Eric Chavez and the Oakland hitters were more than glad to make up for a rough outing by Barry Zito.
Zito managed to get his league-leading 22nd victory and the Athletics, boosted by four home runs, beat Anaheim 7-4 Wednesday night to tie the Angels for the AL West lead.
Chavez and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers and Ray Durham had a three-run shot during a six-run fourth inning. Mark Ellis connected earlier at the Coliseum.
"It was big," Chavez said. "We haven't been able to pick up our pitchers very often. They've carried us all year and it's nice to return the favor."
The Angels and Athletics both have 10 games left, including Thursday afternoon's wrap-up of a four-game series.
Zito (22-5) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He also walked four.
"Our guys showed we're not going to go down easy," Zito said. "I didn't have my best stuff but they came out and weren't worried about being down 4-1."
Chad Bradford threw 2 2-3 scoreless innings in relief of Zito. Billy Koch, who gave up Tim Salmon's winning home run in the 10th inning Tuesday night, pitched the ninth for his 40th save.
"It's nice to give Zito a win when he wasn't really his best," manager Art Howe said. "We were right back in the game with two swings of the bat. It took every little ingredient to get it done."
In the National League, at this stage in the season, a two-game lead seems pretty big to the San Francisco Giants.
Pitcher Russ Ortiz hit a tiebreaking homer as the Giants beat Los Angeles 7-4 Wednesday night, putting their old rival in bad shape in the only real race remaining for a postseason berth. The four-game series ends Thursday night.
"It goes without saying that tomorrow night's game is a must-win for us," the Dodgers' Eric Karros said.
Each team has 10 games left. If the Giants win Thursday, the Dodgers' position will be desperate
"We really needed this win," Ortiz said. "I was scratching and clawing as much as I could to keep us in the game."
Ortiz (13-10) won his fifth straight start. He hit his second homer of the season and the fourth of his career against Robert Ellis (0-1) leading off the sixth for a 4-3 lead.
"I saw a fastball and swung at it. It wasn't anything more than that," Ortiz said.
Down 7-3, the Dodgers rallied for a run in the ninth on Brian Jordan's RBI single off reliever Robb Nen's glove with two outs. But Nen struck out Karros with two runners on.
At Phoenix, Greg Colbrunn hit for the cycle, including a pair of two-run homers, and scored four times as the World Series champions reduced their magic number to five for clinching their second straight NL West title.
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