EditorsNote: adds to seventh and last paragraphs
Matt Chapman’s two-run homer in the ninth inning rescued the Oakland A’s from a potential devastating loss and instead lifted them to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Trailing 2-1 going into the ninth, the A’s got a leadoff single from Marcus Semien, who was sacrificed to second by Ramon Laureano. Chapman then hit the first pitch he saw from Angels closer Hansel Robles (5-1) over the fence in center field to help Oakland avoid a third consecutive loss.
A loss also would have dropped the A’s behind Tampa Bay for the top American League wild-card spot, but instead Oakland (95-63) maintained a half-game lead over the Rays (95-64). Cleveland (93-65) is two games behind Oakland and 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay.
Before Chapman’s big hit, the Angels’ bullpen escaped A’s scoring threats in the seventh and eighth innings. Oakland loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Angels reliever Noe Ramirez got Matt Canha to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Ty Buttrey gave up a leadoff double to Chad Pinder in the eighth but retired the next three batters to escape.
Robles, however, wasn’t so fortunate, getting tagged with his fourth blown save of the season. Oakland was just 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position before Chapman’s homer, his 35th of the season.
Joakim Soria (2-4) tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth for Oakland and earned his 24th save.
The Angels (71-87) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Taylor Ward hit an 87 mph slider on a 1-1 pitch from Oakland starter Frankie Montas over the fence in center field for his first homer of the season.
Oakland got even in the fifth inning when Laureano homered with one out, tying the game at 1-1, his 23rd of the season.
The Angels took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on an RBI double by Kaleb Cowart.
Neither starter factored in the decision, but both pitched well. Montas was making his first start since June 20 after being suspended for 80 games for violating the major league drug policy for PED use. He gave up one run and four hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run and six hits, striking out seven and walking two.
—Field Level Media