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OAK@LAA: Reddick puts the A's up late with RBI double

ANAHEIM -- Josh Reddick wasn't about to reach for the panic button Monday night when asked about his club's offensive struggles after a third straight loss.

Not that he should have, considering he's seen much worse in much more dire circumstances, while involved in one of baseball's most storied collapses last September with the Red Sox. So Reddick simply shrugged, noted the season is still young and mentioned it'll probably only take one guy to get things going, create a dose momentum for a team desperately in need of some.

As it turns out, he was talking about himself. The A's right fielder proceeded to collect three hits on Tuesday night, his last bringing in the go-ahead run that helped Oakland to a 5-3 victory over the Angels.

"I mentioned last night we needed that one big game with that one big hit," Reddick said. "Luckily it was me that did it."

His ground-rule double off Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen highlighted a four-run eighth inning that wiped away Los Angeles' 2-1 lead. And while Reddick was surely crowned the hero for his efforts, his work would not have been made possible without a handful of noteworthy contributors.

With one out in the fateful inning, Cliff Pennington drew a seven-pitch walk, with Jemile Weeks following suit to put a pair of runners on for Coco Crisp. The outfielder's odds weren't necessarily in his favor, considering he had managed just one hit in his previous 23 at-bats and, to top it off, was dealing with the flu all night.

"He is a guy we count on late in games," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a guy you feel really good about being up at the plate, and we did right there even though he's had some struggles at the plate."

"The inning before, I patted him on the back, saying, 'C'mon, man, you got one more. Make it a good one,'" Reddick said. "And he did, picked us up and tied the ballgame."

It was an RBI single for Crisp, which created plenty of momentum for Reddick, who fell behind 1-2 in the count before Jepsen hung a curveball that was laced to right field. Yoenis Cespedes kept the party going, notching a two-run single -- his second hit of the night -- that halted a six-game streak of no RBIs.

Oakland's four runs in the eighth inning matched its total in its previous 34 frames.

"That was big," Melvin said. "We get a big hit by Coco and another one and another one, and it just seems as soon as you get a big hit like that it takes some pressure off, and it can be as contagious as much as when you struggle."

Added Reddick: "It was huge. Penny started off the inning with a great at-bat, and we just seemed to build off that."

And while the needed offensive support didn't make a winner out of starter Tyson Ross, who exited after six innings, it prevented him from taking a loss.

The right-handed hurler, freshly inserted into the rotation to face a potent Angels club after starting the season at Triple-A Sacramento for two starts, surrendered just two runs on seven hits while throwing 91 pitches in his season debut. He walked none, fanned three and induced 12 ground-ball outs.

"I thought he was terrific," Melvin said. "That's the best I've seen him throw -- in a game, I don't want to say we have to win, but we've been struggling some and really needed to win a game. And for him to go out there and give us six innings in that fashion against that lineup is terrific. It's a measuring stick for us, playing these guys, especially here."

"He has good stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched tough. He has deception and mixed in some tight sliders and two-seamers. We couldn't break through against him."

Ross' counterpart, former A's pitcher Dan Haren, went 6 2/3 innings, the only damage against him coming from a surprising source of power, as Daric Barton hit his first home run -- a fifth-inning solo shot -- since Oct. 1, 2010, marking a span of 76 games.

"That had to be big for him," Melvin said. "We saw this spring that the bat was coming through the zone a lot quicker. I'm sure that's a big monkey off his back."

Barton, when asked if the streak was something he had thought about, greeted reporters with a sly smile and responded, "What streak?"

"Obviously it's something I thought about, but I don't think it was something I worried about," he said. "I tried to turn the page on last year and, since Spring Training, I felt I've had good bat speed. I'm just trying to make solid contact."

It only added to a laundry list of impressive happenings from the night, as did Reddick's Major League-leading fourth outfield assist of the season in the fourth, when he nailed Albert Pujols at third base on Kendrys Morales' hit to right field for the second out of the inning.

"Unbelievable," said Ross, who struck out Torii Hunter minutes later to end the frame. "He threw it right on the money. You can't really express how valuable that is to a pitcher."

Reddick, who had just four assists all of last season, might start changing the minds of first-to-third hopefuls.

"I hope not," he said. "If I can keep throwing the ball like that, I hope not. But maybe I start getting a little more respect out there."

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