Angels rally past A's in 9th for their 6th straight win, 5-4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Pinch-hitter David Murphy drove a bases-loaded single into left field to end it, and the Los Angeles Angels kept the pressure on in the AL wild-card race with their sixth consecutive victory, 5-4 over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Albert Pujols tied it with his 558th career homer in the sixth inning for the Angels, who have won nine of 11 during their majors-best 17-8 performance in September

Johnny Giavotella and Erick Aybar had early run-scoring doubles as the Angels (82-74) remained a half-game behind the Houston Astros (83-74), who won at Seattle, and one game ahead of the Minnesota Twins (81-75), who beat Cleveland.

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Los Angeles also closed within just two games of the AL West-leading Rangers (84-72), who lost to Detroit. The Angels finish the season with four games at Texas.

Edward Mujica (3-5) retired the heart of Los Angeles' order in the eighth, but gave up a leadoff single in the ninth to C.J. Cron, who had three hits. Mujica then fielded David Freese's squib grounder in front of the plate and threw wild to first, allowing pinch-runner Collin Cowgill to advance to third.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Murphy's sharp single off Fernando Abad set off another wild celebration for the Angels, whose postseason push is gathering momentum.

Trevor Gott (4-2) recorded the final four outs for the Angels' depleted bullpen, which is missing closer Huston Street and eighth-inning specialist Joe Smith due to injuries.

Marcus Semien homered for the A's, who have lost three straight and eight of nine while guaranteeing their last-place finish in the AL.

The Angels have won 16 of 22 against their California rivals, but the Oakland didn't go quietly in the series opener.

The Angels hoped for a long start from Hector Santiago after taxing their bullpen in recent days, but the All-Star left-hander didn't quite deliver despite yielding only three hits and two walks.

Santiago needed 24 pitches to escape the first inning with just one run allowed, and he was chased in the sixth after Jake Smolinski's tying sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Coco Crisp then drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop single.

Pujols evened it moments later with his 38th homer, his best total during the $240 million slugger's four-year tenure with the Angels.

Felix Doubront yielded five hits, four walks and four runs in six innings for the A's. Giavotella and Aybar connected for back-to-back RBI doubles in the third.


Athletics: Sonny Gray won't pitch again this season due to hip soreness. Barry Zito will start Wednesday instead.

Angels: Smith thinks he can return from a sprained ankle this week. The Angels need their eighth-inning specialist with Street sidelined by a groin injury.


Athletics: Chris Bassitt (1-7, 3.07 ERA) has received more than one run of support just three times in his 11 starts.

Angels: Nick Tropeano (2-2, 4.35 ERA) is unbeaten in three September starts while filling in for injured Matt Shoemaker.