Hamilton homers, drives in 3 in Angels’ 5-4 win

Josh Hamilton has had a good final month to the season. He hopes

it spills over into next year.

Hamilton hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning then put

the Angels ahead with a sacrifice fly in the 11th, leading Los

Angeles over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Wednesday.

”I feel like I am having good at-bats even if the results

aren’t always there,” Hamilton said. ”If I can build off this

last month of quality at-bats, it would be good.”

Hamilton connected against Grant Balfour, who blew his third

save of the season. Jesse Chavez (2-4) was the loser.

Mike Trout connected for a two-run home run for the Angels, who

won for the fourth time in five games.

”No matter how long you’ve been playing, you’re going to have

confidence issues,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Hamilton.

”We’re seeing it all come together the last month. He’s a terrific

player who has struggled at times earlier in the season.”

Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes each hit two-run home runs for

the A’s, who lost for the third time in 12 games. But they have a

six-game lead over Texas in the AL West. The Rangers play at Tampa

Bay.

Juan Gutierrez (1-4) pitched the 10th for the win. Ernesto

Frieri worked the 11th for his 35th save in 39 chances.

A’s starter A.J. Griffin gave up Trout’s homer with one out in

the first. He retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced.

”He’s good at baseball,” Griffin said of Trout. ”I was trying

to get him to miss hit, but he got it.”

Griffin allowed two runs on one hit. He walked two and struck

out six.

”I’m able to repeat my delivery more often,” Griffin said. ”I

can get the ball and let it fly.”

Angels starter Jason Vargas allowed four runs on seven hits over

six innings. He walked two and struck out five.

”I felt good most of the day,” Vargas said. ”I left a

changeup and fastball up to some guys who have hit a few long

balls.”

J.B. Shuck doubled leading off the 11th against Chavez. Josh

Donaldson mishandled Erick Aybar’s sacrifice bunt for an error,

putting runners on first and third. After Trout flew out, Hamilton

followed with a towering drive to the warning track in left field

against Jerry Blevins that put the Angels ahead 5-4.

”I wasn’t trying to do too much except get it to the

outfield,” Hamilton said.

Following Jed Lowrie’s single leading off the fifth, the A’s

were held to one hit the rest of the way.

Griffin, who gave up his major league-leading 35th homer, faced

three over the minimum. He walked leadoff hitter Shuck and got

Aybar to fly out to center ahead of Trout’s 26th home run. The only

other baserunner was Mark Trumbo, who walked with two outs in the

fourth.

Vargas hit Donaldson, who delivered the winning hit Tuesday

night, sparking a warning to both teams from home plate umpire

Jerry Meals.

Donaldson waved it off.

”Trout got hit pretty good last night,” he said. ”He might

not have been throwing at me. Watching tape it looks like he comes

inside to set up other pitches.”

Josh Reddick led off the third with a single. One out later,

Crisp tied the score with a drive over the left field wall.

Donaldson flew out but Lowrie followed with a single ahead of

Cespedes’ 24th home run.

NOTES: Trout homered in all three games of the series, the first

time he’s hit a homer in three straight. … INF Grant Green

started at 2B as the Angels look for ways to get him experience

around the infield. He’s likely to get time at third, but not this

season. … Angels INF Howie Kendrick was given a scheduled day

off. … The Angels are 7-0-1 in their last eight series. … RHP

Jered Weaver (10-8, 3.36) will make the start for the Angels in

Seattle on Friday. He’s 13-8 in 27 games against the Mariners. …

RHP Dan Straily (10-7, 4.11) starts for the A’s when they open a

series against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night. He’s won his

last four starts. … Crews were still cleaning up the mess left by

Tuesday night’s sewage problem in the A’s dugout. … A’s owner Lew

Wolff talked to the media beforehand about the playoff situation

and extra seating available with the third level tarp being

removed.