OAKLAND -- The Oakland A's were three outs away from a pretty nice send-off Sunday as they scatter for the All-Star break.
It all unraveled quickly Sunday at McAfee Coliseum, where an apparent feel-good victory over the Los Angeles Angels swiftly turned into a 4-3 defeat that surely will rank as one of the A's toughest to digest this season.
The Angels scored twice off closer Huston Street in the top of the ninth to erase a one-run deficit and take the lead.
Adding insult to injury for the A's, they would load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, only to watch Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez slam the door and unleash an emphatic celebration after the final out.
"It stings," A's third baseman Jack Hannahan said. "We had a chance to get one more up on them. We had it and let it slip away. What are you gonna do?"
Division races aren't won or lost based on a single game in July, but there's no denying how much impact Sunday's events carry in the present.
A win would have given the A's the series victory and pulled them to within four games of the American League West-leading Angels.
Instead, they face a six-game deficit and will begin a tough six-game road trip against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays when they come out of the break Friday.
"I don't think we're thinking about numbers right now," designated hitter Jack Cust said. "We had this game. It's definitely disappointing, but that's baseball. We've got a couple days off. Hopefully guys will get their minds right and do what we've been doing."
All-Star right-hander Justin Duchscherer set the A's up nicely with a stellar 7º innings.
He saw his 18-inning shutout streak end but walked off the mound in the eighth with a 3-2 lead, anticipating his 11th victory.
He left the field to a standing ovation and chants of "Duuuuuuke!!" echoing through the Coliseum.