OAKLAND (AP) — More luggage than usual piled up outside the Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday as the playoff-hopeful Athletics prepared for an uncertain road trip with no set return date.
Best-case scenario they would return home for a wild card game Tuesday. The A’s might have to head to Kansas City for the one-game playoff, then perhaps on to the AL division series if all goes well.
First, it’s an important four-game, season-ending series in Texas, where the A’s hope to find themselves after a 5-4 loss to the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels that concluded the home schedule on puzzling low note.
“We know who we are. We’ve all been here long enough,” right fielder Josh Reddick said. “We know what’s going on. We’ve just got to figure it out. We’ve got to start doing something, or we’re going to find ourselves in a spot where we don’t want to be, and it’s going to be something depressing.”
The A’s dropped a half-game back of Kansas City for the top AL wild card with the Royals set to play a night game at Cleveland. Seattle began the day three games behind for the second wild-card spot.
Howie Kendrick doubled and drove in three runs for the Angels, who wrap up the regular season at Seattle.
Los Angeles (98-61) maintained its lead over Baltimore (95-63) for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage for the AL playoffs.
The Angels beat their Northern California rival for the seventh time in the last eight meetings to capture the season series 10-9 for the first time in four years. The Angels won at the Coliseum for just the third time in nine games.
This stretch for Oakland can be best defined as one of wasted pitching performances and devoid of clutch hitting.
The A’s rallied with four runs in the seventh, including Reddick’s two-run double and an RBI triple by Nick Punto. Adam Dunn struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the inning with runners on first and second.
Mike Trout dropped a fly ball in center field for a three-base error in the fourth, putting Josh Donaldson on third leading off the inning. Jonny Gomes popped out and Derek Norris flied out to right, with Kole Calhoun making a perfect throw home to get Donaldson for a double play.
Crew chief Gerry Davis sent the play to review to determine whether catcher Chris Iannetta had blocked the plate. The call was upheld in 3 minutes, 30 seconds, sending the crowd into a booing frenzy.
Trout then left the game before the top of the fifth with a stomach illness.
Hector Santiago (6-9) worked 5 1/3 innings for his first outing longer than two innings in three starts. He allowed three hits, struck out three and walked two and hopes he showed enough to get his shot in the playoffs.
Huston Street, the seventh Los Angeles pitcher, finished for his 17th save with the Angels and 41st overall.
A’s starter Jon Lester (16-11) struck out seven in seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He went winless in three starts against the Angels this year.
“I made 32 starts this year, so every game is a big game,” Lester said. “I look at it as a win or a loss. We lost, so not good.”
The A’s took clothes and gear to be away four to 10 days and for varying climates.
“Well, we know we’re going to Dallas,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ll figure out hopefully a destination after that. We’re in an exciting time, and we need to be able to embrace that.”
Angels: OF Josh Hamilton had a recovery day as he deals with upper body pain that has sidelined him 19 of the last 20 games. ... 3B David Freese sat out for a second straight day with tightness in his upper back. ... RHP Matt Shoemaker played catch for the third straight day as he works back from a strained left oblique but still needs to throw off a mound. There is no timetable for when that might happen.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver deemed himself ready for Friday’s start at Seattle after spending two days with the flu that he caught from his son. Weaver has kept food down since Tuesday and had a piece of cake. “I’ll be fine for Friday,” the 18-game winner said.
Athletics: RHP Jason Hammel (2-6, 4.52 ERA) pitches the opener of a season-ending four-game series at Texas after rejoining the club Monday following paternity leave. He has received two or fewer runs of support in 10 of his 11 starts since joining the A’s on July 4, and has never beaten the Rangers in two career starts.
The A’s drew 2,003,628 fans at home this season, their first year with 2 million since 2005.