ANAHEIM -- The Angels capitalized on sloppy defense from the A's by scoring six unanswered runs and rallying for an 8-6 win in Friday night's series opener at Angel Stadium. The comeback victory extended the Halos' win streak to four games and allowed them to climb back to .500 for the first time since July 2 with a 55-55 mark.
The A's took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Angels halved the deficit on Cliff Pennington's two-run single and then added four runs in the seventh. Luis Valbuena tied the game with a pinch-hit, two-run single, and Ben Revere scored the go-ahead run after Matt Chapman bobbled a slow roller off the bat of Yunel Escobar, which was ruled an infield hit.
It was the second defensive miscue of the night for Chapman, who launched a three-run homer in the second but then made an error in the bottom half of the inning that led to a run for the Angels. Jaycob Brugman also committed a gaffe in the same inning after allowing a ball to roll past him in center field. The A's have now lost seven straight games at Angel Stadium.
"It's just the way things worked out for us today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It just seems like everything that could go wrong did."
The Angels, who have now scored at least five runs in seven straight games, pulled within two games of the Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot. The Rays and the Mariners are also currently ahead of the Halos in the standings.
"We always talked about just keep it within the minimum, and one of these times we're going to snap through it and go on a winning streak or hitting streak like no other," Revere said. "I've seen teams do it before. Hopefully it's our time to do it, because we're right there in the Wild Card and the last two months, we can get something rolling."
Angels rookie Troy Scribner took a no-decision in his first Major League start after surrendering five runs (two earned) on two hits while walking four and striking out three over four-plus innings. The 26-year-old right-hander, who took Jesse Chavez's spot in the Halos' rotation, pitched into the fifth, but he was lifted after issuing back-to-back walks to start the inning. Scribner did have a light-hearted moment before exiting, as he took a spill on the mound after throwing a curveball to Matt Joyce.
"That was embarrassing," Scribner said. "I guess I just missed my landing point. I kind of watched it back on video, and it looked like my cleat didn't catch where it usually does. It kind of slid my foot another four inches, and then I just fell off balance and ate it."
Right-hander Jharel Cotton yielded four runs (three earned) on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five-plus innings for the A's. Most of that damage for Cotton came in the second, when the Angels were able to rack up three hits and put up two runs.
"He hit a bad stretch and he found his way through it," Melvin said. "Which I think is big for him. When he's gotten into those situations recently he hasn't been able to limit the damage and get back out of it. He seemed to find his way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cliff lifts Angels: The Angels began their rally in the sixth after Andrelton Simmons walked and Revere singled to put a pair of runners on base against Cotton. Both came around to score after Pennington delivered a two-out, two-run single to center field off reliever Liam Hendriks, cutting the A's lead to 6-4.
Valbuena ties it: Left-hander Daniel Coulombe quickly fell into a jam in the seventh, issuing three consecutive walks to Kole Calhoun, Simmons and Revere to load the bases for the Angels with no outs. Coulombe was subsequently removed and replaced by Blake Treinen, who struck out C.J. Cron for the first out but then surrendered a two-run, pinch-hit single to Valbuena, tying the game at 6.
"That's a big hit for us at the time," manager Mike Scioscia said. "For Luis, it's great to come off the bench. It's not one of the easier things to do in our game, but he got a pitch, he hit it hard and tied the game for us."
Escobar's infield single then knocked in Revere to give the Angels the lead, and Mike Trout added an insurance run with his third hit of the night, an RBI single that made it 8-6.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Albert Pujols grounded into his 351st career double play in the first, breaking a tie with Cal Ripken Jr. and giving him sole possession of the Major League record.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: Rookie Paul Blackburn will aim to ride the success of his debut month, when he allowed only 13 earned runs over six starts (38 1/3 innings) in July. The righty is 2-1 on the year with a 3.05 ERA. First pitch is slated for 6:07 p.m. PT Saturday at Angel Stadium.
Angels: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-1, 3.99 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday as the Angels and A's continue their three-game series. Skaggs missed three months while recovering from an oblique strain and will be making his first Major League start since April 28.