Kendrick drives in 3 runs, AL West champion Angels hold off playoff-hopeful Athletics 5-4



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OAKLAND, California — The AL West champion Angels have a long list of nagging injuries, a flu bug in the clubhouse and tired bodies as the result of only one off day since Aug. 14.

Los Angeles is still pulling out important wins in late September.

Howie Kendrick doubled and drove in three runs as the Angels held off the playoff-hopeful Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Wednesday, then packed up for their final regular-season series at Seattle.

Oh, and Thursday's well-earned day off.

"These guys have been terrific. What they've done the last 60 games, they've just been incredible," manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys have played hard, they've played long and they've played well, and it's fun to watch."

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.

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.

Angels star Mike Trout left the game before the top of the fifth with a stomach illness.

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 Josh 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.

"We've got to get on the right path. We seem to be taking the wrong turns no matter what road we take," Reddick said.

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.

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. He hopes he showed enough to get his shot in the playoffs.

"I heard a cut last week that we have one starting pitcher," Santiago said. "I'm pretty sure we have five."

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.

The A's wrapped up their home schedule and left with luggage to be away four to 10 days and for varying climates. They could have to play a wild-card game at Kansas City on Tuesday.

"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."

BIRTHDAY BOY

Angels infielder John McDonald had a birthday cake waiting postgame from visiting clubhouse manager Mike Thalblum to celebrate his 40th. "Delicious," McDonald said with a grin. "I might eat the whole thing."

TRAINER'S ROOM

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.

UP NEXT

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.

ATTENDANCE

The A's drew 2,003,628 fans at home this season, their first year with 2 million since 2005.

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