Aybar’s solo homer in 10th lifts Angels

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—If it took the Angels’ smallest starter to get the offense going again, Los Angeles will take it.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Erick Aybar(notes) homered to lead off the 10th inning, Torii Hunter(notes) and Bobby Abreu(notes) also went deep and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Friday night to end a five-game road losing streak.

“He’s got some pop in that little body of his,” Hunter said of Aybar. “We call him `Little Fella.”’

Aybar’s drive off A’s closer Andrew Bailey(notes) (0-3) sailed over the scoreboard in right-center. The Angels had taken the lead on Hunter’s two-run homer with two outs in the eighth but it didn’t last long.

In the bottom of the inning, Kurt Suzuki(notes) hit an RBI single then moved to third on Kevin Kouzmanoff’s(notes) double. Left fielder Juan Rivera(notes) botched the play for an error that scored Suzuki for the tying run.

That spoiled Joel Pineiro’s(notes) chance at a seventh straight winning start. He still hasn’t lost since May 21 against St. Louis and finishes the first half with nine wins.

“Once you leave the game, you just know you did your job and gave the team a chance to win,” he said.

Kevin Jepsen(notes) (1-1) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for the victory and Brian Fuentes(notes) finished for his 16th save in 20 chances.

Abreu had a two-run homer in the first and two singles, and Hideki Matsui(notes) added a sacrifice fly for the Angels, whose losses away from home all had come in Chicago. They were just swept in a four-game series by the White Sox and lost to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 20.

Manager Mike Scioscia talked to his team after Thursday’s 1-0 loss and Hunter challenged the Angels to be better as well.

“Sometimes it seems we don’t even know how to play the game,” Hunter said Friday. “The last four or five days it looks like we’ve never played the game before.”

Jack Cust(notes) homered for the A’s, who lost their fourth straight after being swept by the Yankees earlier in the week. Oakland (41-46) will go into the All-Star break with a losing record for the second straight season.

Abreu’s ninth homer of the year came in the first to put the Angels ahead. He singled in the sixth and eighth—a positive sign considering he entered the game in a 1-for-24 funk. Scioscia gave him a mental break Thursday.

“It helped freshen me up, calm me down,” Abreu said. “I was trying to do too much, forcing things. I hope after today to just keep it going.”

Oakland tied it in the third, getting a run-scoring double from Gabe Gross(notes) and Coco Crisp’s(notes) RBI groundout two batters later. Cust homered in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 3. That snapped Cust’s 22-game homerless streak.

“Everybody hits more home runs than us,” Cust said. “We’re going to play a lot of games like that probably.”

Pineiro is two victories shy of his career-best eight-game winning streak. He failed to receive a decision for just the third time all season and first since May 26.

He has gone six or more innings in nine straight outings and 16 of 18.

A’s starter Vin Mazzaro(notes), who had won his last two starts, left after seven innings with the game tied.

He beat the Angels 10-1 here on June 8, but couldn’t get a decision this time despite a strong outing. Mazzaro allowed three runs and four hits, struck out five and walked three.

Mazzaro retired 13 batters in order before Howie Kendrick(notes) drew a leadoff walk to start the sixth. Abreu followed with a single and Hunter walked to load the bases. Rivera later grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Crisp has either scored or driven in a run in 15 of his 16 games this season, his first with Oakland that was slowed by two stints on the disabled list.

Notes: Kendrick had his 10-game road hitting streak end. … Angels INF Maicer Izturis(notes), who has been on the DL since June 16 with a strained left forearm, hit off a tee and played some soft toss. Manager Mike Scioscia said he was still “days away” from taking live batting practice but that he would work out during the All-Star break. “So far there have been no setbacks, but it’s a process,” the skipper said. … Oakland LHP Dallas Braden(notes), who pitched a perfect game May 9 but has since gone on the DL with left elbow stiffness, played catch from 140 feet without problems. He will push it more Saturday with a side session on flat ground. “Tomorrow will be a day to kind of find out where he is,” manager Bob Geren said. … A’s LHP Brett Anderson(notes) allowed one run and four hits in two innings in an Arizona Rookie League game as he rehabilitates from left elbow inflammation that landed him on the DL for a second time June 4. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. … Oakland’s Ryan Sweeney(notes) has a career-high 52-game homereless streak.

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