OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chris Carter hit a two-run homer to cap a five-run eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics overcame a shaky outing by rookie Dan Straily to beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-8 Wednesday.
George Kottaras also homered and Yoenis Cespedes added a two-run single for the A’s, who won the final two games of the series against their division rivals after losing the opener.
Oakland, which began the day a game behind Detroit in the AL wild card race, improved to 17-8 since the All-Star break.
Kendrys Morales hit two of the Angels’ five home runs. Four of them came off Straily, the A’s right-hander who was making only his second career start.
Zack Greinke walked five in five innings, remaining winless since his trade from Milwaukee to the Angels.
Pat Neshek (1-0) recorded one out in the sixth for his first win with the A’s. Ryan Cook, the sixth Oakland pitcher, gave up two runs in the ninth before locking down his 12th save.
The A’s beat the Angels for the seventh time this season and kept pace with first-place Texas in the AL West despite the rocky outing from Straily and blowing a 4-1 lead.
They did it by getting production throughout the lineup: Eight Oakland starters had at least one hit and six drove in runs.
The A’s needed every bit of it after falling behind 5-4.
Coco Crisp started the comeback with a game-tying RBI double in the sixth before Cespedes lined a single to right to drive in Crisp and Josh Reddick. Carter followed with his two-run home run to give the A’s a 9-5 lead.
All the damage in the sixth came off Los Angeles reliever LaTroy Hawkins (2-3).
Oakland’s sixth-inning outburst prevented Greinke from getting his first win since being acquired July 27. Greinke’s season-high five walks all came in the second inning when the A’s batted around and scored four runs.
Straily wasn’t much better.
The rookie right-hander, who led all of baseball in strikeouts when he was called up from the minors Aug. 3, labored throughout and pitched with runners on base in every inning after striking out the side in the first. He was knocked out of the game after giving up Morales’ two-run homer in the fifth.
Morales also homered in the second. It’s the third multi-homer game this season for Morales and the ninth of his career.
Chris Iannetta, Torii Hunter and Mark Trumbo all homered for the Angels. Trumbo’s home run, a solo shot in the seventh, is his 29th this season.
Los Angeles nearly rallied in the ninth.
Howie Kendrick hit a two-run single off Cook and stole second with two outs before Erick Aybar grounded out to end it.
The teams played the final three innings with only three umpires.
Home plate umpire Bill Miller left the game in bottom of the sixth for unknown reasons. Miller had just signaled Moss out on a called third strike when he abruptly turned and left the field.
That came five innings after Miller was hit in the facemask by a pitch from Greinke. The pitch sailed over the glove of Iannetta and hit the umpire squarely in the facemask. Miller stayed in the game but eventually left.
Second base umpire Dan Iassonga replaced Miller behind the plate.
Kottaras hit a two-run home run off Greinke in the second.
Notes: The five home runs tie a season high for the Angels. … Straily had five strikeouts and one walk in 4 2-3 innings. … Oakland RHP Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) ran in the outfield before the game and is scheduled to come off the disabled list to start the series opener in Chicago on Friday. McCarthy (6-3) has been on the DL since June 24. … A’s RHP A.J. Griffin (strained right shoulder) has not thrown since going on the DL on Aug. 5. … RHP Erwin Santana (5-10) will pitch for the Angels when they begin a 10-game homestand against Seattle on Friday.