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Angels beat Athletics to climb in wild-card race

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Torii Hunter is trying to singlehandedly lead the Los Angeles Angels to a playoff berth. They still have to jump ahead of two teams to get there, though.

Hunter homered and drove in three runs Saturday night in a 4-2
victory over Oakland that kept Los Angeles' flickering AL wild-card
hopes alive.

"I can't really explain it. My adrenaline takes over and I just
want to help make something happen," Hunter said. "I have extra
motivation trying to get there, because I know it's still a
possibility. I'm just doing my part and hoping that the other guys
follow suit. We have some young guys who are bulldogs and are doing
the best they can, and I've just got to lead by example."

Jerome Williams won his fourth straight decision since joining
the Angels last month. Los Angeles, eliminated from the AL West
race on Friday night with Jered Weaver's 3-1 loss to Gio Gonzalez,
is 2 1/2 games behind Boston and one behind Tampa Bay for the wild
card with four games remaining. The Red Sox lost 9-1 at New York
and Tampa Bay beat Toronto 6-2.

"You don't play these games like a regular game. You play it
like a playoff game right now," said the Angels' Bobby Abreu, who
singled home the go-ahead run. "I think all those games that we
should have won would have put us in a better situation. But we
didn't, so you can see what an effect those games had on our
situation right now."

The Angels finish the season with three games at home against
the Rangers. Boston will be at Baltimore for three after concluding
their series at New York with a day-night doubleheader Sunday, and
Tampa Bay finishes up with a three-game set against the Yankees at
home.

"We need some help. But the bottom line is, we need to win
games," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "We want that
help to come, but we need to be in a position where we can take
advantage of it. All we can control is how we play the game, and
then we'll see where we are on Wednesday."

Williams, who improved to 4-0 in six starts, allowed a run and
five hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out two and walked two. It's the
first time the 29-year-old right-hander has won four consecutive
decisions since a 5-0 stretch in 2003 as a rookie with the Giants, who selected him in the first round of the 1999
draft.

Williams did not pitch in the majors the previous three seasons
after going 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in six starts with Washington in
2007.

"He's got pretty good command with everything he tries to do,"
A's third baseman Scott Sizemore said. "He doesn't give in to
hitters and always tries to make a quality pitch. And if you're not
really focused, you're going to swing and get yourself out. He does
a really good job of making you hit his pitch."

Rookie Jordan Walden followed Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs
out of the bullpen and finished up for his 32nd save after giving
up Jemile Weeks' second RBI single of the game.

Oakland rookie Guillermo Moscoso (8-10) was charged with four
runs - three earned - and five hits in seven innings. Hunter's RBI
single in the first was the Angels' only hit through the first 5
1-3 against the 27-year-old right-hander, who held Detroit to just
one hit over six innings in his previous start last Sunday.

Erick Aybar bunted his way on with one out in the sixth and got
to second after Howie Kendrick hit a liner off Moscoso's right hip
and was thrown out by the pitcher. Abreu followed with a seeing-eye
ground single into right field that snapped a 1-all tie, and Hunter
made it 4-1 two pitches later with his 23rd homer and second in two
nights.

The A's scored their first run when Williams gave up singles to
his first three batters in the fifth, including an opposite-field
hit to left by Weeks that drove in Sizemore. The A's stranded two
runners in scoring position over the next three innings, while
Moscoso did his best to keep the game close.

"It's definitely frustrating because you want to help out your
pitcher, especially when he's throwing that well," Sizemore said.
"He's doing everything he needs to do, but we just haven't been
able to back him up. We don't have a chance to make the playoffs,
but you still have to go out there and try your best to win every
ballgame."

Hideki Matsui hit what should have been an inning-ending
double-play grounder to second, but first base umpire Ron Kulpa got
the call wrong after the relay throw from shortstop Aybar beat the
runner. TV replays confirmed that Matsui was out, but the Angels
survived the bad break as Josh Willingham flied out with a runner
at third.

Matsui, who has spent the majority of the season as Oakland's
DH, made his 26th start in left field and committed a two-base
error that enabled his former club take a 1-0 lead in the first
inning.

Aybar led off with a pop fly down the line, and Matsui overran
the ball into foul territory while trying to avoid a collision with
shortstop Eric Sogard. The ball landed just inside the chalk beyond
Matsui's outstretched left arm, and Aybar ended up at second. The
error was Matsui's first since May 8, 2008, when he misplayed a
single by Detroit's Ryan Raburn that allowed him to take an extra
base in a game against the Yankees at Comerica Park.

Hunter capitalized on the miscue with an opposite-field RBI
single. It was the 11th unearned run charged to Moscoso and the
82nd against the Athletics' staff, the most since they gave up 83
in 2000. As a team, the A's have an AL-worst 124 errors - their
highest total since 2001 (125). The last time they led the league
in that department was 1998 with 141.

Game notes
Scioscia texted congratulations to his former bench coach
and third base coach, Ron Roenicke, a day after Roenicke's
Milwaukee Brewers clinched the NL Central title in his first season
as a big league skipper. "It's very impressive. Ron's done a great
job with them," Scioscia said. "He was ready for this
opportunity. I know Ron was excited when he got the position, and
he felt Milwaukee was a very talented team." ... Angels 1B Mark Trumbo, who leads the club with 29 homers and 87 RBIs, left the
game after six innings because of right ankle discomfort. ...
Trumbo was presented with the team's MVP trophy during a pregame
ceremony. No rookie has led his team in homers and RBIs at the end
of a season since Jody Gerut in 2003 with Cleveland. ... The Angels
have topped 3 million mark in home attendance for the ninth
straight season.