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Angels darken A's playoff hopes with 5-4 win

Although the sun was out, the darkness descended on Oakland.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Final in Oakland:  Angels 5, A's 4

On a bright and sunny day in Northern California, the Oakland A's playoff chances went dark as the Angels downed Oakland 5-4.  For the second time in two days, an Angels lefty starter kept the A's scoreless over 5.1 innings, dropping their division rival a half game behind the Kansas City Royals (who play later tonight).

Although Oakland attempted to crawl from the hole they were in with a 4-run seventh inning, Jason Grilli was able to end the inning by striking out Adam Dunn with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

Mirroring the game thrown by Wade LeBlanc on Tuesday night, sometime inconsistent starter Hector Santiago tossed 5.1 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out three.  Santiago appeared to have contracted the Wilson virus during Wednesday's start.  Unable to get the call on the inside corner, Santiago symptomatically continued to throw pitches there, thus needing 88 pitches to get into the sixth inning.  After allowing a walk and single, Vinnie Pestano relieved Santiago and recorded the final two outs in the sixth, protecting Santiago's shutout.

The Angel hitters went to work on the not-so-would-be Oakland playoff savior Jon LesterHowie Kendrick recorded the first of his three RBI on the day during the Halos first at-bat, driving in Mike Trout.  Trout singled to left, stole second, and then scored on Kendrick's clean hit to center field.  In the third inning, Kendrick later drove in Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols with a double to right field.  The three RBI on the day upped the Halo second baseman RBI total to 75, matching his previous career high set during the 2010 season.  The Angels added single runs in the 5th and 7th innings on a Pujols sac fly, and a Josh Donaldson throwing error.

Fernando Salas held the A's scoreless in the eighth, while Huston Street recorded his 17th save as an Angel with a perfect ninth inning.

The win leaves the Angels 2 ½ games ahead of Baltimore in the race for home field advantage during the playoffs.