OAKLAND -- Pinch-hitter Ben Revere placed a single just out of the reach of A's left fielder Matt Joyce, driving in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 10th inning to help the Angels pull off an 8-7 series-clinching victory at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Winners of seven of their last 10 contests, the Angels secured a half-game lead over the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot with their latest victory. The A's, meanwhile, have dropped a season-high eight consecutive games.
C.J. Cron did his part by homering and tripling in clutch situations, finishing with three hits and as many RBIs and reaching base four times. His two-run homer in the sixth inning off of A's reliever Liam Hendriks put the Angels on top, 6-5, and his run-scoring triple off lefty Daniel Coulombe allowed the Angels to regain another temporary lead in the eighth.
"Wins at this point in the year are really important, obviously," Cron said. "We were able to gain a game tonight, and we're going to come back tomorrow and try to sweep the series. It was a roller-coaster game, so games like that, there's a little bit more emotion."
Joyce's eighth-inning sacrifice fly knotted the game, before the Angels went on to capitalize in extra innings against A's reliever Blake Treinen a second straight day.
"Losing's tough to begin with, and when you lose after battling so hard to come back, it's a little bit tougher," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But you come out the next day and expect to win again."
Los Angeles starter Garrett Richards, who missed five months with an irritated nerve in his right biceps, gave them 3 1/3 innings in his first Major League start since April 5. Working on a limited pitch count, Richards totaled 52, allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
"It felt great just to get back out there and compete and be out there with my teammates and just grinding right there with them instead of sitting on the side and watching games go by," Richards said. "It just felt good to be back out there with them."
Angels reliever Blake Wood went to work, yielding three home runs with two outs in the fifth inning: Joyce launched his 22nd home run, before Jed Lowrie connected for a base hit and Khris Davis and Matt Olson went back-to-back for a short-lived 5-4 A's lead.
"When you hit three home runs and score as many runs as we did, you expect to win those games," Melvin said. "The problem is we can't hold the other team down. Are we reliant on the home run? Yeah. That's the way our team was built. But when you have offensive days like we did today, we should win those games."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Walk this way: The Angels worked A's starter Kendall Graveman for three walks in the third, forcing him to throw 40 pitches in a three-run inning that staked them to an early lead. Cron drew the first one to lead off the frame, scoring when Martin Maldonado and Brandon Phillips teamed up for back-to-back singles. With runners at second and third, Graveman issued free passes to each of his next two batters, Mike Trout and Justin Upton, to bring in another run, and Albert Pujols capped the inning with a sacrifice fly. Graveman allowed four runs in five innings.
"That inning piled up on me," Graveman said. "You ultimately want to limit the damage more than that, but it could have got really out of hand, so I guess to bear down and make pitches at the end was a small silver lining. You're trying to get six, seven innings, and I'm not doing that. It's something we're all working on, something we're all trying to pitch for."
What a relief: The A's threatened to end the game in the ninth inning, when Davis drew a four-pitch walk against Cam Bedrosian to put the leadoff man aboard. But Bedrosian buckled down and needed just two pitches to send the game to extras, retiring Olson on a popup and inducing an inning-ending double play ball from Chad Pinder. Oakland managed to load the bases with two outs in the 10th against right-hander Eduardo Paredes, who got Lowrie to fly out.
"A losing streak is never fun, but I think you see a resiliency, l think you see in the future we're going to look back at this time and say, 'This made us a better team. This made us a better unit.' As long as we continue to grow and learn, then we'll keep our heads down and keep moving." -- Graveman
"Luckily that ball just fell in front of Joyce. I thought he caught it. I kind of almost fainted, and then the third-base umpire said 'Safe,' and I was like, 'Oh thank you, Jesus!'" -- Revere, on delivering the game-winning hit in the 10th
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout walked in the third inning, drawing a free pass in his 13th consecutive game to match the Angels' all-time record set by Albie Pearson in 1961.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-4, 4.89 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels on Wednesday as they close out their three-game series with the A's at 12:35 p.m. PT at the Coliseum. In six starts since returning from an oblique injury, Skaggs is 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA.
A's: Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. PT finale will feature lefty Sean Manaea on the mound for the A's. Manaea is 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in five career starts against the Angels, including 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in three starting assignments this season.