<
>

Scutaro, A's put Angels in big hole with 12-inning win

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- With Marco Scutaro's knack for
game-winning hits, Bobby Kielty knew to be ready to take off at any
moment.

Scutaro drove in Kielty for the winning run with a single in the
12th inning and the Oakland Athletics reduced their magic number to
win the AL West to two with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles
Angels on Friday night.

Kielty, down 0-2 in the count, had a pinch-hit double to start
the 12th and went to third on a groundout. Francisco Rodriguez
(2-3) intentionally walked Nick Swisher and the Angels brought an
outfielder in for a five-infielder alignment to face Scutaro.

"I knew my chances were really good with him up there," Kielty
said.

Scutaro also fell behind 0-2 before lining the ball to deep
left-center for his second game-winning hit this year and eighth in
three seasons with the A's. He was immediately got mobbed by his
teammates.

"I was looking for a slider on the first two pitches. He didn't
throw me one slider," Scutaro said. "A guy like Rodriguez, you
have to look for one pitch. After two strikes, I was looking for
the ball, trying to survive."

Brad Halsey (5-4) intentionally walked Vladimir Guerrero in the
top of the 12th, then the A's turned an inning-ending double play
with runners on the corners.

The A's can clinch their first division title since 2003 by
winning either Saturday or Sunday against the Angels, who
celebrated their own AL West titles the past two seasons on
Oakland's home field.

Maicer Izturis lined a tying double to left in the ninth that a
diving Jay Payton couldn't control. He relayed to closer Huston
Street, who quickly threw toward catcher Jason Kendall but the ball
got past him for an error that allowed Erick Aybar to score.

Street, pitching for a fourth straight day, blew his ninth save.

Oakland's Milton Bradley hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth
after Eric Chavez tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer.
Barry Zito struck out six and pitched 7 2-3 strong innings in what
might have been his final start in Oakland.

Bradley was ejected in the 11th after arguing a called third
strike.

He disagreed with plate umpire Ron Kulpa's call for the second
out of the inning and yelled at the umpire. Bradley began to walk
away, then turned and tried to go at Kulpa before being held back
by manager Ken Macha and third-base coach Ron Washington.

Bradley threw his bat into the padded fencing near the on-deck
circle, then tossed his helmet. He kept yelling at Kulpa as he made
his way toward the tunnel to the clubhouse.

"It was a 3-2 curveball and he didn't like it," Kulpa said.
"He said something and I took off my mask and told him, 'If you
want to stay in the game, walk away,' which he did. Then he called
me something he shouldn't."

Two playoff-starved veterans, Kendall and Mark Kotsay,
contributed key plays in the A's fourth straight win and eighth in
nine. Oakland moved 27 games over .500 (90-63) for the first time
since Sept. 5, 2004, when the club was 81-55.

"That was unbelievable," said Zito, who received yellow roses
from a fan.

Swisher added a solo homer for the A's, who lead the Angels by
eight games. The teams play six more times in the final nine games,
including the last four of the season in Anaheim.

"Our backs have been against the wall for a while," Angels
manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've been playing good baseball.
We're not going to stop now."

Oakland has missed the playoffs the previous two seasons after
four straight postseason berths -- all of which ended in the first
round.

Howie Kendrick of the Angels hit a tiebreaking homer leading off
the seventh, then Chavez -- who sat out the previous two games with
a strained hamstring -- answered with his 21st home run leading off
the bottom half to make it 3-3.

Juan Rivera blooped an RBI single in the sixth -- his second hit
in 19 career at-bats against Zito -- to load the bases with one out
after Guerrero was intentionally walked. Robb Quinlan popped out,
then Garret Anderson hit a tying RBI-single and Guerrero also
headed for home. But Payton made a fantastic throw home and Kendall
tagged Guerrero inches from the plate after it appeared nobody told
the Angels star to slide.

Zito is expected to leave for a large-market team elsewhere as a
free agent this winter.

"I can't really get emotional right now because it would
probably take my focus off," Zito said.

The A's aren't ready to get sentimental about Zito's departure.
Still, Macha came across the clubhouse to shake his hand afterward.

"The future's like, who cares?" Chavez said.

Game notes
Oakland leads the season series 7-6. There have been six
one-run games. ... Angels OF Chone Figgins stole his 49th base in
the sixth. ... Guerrero committed a two-base fielding error in
right. His 11 errors are most by an AL outfielder. ... It was
Bradley's second ejection this year. The other was Aug. 9 against
Texas.