Pujols, Aybar, Tropeano propel Angels to 7th straight win, 8-1 over Oakland

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ANAHEIM, California — A year and a day after the Oakland Athletics clinched a postseason berth, the AL's 15th-place team didn't put up much of a fight while the Los Angeles Angels beat them to move into playoff position.

Albert Pujols had an RBI double among his three hits, Erick Aybar drove in three runs and the Angels took over the lead for the second wild-card spot with their seventh consecutive victory, 8-1 Tuesday night.

Max Muncy homered for the A's, who have lost four straight and nine of 10. While their spiral from last season's abbreviated success continued, they were unable to slow down the streaking Angels, who nudged past them for the AL West title a year ago.

Chris Bassitt (1-8) yielded eight hits and six runs before getting chased in the fourth for Oakland. He has been hurt by poor run support all season, but he didn't give himself a chance this time.

"I tried to blow my fastball right by everybody instead of getting the good sink that I usually do," Bassitt said. "I was throwing through that sink, and everything was flat, so they were making me pay for it."

Nick Tropeano (3-2) struck out 11 A's during 6 2-3 innings of three-hit ball for the Angels, who have won 10 of 12 overall during their majors-best 18-8 run through September.

"If you watched us the first couple of times through the order off him, we didn't even really put good swings together," Stephen Vogt said. "Anytime you're watching a pitcher get bad swings like that, you figure he must be pretty nasty. And when you can fool major league hitters like that, your stuff is pretty good."

A few minutes after matching their longest winning streak of the season, the Angels (83-74) moved a half-game ahead of the Astros (83-75) when Houston lost 6-4 at Seattle.

The Angels remained two games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers (85-72), who beat Detroit. The Minnesota Twins (81-75) were rained out in Cleveland, dropping them 1 1-2 games behind Los Angeles in the wild-card race.

"It's a good feeling. We're in a good spot right now," said Johnny Giavotella, who had two hits and drove in a run. "We've got five games to play, and we're in control of our destiny. We're going out and playing the best baseball we can, and then we're on the top step with each other — every game, every pitch."

With four games in Texas to close the season, the Angels can dictate their playoff standing no matter the result of the wild-card race. Rebounding splendidly from an awful August, the Angels have chased down the AL leaders with less than a week to play — but still plenty to lose.

Mike Trout and Pujols had back-to-back doubles in the first inning, with Trout scoring his 100th run of the season. The 24-year-old reigning AL MVP is the first player in Angels history to score 100 runs in four separate seasons.

Pujols keyed the Angels' fourth-inning rally with a leadoff infield single and a stolen base, running impressively on a sore foot that has limited him to designated-hitting duties for weeks. Los Angeles got all four RBIs with two outs.


Mat Latos made his Angels debut in the eighth, yielding two hits over two scoreless innings. The Angels signed the veteran right-hander Monday after his tumultuous tenure up the I-5 freeway with the Dodgers ended with his release.


Athletics: Drew Pomeranz won't pitch again this season due to a sore shoulder.

Angels: Joe Smith believes he could be available in the bullpen Wednesday. He sprained his ankle earlier this month on a hotel staircase.


Athletics: Barry Zito (0-0, 18.00 ERA) makes the second start of his A's return after giving up four runs in two innings last week against San Francisco.

Angels: Garrett Richards (15-11, 3.73) returns to the mound after beating Seattle in the homestand opener. He is willing to pitch again Sunday if the game determines Los Angeles' playoff fate.

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