Just 3 1/2 games separate them from the first-place Astros with seven weeks to play, following Houston's third straight loss to the Mariners on Saturday.
The A's got two homers from Marcus Semien, who last went deep June 17, and yet another from a red-hot Khris Davis -- his 13th in 18 games and 34th overall -- as part of a 14-hit attack against the Angels behind a stellar Edwin Jackson.
Yet the star of the show was rookie center fielder Ramon Laureano, who dazzled with a jaw-dropping throw that journeyed 321 feet in the air from the left-center warning track to first base for an inning-ending double play in the third.
"That's probably one of the more impressive things I've seen in baseball," A's left fielder Chad Pinder said. "To throw it that far and with that accuracy … that's on another level."
Arguably the throw of the year, it aided Jackson's 7 1/3-inning, 110-pitch effort. The right-hander worked around three walks and yielded just three hits with six strikeouts, becoming the first A's starter to record an out in the eighth since Sean Manaea did so June 10.
"He's been such a horse for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There hasn't been one game he hasn't kept us in a ballgame. Just a terrific game, and you're going to need games like that from time to time so we don't overwork our bullpen."
Jackson, who arrived in Oakland on June 25, has been a vital piece to baseball's hottest team. He's completed at least five innings in eight of his nine outings and six innings in six of them; and he hasn't allowed an earned run over his last 19 innings, offering stability to a patchwork rotation.
The A's, 35-12 since June 16, have won seven of Jackson's nine starts.
"Every win means something," Jackson said. "Every game is meaningful. And with a team like this, we deserve everything that's going on right now. We're going to continue to take it one day at a time, see where we end up."
Semien finished with three hits and four RBIs, enjoying the third multi-homer game of his career and second against the Angels, while Davis picked up two more RBIs for 92 on the season -- second-most in the Majors' to J.D. Martinez's 104. Martinez is also tops in homers with 37, but Davis has been unrelenting in his attempt to play catch-up.
The bats on this night, however, just couldn't trump Laureano's doings.
"About as good as it gets," Melvin said.
SOUND SMART Semien's second home run in the fourth inning was the A's 8,000th home run since moving to Oakland in 1968.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Laureano drew the majority of the attention postgame, and rightfully so, after his remarkable play. It was Statcast™ gold, drawing a 42 percent catch probability after he ran 76 feet in 4.4 seconds. The throw was even better, coming in at 91.2 mph and traveling over a bevy of cutoff men.
HE SAID IT "That's the best throw I've ever seen, at least the farthest throw I've ever seen on the line. I was ready to be the cutoff man, and he probably didn't even see me." -- Semien, on Laureano's remarkable throw
UP NEXT Right-hander Trevor Cahill (4-2, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound when the A's close out this three-game series Sunday. The Angels will start Taylor Cole (0-2, 1.59) in a bullpen game for the 1:07 p.m. PT matchup at Angel Stadium. Cahill has not faced Los Angeles since pitching out of the bullpen in April 2016 as a member of the Cubs.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.