ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning and the Oakland Athletics boosted their playoff chances, rallying past the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Oakland remained a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay for the first AL wild-card spot. Cleveland fell two games behind the A’s.
Ramon Laureano also homered and the A’s avoided their first three-game losing streak since July 24-26.
Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas was effective in his return after serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, giving up one run in six innings. He allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out six.
Joakim Soria (2-4) threw one inning of scoreless relief, and Liam Hendriks got his 24th save.
Chapman hit his 35th homer on the first pitch he saw from Hansel Robles (5-1). Marcus Semien started the comeback with a leadoff single, reaching second on a sacrifice bunt by Laureano to set up Chapman’s 436-foot shot to center. The A’s had been 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position before Chapman connected.
Kaleb Cowart had an RBI double and Taylor Ward hit a solo homer, but the Angels lost seven of their final eight games to the A’s.
Cowart gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Oakland had failed to go ahead in the top half of the seventh when Mark Canha hit into a double play with the bases loaded.
Laureano tied it at 1 in the fifth with a solo homer.
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the second on Ward’s first homer of the season and seventh of his career.
The A’s designated C Beau Taylor for assignment to create a roster spot for Montas. Taylor hit .174 with two RBIs in 10 games for Oakland.
Athletics: Canha left the game in the seventh because of a groin strain. . LF Khris Davis (stomach flu) did not play. . RF Stephen Piscotty (sprained ankle) took batting practice and ran the bases Wednesday. “He’s getting better every day,” Melvin said of Piscotty, who has not played since Aug. 24.
Angels: CF Mike Trout expects to participate in his normal offseason routine after undergoing surgery to remove a Morton’s neuroma from his right foot on Friday. Trout said he would likely need six weeks of recovery before being cleared for physical activity.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (3-0, 1.14 ERA) will start in the opener of a four-game series at Seattle on Thursday. Manaea has allowed three earned runs in 18 2/3 innings while winning each of his past three starts.
Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (4-10) 6.43) gets the nod to start a four-game series against Houston on Thursday. Barria is 1-3 with a 4.34 ERA in six career games against the Astros.