San Francisco Chronicle

⏩ A’s 3, Angels 2: Oakland needs extras, but sweeps to boost wild-card hopes.

- By Matt Kawahara Matt Kawahara covers the A’s for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: mkawahara@ sfchronicl­ Twitter: @matthewkaw­ahara

ANAHEIM — At another time, Lou Trivino might have started the ninth inning. Instead, the right-hander entered Sunday’s game partway through, his task less to save than to rescue.

The Angels had erased a two-run A’s lead against Sergio Romo. Trivino inherited the potential winning run on second base with one out. His presence would have seemed obvious in the months he spent as Oakland’s top leverage reliever, less in the weeks since he was removed as closer.

Trivino threw six pitches to Max Stassi and Jack Mayfield. Each saw a fastball, curveball and changeup. Each fouled the fastball, missed the curveball and took the changeup for a called third strike. Oakland seized on its second life. Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly drove in Matt Olson for the go-ahead run in the 10th. Trivino returned for the bottom of the inning and notched three more outs to secure a 3-2 A’s win.

“It’s huge not only for us to win a game that obviously we needed to win, but huge for him kind of getting back to what he’s been doing here for the better part of the season,” manager Bob Melvin said. “So I think great for us, great for his confidence, and obviously the timeliness of it was huge.”

The A’s swept the Angels and notched their fifth straight win. They avoided losing ground in either the wild-card race, where leaders Boston and Toronto won Sunday, or the AL West, where the Astros won. They did not waste a gem from Frankie Montas, who outdueled Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on the mound, neither factoring into the final decision.

“These are the kind of series we need to take full advantage of,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “I know the next stretch we’ve got is going to be very competitiv­e. And it’s going to be a fun last two weeks.”

Montas subdued Anaheim’s offense for seven scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit, a third-inning double by Brandon Marsh. A’s starters threw five or fewer innings in 20 of 31 games before this series. Cole Irvin logged six in the opener Friday, clean save for a four-run second fueled by two errors. James Kaprielian worked six scoreless innings Saturday. Montas’ stellar outing made it even more of a trend.

Montas attacked Anaheim’s lineup. He totaled 87 pitches in seven innings, 62 for strikes. His secondary offerings were sharp. His splitter induced eight misses on 16 swings. His sinkers and sliders drew weak contact. The Angels put 15 of his pitches into play at an average of 78.2 mph. Of his four walks, two put Ohtani on base, one intentiona­lly.

“I was just trying to focus on the first-pitch strike, trying to attack the hitters,” Montas said. “They were swinging early, and I tried to go out there and throw my sinker and try to execute a little more.”

Montas notched seven strikeouts. After a walk to Jose Rojas in the fourth, he retired nine in a row. Max Stassi drew a twoout walk in the seventh. Montas struck out Jack Mayfield swinging on a slider to finish the inning.

“His pitch count was way under control for the eighth,” Melvin said. “He’s tired, though. There’s certain games where it just takes a little bit more out of you. I think his legs started to go more than his arm did.

“But when you go up against Ohtani, you know that you have to be really good and he was. Matched him all the way until both of them were out of the game and outpitched him, really.”

Montas didn’t outlast Ohtani, who worked eight innings and held the A’s to five hits, two costly. Ohtani made a mistake to Gomes in the third inning, a 1-2 slider that stayed up in the zone. Gomes hit it 420 feet over the wall in left-center. Matt Chapman drove a fastball 425 feet to the same vicinity in the fourth. Ohtani allowed just one hit after the fourth, a sixthinnin­g single by Lowrie, and struck out 10.

Jake Diekman worked a scoreless eighth for Oakland. Romo drew the ninth. Phil Gosselin lined a leadoff double and Jared Walsh’s grounder went for a single in the shift. Luis Rengifo’s groundout sent Walsh to second. Rojas lined a first-pitch fastball into right field, scoring Gosselin. Brown airmailed a throw home; Romo was late backing up the plate. Walsh, who had stopped at third, scored the tying run.

Trivino prevented a full breakdown. Chapman helped with an alert play on David Fletcher’s grounder to open the 10th, trapping Mayfield, the 10th-inning runner, between second and third. Trivino has allowed one run in 62⁄3 innings in his past five outings since a brutal stretch.

“Whether he was going through that little hiccup or not, his stuff plays, his stuff is really good,” Gomes said. “He stepped up big-time for us in a spot that we really needed him.”

“Whether he was going through that little hiccup or not, his stuff plays.” Yan Gomes, on Lou Trivino’s pitching performanc­e

 ?? Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images ?? Catcher Yan Gomes (left) celebrates with Lou Trivino, who entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning before finishing it off in the 10th to be credited with the win.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images Catcher Yan Gomes (left) celebrates with Lou Trivino, who entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning before finishing it off in the 10th to be credited with the win.

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