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OC Register: Tyler Skaggs puts Angels in a hole that leaves Mike Scioscia to try something new: a catcher on the mound

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ANAHEIM — Tyler Skaggs’ second straight rough outing was enough to prompt a first from Mike Scioscia.

After Skaggs allowed seven runs and the Angels hitters could do nothing to cut into the lead, Scioscia resorted to using catcher Francisco Arcia to pitch the ninth inning of the Angels’ 7-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Saturday night.

Scioscia had never used a position player to pitch in his 19 years as the Angels manager. He had always insisted he wasn’t philosophically against it, but the situation just hadn’t come up.

The Angels hadn’t used a position player to pitch — other than Shohei Ohtani, of course — since Chili Davis in 1993. It was the longest such streak in the majors.

Arcia, who had pitched in Triple-A this year, retired the side on eight pitches, topping out at 73 mph. He allowed just an infield hit.

He saved an inning of the work for the bullpen ahead of a bullpen game on Sunday and also provided a light-hearted finish to an otherwise disappointing end to the Angels’ four-game winning streak.

Skaggs, who has been the Angels’ best pitcher for much of the season, has endured a rough couple games.

On July 31 at Tampa Bay, he had the worst game of his career. A few days later, he said that he’d tweaked his left groin. He said it was probably the result of compensating from when he had trouble on the other side earlier in the summer. During a 33-pitch fourth inning when he got only one out against the Rays, he said he felt it tighten up.

At the time, he was confident he’d need the minimum 10 days on the DL, and he’d be back to pitch on Saturday night.

He was. But not for long.

Skaggs allowed three homers, including two to noted Angels killer Marcus Semien. Semien’s first was a three-run homer in the second that put the Angels in a 4-0 hole.

It was Semien’s first multi-homer game since he had one against the Angels last season. It was also his first homer this season in nearly two months, since he’d hit one against the Angels in June.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Semien has now hit 13 homers against the Angels, his most against any club.

That would be just about all for Skaggs, who was pulled with one out i the fourth. One of the runners he left came around to score, making this the third time in his career — and second time in two weeks — he’d allowed at least seven earned runs.

His short outing was even more troubling for the Angels because they are set to have a bullpen game on Sunday, as they try to replace injured Nick Tropeano in the rotation. They don’t have another off day until Aug. 20.

With that in mind, Scioscia saved an inning from his bullpen by using Arcia to pitch the ninth. It was the latest accomplishment for Arcia, who last month made history by collecting 10 RBIs in his first two big league games, all after 12 years in the minors.

While there was intrigue on the mound at both ends of the game for the Angels, in between the hitters didn’t do much to make the game interesting.

They had just three hits 7-1/3 innings against journeyman Edwin Jackson, who is now on his 13th team.

In the third inning, Eric Young Jr. drew a leadoff walk. Kole Calhoun then hit a drive to deep left center, but Ramón Laureano tracked it down and then made a 321-foot rainbow throw to first to double off Young.

More to come on this story.

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