OAKLAND – Terrence Long hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning as the Oakland Athletics broke a tie for first in the AL West by defeating the Anaheim Angels 5-3 Thursday.
The A’s, who won the season series 11-9, reduced their magic number for clinching the division to eight. If the teams tie for first, Oakland would win the division based on head-to-head record. The Angels, who lead the wild-card race by 6 1/2 games, would have held the tiebreaker based on division record if they had won the game.
Tim Hudson (15-9) allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings to win his eighth straight decision as the A’s won for the fifth time in seven games.
Long drove a 1-1 pitch from reliever Brendan Donnelly into the bleachers in right-center field in the sixth to also score David Justice, who singled with one out in the inning off Kevin Appier (14-11).
For two teams with a history of playing close games, there was sure to be some drama left for their final meeting of the season.
Ramon Hernandez drove in two runs for the A’s a day after sitting out to rest a sore wrist and Billy Koch worked the ninth for his 41st save in 47 chances.
Anaheim scored twice in the sixth off Hudson to tie the game at 3.