OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Even though the Athletics were eliminated from the postseason race last week, manager Bob Melvin hopes his players learn from these late-season games against contending teams.
It's obvious Oakland still has a long way to go.
The A's hit into four double plays, stranded eight baserunners and failed to take advantage of seven walks by the Angels in a 6-3 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
``It's an opportunity in what's a tough season for us to be able to play in these type of scenarios against teams that are in it,' Melvin said. ``It's added incentive to go out there. We should be up for every game.'
That's a clear challenge for a team that is 14 games below .500 and fell 17 games behind division-leading Texas.
Conversely, the Angels snapped a two-game losing streak and remain three games behind the Rangers, who beat Cleveland earlier in the day. Los Angeles and Texas finish the regular season with a three-game series in Anaheim.
The loss ensures Oakland of finishing without a winning record for the fifth consecutive year.
``You still want to go out and win every single game,' said outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who went 0 for 3. ``We just can't go out there and not play. We've got to go out there and try to win every one just like we always do.'
Howie Kendrick homered twice, Erick Aybar scored the go-ahead run on a wild throw home in the seventh inning and Los Angeles picked up a needed and rare win at the Oakland Coliseum.
Maicer Izturis added two hits and an RBI and Aybar also had two hits for the Angels.
Josh Willingham doubled and drove in two runs for the A's, who had won five of six against their AL West rivals before Tuesday's loss.
The A's left the bases loaded in the fifth and stranded eight runners overall.
``We had way too many opportunities to blow that game open and we didn't come through with runners in scoring position,' Melvin said. ``Guys that normally come through for us didn't, and on top of that we hit into double plays. It was a rough night for us offensively.'
Aybar, batting .476 over his last six games, singled leading off the seventh and was sacrificed to second. Hank Conger's hit moved Aybar to third before Izturis hit a grounder off Fautino De Los Santos (2-2) to shortstop Cliff Pennington. Aybar broke for home on the play and made it safely when Pennington's throw was wide of the plate.
Hisanori Takahashi (4-3), the first of four Los Angeles relievers used in the game, pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win while rookie Jordan Walden worked the ninth for his 30th save.
The Angels combined for seven walks but matched their season high of four double plays to limit the damage and win for only the third time in their last 13 games at the Coliseum.
It was also Los Angeles' sixth victory on the road since Aug. 1.
Kendrick hit a two-run home run in the third off starter Guillermo Moscoso, then added another two-run blast in the ninth.
Neither starter was around for the decision.
Moscoso carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his previous start against Kansas City on Sept. 7 and retired the first six Angels before Aybar's double in the third.
Peter Bourjos followed with a foul pop-up near the Angels bullpen that first baseman Brandon Allen chased down. Aybar wisely tagged up at second and beat Allen's throw to third, then scored when the ball skipped past Oakland third baseman Scott Sizemore and Moscoso backing up on the play.
Izturis singled to keep the inning going, and Kendrick capped it with his 17th home run of the season to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.
``I was making good pitches and my command was pretty good,' said Moscoso, who struck out two and walked one. ``I was getting behind with the slider a little bit but one pitch I got behind on and it got hit into the stands.'
Angels' right-hander Jerome Williams had control problems in the bottom of the frame and nearly gave it all back.
A former first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants, Williams gave up an RBI double to Jemile Weeks and a bases-loaded walk to Josh Willingham - one of three free passes he issued in the inning.
Williams continued to struggle, giving up back-to-back walks in the fifth. Josh Willingham then doubled in front of diving right fielder Torii Hunter, scoring Cliff Pennington with the tying run.
Kendrick's second home run came off reliever Michael Wuertz. The Angels slugger, who has four multi-home run games in his career, has 18 homers this season.
Notes: Oakland CF Coco Crisp had an MRI on his sore right foot and manager Bob Melvin said he expects Crisp play again this season. ... RHP Rich Harden (4-2), who last beat Los Angeles more than a year ago, goes for Oakland on Wednesday. ... RHP Jered Weaver, second to Detroit's Justin Verlander for lowest ERA in the AL, pitches for the Angels. Weaver (16-7) has a three-game losing streak on the road. ... Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour threw out the first pitch.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved