OAKLAND -- If the Angels were looking for proof positive they can make a late push for the postseason, they got it this week.
Los Angeles capped a three-game sweep of the A's -- its first over the NorCal rivals since October 2009 -- with Wednesday's 7-1 win with 15,404 in attendance.
"We knew we had to get all three," Angels winning pitcher Dan Haren (10-10) said of the series. "Our will to win these last three games has been different than it has all year. Going back home, this feels really good."
The Angels not only beat but dominated a team that had won nine straight and trailed only seven innings during the streak. Against Los Angeles, Oakland never led and got outscored 21-5 in the three games.
"It's just baseball," A's catcher Derek Norris said. "If you look at it optimistically, we went .500 on the homestand. We're still right in the mix. If losing three games is the worst thing that happens we'll be OK."
Haren set the tone with seven strikeouts in his six innings of work to lead Los Angeles to its 12th win in 15 games and ninth of 12 on the road.
Haren worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings, leaving the bases loaded once and stranding five in all. He pitched to the minimum in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings and retired the final seven batters he faced.
In winning for the first time in four starts on the road, the one-time Athletic allowed three hits and struck out seven while walking three with 98 pitches over six innings.
"Dan had probably one tough stretch in the game where he lost his release point," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I thought he finished stronger than he started and it's a really good outing for him."
Haren turned his gem over to the bullpen, which had posted a 1.84 earned-run average over the last 11 games and did its job once again despite a few tense moments in the seventh inning.
Rookie left-hander Nick Maronde replaced Angels reliever Garrett Richards and struck out Coco Crisp and Seth Smith after inheriting runners on first and third with one out and a two-run lead.
Maronde capped his hat trick by striking out Josh Reddick to start the eighth before getting pulled in favor of right-hander Kevin Jepsen, who extended the strikeout streak to five straight by fanning both Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter in the eighth. The 22-year-old Maronde has struck out all four batters he has faced after his first two big-league appearances.
The Angels broke a scoreless tie by scoring three runs in the third after two outs off of A's starter and loser Brandon McCarthy (8-6). Torri Hunter's single to right on a two-strike count pushed Alberto Callaspo across with the first run. Following a double by Albert Pujols and a walk to Kendrys Morales, Howie Kendrick singled to right to plate two more.
Pujols extended his hitting streak to 14 games with the extra-base hit.
The A's answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame, but they squandered a big inning despite hitting in the middle of the order. Seth Smith's single to right with one out scored Deren Norris and loaded the bases.
But Haren struck out third-hitting Josh Reddick and Cespedes hit into a force play one batter later to end the threat.
"A lot of times it's not allowing them to get that one big hit to allow them back into a game," Haren said. "I think the last week or so we've been able to make those quality pitches."
The Angels added insurance in the ninth with a four-run uprising. Hunter drove in a pair with a one-out single to center after a walk issued to pinch-hitting Maicer Izturis forced in the first run. Izturis scored on the back end of a double-steal with two outs.
McCarthy's day ended in the fourth inning when he was struck in the back of the head by a line drive off of the bat of Erick Aybar. McCarthy appeared to get struck below the right ear and he turned away from the liner. He fell hard to the ground in front of the mound where remained with training staff for several minutes before getting to his feet and walking off without assistance.
"That's just awful when something like that happens," Scioscia said. "We hope he's going to be all right."
The hard-luck right-hander didn't lose consciousness, but was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution. McCarthy has visited the disabled list twice this season and eight times during his career.
"The first thing he said to me when I got there was 'where did it hit me'," said Norris, who was first on the scene. "I thought that was a good sign."
NOTES: Pujols reached 40 doubles for the seventh time in his career. ... The A's streak of hitting at least one home run in each of the last 11 games (23 homers in all) was snapped. ... Angels rookie Mike Trout stole his 44th base of the season. ... A's catcher Derek Moss reached in all four plate appearances with a single and three walks. ... The Angels open a seven-game homestand on Friday following Thursday's day off. Ervin Santana (8-11) opposes Detroit's Max Scherzer (15-6) on Friday a day before Jered Weaver (16-4) is set to duel Justin Verlander (13-7) on Saturday. ... Oakland travels to Seattle for a three-game set before facing the Angels again Sept. 10-13 in Anaheim.