Los Angeles

A’s Keep Pace In Wild-Card Race With 5-4 Win Over Angels

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cole Irvin pitched six solid innings to earn his first victory in four weeks, and the Oakland Athletics kept pace in the AL wild-card race with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Josh Harrison had two RBIs and Mark Canha scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the sixth for the A’s (80-67), who won their third straight and remained 2 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot. Oakland kept pace with the Yankees (83-65) and gained a game on Toronto (82-65), which lost to Minnesota and dropped a half-game behind New York for the second slot.

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Oakland committed three errors in the first two innings, stranded 10 runners in the first six innings and didn’t have an extra-base hit. The A’s still manufactured enough runs to win against a makeshift Angels pitching staff.

And Oakland’s defense finally came through late, courtesy of Starling Marte. The center fielder threw out Kean Wong for the final out of the eighth after the Angels’ pinch-runner foolishly tried to go from first to third on Luis Rengifo’s single. Marte also made a nice running catch on Brandon Marsh’s deep line drive for the second out of the ninth.

Irvin (10-13) yielded seven hits and struck out three, allowing just one earned run despite giving up his sixth homer in four starts.

Sergio Romo pitched the ninth for his third save, and first since Sept. 2.

Kurt Suzuki homered and David Fletcher had a two-run single for the Angels, who opened their final homestand of another disappointing season with their seventh loss in 11 games.

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Jhonathan Diaz didn’t get out of the second inning after becoming the 12th pitcher and fourth starter to make his major league debut this season for the Angels, who have used a franchise-record 63 players in 2021. The Venezuelan left-hander only made three appearances at Triple-A, going 0-3 for Salt Lake, before getting this unlikely promotion.

Diaz, who walked four A’s and hit a batter, was chased after giving up Harrison’s RBI single and Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly in the second.

But the Angels started a four-run rally in the second with Suzuki’s solo homer and extended it on errors by Harrison and Irvin.

Shortly after Oakland tied it on pinch-hitter Seth Brown’s RBI groundout in the sixth, Canha ran home when Suzuki couldn’t catch Jose Marte’s pitch to Matt Chapman.

Marte (0-1) issued the ninth walk in the first six innings by Los Angeles pitchers.

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