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Josh Hamilton drives in key runs in Angels' 5-4 win over Athletics

BaseballMajor League BaseballJosh HamiltonMike TroutChris Young (baseball, outfielder)Erick Aybar

OAKLAND -- Josh Hamilton hit a tying two-run home run in the ninth inning and a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 11th inning Wednesday to lead the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the host Oakland Athletics.

J.B. Shuck sparked the winning rally with a leadoff double against reliever Jesse Chavez and the Angels put runners on first base and third base when third baseman Josh Donaldson bobbled Erick Aybar’s bunt for an error.

Mike Trout popped to shallow right field, the runners holding, and Manager Bob Melvin summoned left-hander Jerry Blevins to face Hamilton, who was 0 for 11 with seven strikeouts, including one with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning Tuesday night, against the A’s reliever.

Blevins got ahead of Hamilton with two strikes, but the Angels designated hitter drove an 0-and-2 pitch to deep left field for a sacrifice fly that gave the Angels a 5-4 lead.

Ernesto Frieri retired the side in order in the 11th for his 35th save, capping a stellar relief effort that included four combined scoreless, one-hit innings by Cory Rasmus, Buddy Boshers and Juan Gutierrez. The Angels have won 19 of their last 26 games and are 7-0-1 in their last eight series.

Trout hit his third home run in three games, a two-run shot to left field in the first inning, but the Angels managed only one hit over the next seven innings as right-hander A.J. Griffin retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced in a six-inning, two-run, one-hit, six-strikeout start.

Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes each hit two-run home runs against left-hander Jason Vargas in the third inning to give the A’s a 4-2 lead, and Dan Otero threw two scoreless innings before yielding to closer Grant Balfour in the ninth inning.

But Aybar led off the ninth with a single to left field, and after Trout flied out to right, Hamilton hit a towering home run into the right-field seats, his 20th home run, to pull the Angels even, 4-4, and tag Balfour with his third blown save this season.

Shuck also had a superb defensive game in left field, making a strong throw from the gap to nail Chris Young at second base in the second inning, a leaping grab of Young’s drive to the wall in the fifth and a spectacular diving catch on the warning track of Derek Norris’ drive in the eighth.

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