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ATL@LAA: Angels swipe five bases in the game

ANAHEIM -- Things were looking up for the Angels on Saturday night, carrying a four-run lead into the seventh inning against the Braves with Joel Pineiro going for his 100th career victory.

Then, they hit a wall.

Pineiro surrendered four runs in the seventh and the Angels couldn't get a hit after the fifth inning, suffering a 5-4 loss in 12 innings after a costly error by Alexi Amarista in front of 43,511 at Angel Stadium.

Alex Gonzalez got a single through the middle off reliever Trevor Bell, but the ball bounced off second baseman Amarista's leg for an error, allowing Gonzalez to advance to second base. Joe Mather then hit an RBI double to right field -- his fourth hit of the night -- plating Gonzalez and giving the Braves a one-run lead.

It marked the Angels' Major League-leading 11th extra-inning game of the season (seven at home), and manager Mike Scioscia used his entire seven-man bullpen.

"The Braves got it done. Their bullpen did a great job tonight," Scioscia said. "That is probably the bigger story tonight. It kept them in the game. We couldn't hold the lead and those guys outlasted us."

Halos relievers now lead the American League with 11 losses.

Coming into the game with a career .308 batting average and the sixth-most hits (253) during Interleague play, Bobby Abreu got the Angels on the board in the first with a two-run home run, just over the wall in right field.

Abreu belted his second dinger of the season on an 0-2 count off of Braves starter Tommy Hanson after Erick Aybar got hit by a pitch on his right foot.

With Hanson on the ropes and struggling with his command in the third inning, the Angels loaded the bases but were unable to bring a run home.

Hanson wasn't as lucky against Hunter in the fifth, when with runners on second and third and one out, the Angels' right fielder hit a single in the hole to left field, scoring Maicer Izturis, who led off the inning with a double, and Abreu, who was intentionally walked, for a 4-0 lead.

"They just put good at-bats together," said Hanson, who watched Los Angeles swipe five bases while he was on the mound. "I wasn't exactly as crisp as I would have liked to have been."

The Braves got a hit in each of the seven innings Pineiro started and tallied four leadoff hits, scoring their first runs of the night in his final frame.

Freddie Freeman and Gonzalez led off the frame with singles before Mather belted a three-run home run to left on a first-pitch slider, cutting the Angels' lead to 4-3. Martin Prado then belted a double down the left-field line, chasing Pineiro from the game.

"It seems like I left all the pitches up in that inning. It was a slider to Mather. It is just one of those days," Pineiro said. "I felt fine and good, I just made the mistakes and they made me pay for it.

"After scratching some runs against a tough pitcher like Hanson, you have to give credit to them. I had that good lead and then made mistakes in that inning."

Hisanori Takahashi gave up another double to Brian McCann, plating Prado and tying the game. In 6 1/3 innings, Pineiro gave up four runs on 11 hits while walking none and striking out two. The righty remains at 2-0 on the year, now with a 2.67 ERA.

While the Braves tallied 17 hits against Pineiro and the Angels bullpen -- a season high for Atlanta -- the Angels managed five hits against Hanson, who pitched six innings, and Atlanta's bullpen, which strung together six no-hit frames.

"Their bullpen was especially great against lefties and really threw hard," Abreu said. "They threw all pitches for strikes."

Both teams threatened in the ninth inning, yet neither was able to score a run.

Angels closer Jordan Walden gave up a lead-off walk to Prado, who tagged and went to second base on a disputed call off a ball hit by Jones to left field, yet after an intentional walk to McCann, Eric Hinske grounded into a double play to end the threat.

After Mark Trumbo led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, Amarista grounded into a double play on an attempted bunt. The ball dribbled in front of the plate and McCann fired to second base while Amarista stood in the batter's box as if it was bunted foul. Peter Bourjos grounded back to the pitcher to put the game into extra innings.

"When you make contact with a ball, your first step is running and let someone peel you back if it is foul," Scioscia said of Amarista's play. "It is a learning curve and hopefully Alexi will learn from that."

Putting the tying run on second in the 12th after Trumbo walked and Amarista sacrificed him over, Bourjos and Izturis grounded out to end the game.

"It doesn't feel like we have played that many extra-inning games, but it is a lot," Abreu said. "It doesn't matter though. You just want to win the game, and today they battled and made a comeback." Comments