OAKLAND -- The A's returned to the win column with a bang Wednesday night, clobbering the Angels behind a steady Brett Anderson to lower their magic number to six.
A quiet beginning led to a six-run outburst for the A's in the fourth inning, and Stephen Piscotty added to it with a three-run home run in the fifth, powering a 10-0 victory at the Coliseum.
The A's, who snapped a three-game losing streak, maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over the Rays for the second American League Wild Card berth, but remained 2 1/2 behind the Yankees for the top AL Wild Card spot. Oakland trails Houston by four games in the AL West with 10 to play.
"I don't think we were too worried about the losing streak," said Piscotty, who also doubled and collected five RBIs. "I mean, we control our own destiny. It's go out and win that day. That's why this team is so great. We don't have to have a team meeting to talk about it. We understand what's at hand, and we go out and do it."
Piscotty's homer, his 25th of the season, reached the second deck in left field.
"He's got some juice in his bat," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Upper deck, you don't see that much here. He's a smart hitter. He sits on pitches and will look for a certain pitch that he can drive. He's not afraid to wait around until he gets it."
Riding a ransacked rotation to the finish line -- a three-man staff has been supplemented by bullpen games -- the A's needed better from Anderson, who couldn't complete four innings in each of his previous two starts. The left-hander responded with 6 2/3 scoreless innings, working quickly from the get-go and holding the Angels to three hits while utilizing his effective breaking ball.
"Especially after my last outing, to pitch into the seventh, we have capable guys down there obviously, but as long as you're giving your team a chance to win, you want to pitch as long as you can, and today I was fairly efficient and getting early contact and early outs," Anderson said. "That's the best we've played here of late. Not that we played bad, but we've played some atypical games, and today was back to where we normally get those team wins."
The A's were hitless through three innings against Angels right-hander Felix Pena before jumping on the right-hander for four straight hits to begin an eventful fourth. Nick Martini and Matt Chapman led off with consecutive singles to open the inning, and both scored on Jed Lowrie's ensuing double for a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Piscotty hit a two-run double of his own, and Ramon Laureano chipped in with an RBI single.
Jonathan Lucroy's sacrifice fly capped the inning, in which the A's sent 10 batters to the plate.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Lowrie breaks through: Martini, seemingly always in the middle of the action, jump-started the six-run fourth, but it was Lowrie, who was 9-for-50 this month entering Wednesday, who plated the game's first runs. Lowrie's two-run double was only his second extra-base hit in September. He ranks seventh in the AL with 93 RBIs, a career high.
"He's consistent in his work and goes through periods where the average may come down some, but then when we need him, he comes up with a big hit," Melvin said. "This year is a big workload for him. He's not getting any younger, but the last two years he's been able to go out there pretty much every day. Sometimes it wears you down a bit, but he came through for us tonight."
Anderson became the first A's pitcher to go more than six innings in the past 26 games, ending the second-longest such streak in Oakland history.
HE SAID IT
"I've kind of weighed my successes more in cool moments and memories that stack up along the season, and this one is definitely at the top for sure." -- Piscotty, on his big night
The A's will turn to right-hander Edwin Jackson (5-3, 3.17 ERA) in Wednesday's series finale against right-hander Matthew Shoemaker (2-1, 3.98) and the Angels at 12:35 p.m. PT at the Coliseum. Jackson faced the Halos in Anaheim on Aug. 11, tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings. The game can be watched exclusively on MLB Live on Facebook.