 multiple hit games, another category he leads rookies in, showing his performance to date isn’t as fluky as it may seem.

Vogt tied Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead in RBIs, and is making a strong case to be an all-star this season. That’s a sign of an excellent hitter, but there needs to be runners on base for the number to increase. Burns has been that guy more often than not. And he knows it.

Vogt said:

“I’ve been hitting behind a lot of guys who have been getting on base this year. And that’s always a testament whenever you have a decent amount of RBIs, that means the guys hitting in front of you are having great years. a lot of guys in this lineup are having great years.”

One of Burns’ two hits Saturday were of the infield variety, and his stolen base was hastily swiped. And his stock in the A’s clubhouse is rising quickly.

The A’s will take on Garrett Richards Sunday to close the series, with Scott Kazmir leading the charge.

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