A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes didn’t have a problem beating Hank Conger’s throw to second in the ninth inning.
Stopping was the issue.
The Cuban cleanup hitter slid past the bag and was tagged out, a gaffe that was magnified when Oakland put two men on base later in the same inning of a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
“He’s aggressive and goes in with a lot of velocity,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He had the bag stolen, obviously. He just slid past it.”
Oakland had come from behind to beat Los Angeles in each of the first two games of the series and was poised to do it again after falling behind 5-2 heading into the eighth.
Luke Montz, called up from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, doubled in Josh Reddick then scored on a single by Adam Rosales to make it 5-4.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri then hit Cespedes to open the ninth. Cespedes got a big jump and easily beat Conger’s throw but couldn’t stop his momentum and was tagged out by Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick.
After Josh Donaldson walked, Brandon Moss flew out and Reddick also drew a walk before Frieri got pinch-hitter Eric Sogard to foul out.
“That was a huge play for us and we were more than happy to take advantage of it,” said winning pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Mark Trumbo homered for the third consecutive day while Kendrick and Mike Trout also homered to help the Angels end their four-game losing streak.
Donaldson, Nate Freiman and Montz each had an RBI double for the A’s, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Tommy Milone (3-3) gave up four runs on seven hits over seven innings. He did not walk a batter and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts.
Milone also gave the Oakland bullpen a much-needed break after the two teams played for more than 10 hours in the first two games of the series — an A’s record for a two-game stretch.
“We needed it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We needed him to go deep to save the bullpen. Even though we lost it was a good performance by him.”
Kendrick gave the Angels a 1-0 lead when he homered over the center field fence with two outs in the second.
Donaldson and Freiman hit back-to-back doubles to give the A’s a 2-1 lead in the third but J.B. Shuck singled in a run to tie it in the fifth.
Trout led off the sixth with a home run and Trumbo hit a ball off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard one out later. It was originally ruled a double but following a television review he was awarded the home run.
Trout tripled to center — Cespedes slipped on the warning track — and scored on Luis Pujols’ sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 5-2.
Michael Kohn walked a hitter to lead off the eighth and was replaced by Scott Downs, who got an out and then gave up Montz’s RBI double and Rosales’ run-scoring single before exiting the game with an injury to his right side.
Frieri came in to record the final five outs for his fourth save in five chances.
The Angels avoided being swept by the A’s in Oakland for the first time since June 29-July 1, 2004.
The A’s lost for the first time in 23 games against the Angels when scoring at least four runs.
NOTE: Outfielder Coco Crisp (strained left hamstring) and left-hander Brett Anderson (sprained right ankle) were both placed on the 15-day disabled list. Montz and right-hander Dan Straily were recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to fill their spots on the roster.