ANAHEIM, Calif. – Pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui tied the game with an RBI single off Justin James, and the Oakland rookie forced in two more runs by hitting one batter with the bases loaded and walking another, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Athletics 6-5 on Monday night.
James loaded the bases by walking Maicer Izturis, then grazed Erick Aybar with a pitch to force in the go-ahead run and walked pinch-hitter Hank Conger to bring in another and give the Angels a 6-4 lead.
The A's got one back in the eighth when Jack Cust singled with two outs against Jordan Walden and nine-time Gold Glove outfielder Torii Hunter lost Kurt Suzuki's liner in the lights for a triple. But Fernando Rodney got three outs for his 13th save in 19 chances.
The Athletics loaded the bases for the third time in the game after Michael Kohn (2-0) took over for starter Ervin Santana in the seventh. But the rookie retired No.9 hitter Cliff Pennington on a fly ball to right that was too shallow for Suzuki to score on, and Rajai Davis struck out. Pennington is 2 for 16 in bases-loaded situations this season.
The Angels erased a 3-0 deficit with three runs in the second, including RBI singles by Izturis and Howie Kendrick. Izturis' hit came in his first plate appearance since Aug. 19, after he missed 33 games because of inflammation in his right shoulder.
Cust regained the lead for Oakland with a run-scoring single in the fourth against Santana, who was charged with four runs and 10 hits over six innings with six strikeouts and three walks. The right-hander was 9-2 in his previous 12 starts and came in 12-3 lifetime against Oakland.
Suzuki gave Oakland the lead in the first with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Jeremy Hermida led off the second with his first home run in an Oakland uniform, a drive that cleared the 18-foot wall in right field. The A's loaded the bases again later that inning before Mark Ellis drove in Oakland's third run with an RBI single.
Anderson was charged with four runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Any combination of Oakland victories and Angels losses will clinch second place for the Athletics in the AL West. They need to win four of their final six games to give manager Bob Geren his first winning record in four seasons as their manager.
The A's haven't had four straight losing seasons since a six-year stretch from 1993 through 1998. The Angels, who won division titles in each of the previous three seasons before their reign was ended by the Texas Rangers, need to go 5-1 the rest of the way just to finish at .500.
NOTES: Andrew Gallo was convicted Monday on three counts of second-degree murder for driving drunk in the car crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two friends in April 2009. "I don't really want to reflect on it too much. I think that's something for the families to talk about and share their feelings about," pitcher Jered Weaver said. "Obviously, they're in a tougher situation than we are. I mean, he was our teammate and our friend, but Nick's family was the closest thing to him." ... Oakland broadcaster Ray Fosse, who played for the A's from 1973-75, began his broadcasting career with them alongside the late Bill King, who doubled as play-by-play announcer for the Raiders. Fosse felt a kinship with former Raiders Hall of Fame quarterback and placekicker George Blanda, who died Monday at age 83. "Bill would talk about George Blanda all the time, and about the miracles he would perform to win games and the way he finished games. He was the miracle worker."