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Surging A's tighten race for home field

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A day after clinching their second consecutive American League West title, the Oakland A's showed no signs of a letdown Monday.

The A's began their warm-up for the postseason with a 10-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, getting home runs from Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss and moving within one game of the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the American League.

Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson and Coco Crisp each collected two of Oakland's 13 hits.

A's starter Tommy Milone (12-9) gave up five runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings to get the win. He struck out eight, the most for Milone since he fanned 10 Angels on May 1.

Letting up, Milone said, is not something the A's (94-63) are going to do.

"Just because we clinched yesterday, we're not done playing," Milone said. "We're going for more, home-field advantage, whatever it is, we're not going to stop playing."

Angels starter Garrett Richards (7-7) lost for the first time in five starts, giving up seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.

The Angels had only six hits, two of them from Howie Kendrick, who hit a solo homer and a three-run double.

The Angels (76-80) have played well lately, winning 21 of their past 29 games, and reaching .500 is a goal.

"We're going to try to win every game, and we'll add 'em up at the end," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's always nice when you can shoot for a goal and you can reach it, and definitely from where we were three weeks ago, four weeks ago, to where we are now, we've shown that character that's in that clubhouse. These guys are all playing hard.

"(But) if we do get to .500, I don't think we can let it mask any of the things that we need to look at and change."

The A's took a 2-0 lead against Richards in the second inning on an RBI double by Seth Smith and an RBI single by Stephen Vogt. The Angels got a run back in their half of the second on Kendrick's solo home run, his first homer since July 6.

Oakland, though, answered in the top of the third in a big way. After Crisp and Donaldson opened the inning with singles, Lowrie hit a three-run homer, his 15th of the season, to put the A's up 5-1.

The Angels responded again in their half of the third inning. They loaded the bases with one out. Milone struck out Trout, but Kendrick followed with a three-run double to narrow Oakland's lead to 5-4.

"Mixing everything," Milone said when asked about striking out Trout three times in the game. "We went over the scouting report before the game, and the main thing was just keep the ball low. I was able to do that, especially to him."

Moss added a two-run homer off Richards in the fifth.

NOTES: A's LF Yoenis Cespedes tested his sore right shoulder by throwing in the outfield before the game. Cespedes, who had a cortisone shot in the shoulder last week, was limited to DH duty in recent games, and he didn't play Monday. The A's will try to get Cespedes some games in left field this week in preparation for the playoffs. ... A's 1B Daric Barton is hitting .319 (23-for-72) with two homers and 10 RBIs since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 26. ... Angels RHP Jered Weaver threw a bullpen session to test his right forearm. He missed his last scheduled start Friday because of a tight forearm, but if he comes out of Monday's session OK, he'll make his final start of the season Wednesday against the A's. ... Angels 2B Grant Green worked out at third base recently in anticipation of competing for the starting job next spring. Green played mostly shortstop in college and the minor leagues.
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