OAKLAND, Calif. -- Pinch hitter Travis Buck got fooled looking for a fastball and only got a piece of the ball. That was all he needed.
Buck's shot was one of only two hits off Kelvim Escobar, who also made a key error.
"They all count," Buck said. "That's the third time I've faced him and that was probably the best splitter he's thrown. I just stayed back enough to get it and it fell in."
Joe Blanton (9-8) ended a personal four-game losing streak, allowing eight hits in seven innings. He gave up one run, did not strike out a batter and walked two.
"He keeps amazing me every day with his versatility, his desire and his heart," A's manager Bob Geren said of Embree. "It's a real plus to a manager to have a guy like that."
Embree has retired the last 22 hitters he's faced and has appeared in five of the last six A's games.
"It's a little bit of luck, locating the ball well and good plays behind me," said the 13-year veteran. "I'll ride it until it bucks."
Embree set the Oakland left-handed record with the save.
"It's more sentimental value," Embree said. "At my age I didn't expect to be in this position. To get this, I'm proud of it."
Escobar (11-6) lost his third straight start despite allowing one earned run and two hits over seven innings. He matched his career high with seven walks and struck out two.
"They worked the count pretty well," Escobar said. "I didn't get a couple of pitches I wanted but they have a good approach."
With the score tied at 1 in the seventh, Escobar walked Mark Ellis and Marco Scutaro around Mark Kotsay's fly out. Donnie Murphy lined out to Chone Figgins at third base before Buck came on and lunged for a pitch, hitting it to right where it fell just in front of Reggie Willits.
"I just wanted to get the guy home any way I could," Buck said. "Blanton pitched unbelievably and it was nice for him to win. He looks like his normal self again."
The A's tied the score in the sixth, helped by an error by Escobar. Donnie Murphy and Shannon Stewart each drew a walk from the right-hander. With one out, Nick Swisher grounded sharply to Kotchman at first. Kotchman threw to Orlando Cabrera at second for the force but Escobar, covering first, couldn't handle Cabrera's return throw and the ball bounded into the Angels dugout, allowing Murphy to score.
"I should have made that play," Escobar said. "It was an easy play for me. I got there in time and I saw the throw."
The Angels managed seven hits in the first four innings against Blanton but hit into a pair of double plays and were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
"When guys are struggling at the plate they sometimes get a little too aggressive at the plate," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's no pill that cures a whole team."
Following Izturis' one-out single in the fourth, Blanton retired the next 10 hitters in succession.
Since giving up a season-high seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in Baltimore on June 29, Escobar has allowed just eight earned runs in 44 2/3 innings (1.61 ERA).
- Angels OF Juan Rivera has begun running in 90-foot intervals as he recovers from a broken left leg.
- Angels RHP John Lackey, who starts Sunday's series finale, is 10-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 22 games against the A's.
- Kotchman has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games.
- Angels 3B Chone Figgins has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games.
- Ellis matched Rafael Bournigal's Oakland consecutive errorless streak at 70 games. Bournigal accomplished the feat over three seasons (1996-98).
- The A's won with two hits or less for the first time since Aug. 5, 1998 in a 3-1 win against the New York Yankees.