OAKLAND — Josh Donaldson hit a game-winning, bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Oakland Athletics past the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1, on Tuesday as they decreased their magic number to clinch another AL West title to six.
Donaldson delivered his third career game-ending hit — all this season — in Oakland’s eighth walkoff victory this year. He received both a whipped cream pie from Josh Reddick followed by a dumping from the Gatorade bottle.
Grant Balfour (1-3) struck out the side in order in the ninth for the win.
Alberto Callaspo singled to start the bottom of the ninth against Michael Kohn (1-3) and Jemile Weeks entered as a pinch-runner. Weeks advanced on Stephen Vogt’s fly to left and pinch-hitter Jed Lowie was intentionally walked to bring up Coco Crisp.
Crisp walked on the 10th pitch he saw to load the bases. Daric Barton struck out with the Angels bringing in right fielder Kole Calhoun as a fifth infielder.
There had been 11 full-counts between the teams and none of those batters reached base until Crisp’s free pass.
The A’s lead the Rangers by 6 1/2 games. Texas won 7-1 at Tampa Bay to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Mike Trout hit another deep drive over the wall in center for his second home run in as many games, but that was all for the Angels.
Trout connected on a 1-0 pitch from Sonny Gray with two outs in the first to stake the Angels to another early lead. The Angels said Trout became the first player in AL history with 25 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 100 walks.
The A’s tied it in the bottom half on Brandon Moss’ ground-rule double.
Gray allowed one run and five hits, struck out five and walked one in six strong innings — but he faced six three-ball counts and saw his pitch count climb in a hurry. He threw 98 pitches.
Oakland reliever Ryan Cook hit consecutive batters with pitches, Howie Kendrick and Trout, to load the bases in the seventh after J.B. Shuck’s two-out single. Jerry Blevins relieved and struck out Josh Hamilton.
Garrett Richards struck out six in seven-plus innings, but is still winless in seven career outings and three starts against the A’s. He gave way to Buddy Boshers after Donaldson beat out an infield single to start the eighth.
Boshers struck out Moss and Juan Gutierrez relieved to record the final two outs in the eighth.
The Angels lost for only the third time in their last 13 road games a day after a 12-1 win to snap the A’s five-game winning streak.
This victory clinched the season series for Oakland over the Angels for the third straight year.
A’s left fielder Yoenis Cespedes played designated hitter for a second straight day as he nurses an injured right shoulder. An MRI showed tendinitis and no tear or serious structural problem. Manager Bob Melvin will give Cespedes time to let the arm calm down so he can throw comfortably before he returns to the outfield.
A cortisone shot is a possibility.