Hunter homered and drove in three runs Saturday night in a 4-2 victory over Oakland that kept Los Angeles' flickering AL wild card hopes alive.
"I can't really explain it. My adrenaline takes over and I just want to help make something happen," Hunter said. "I have extra motivation trying to get there, because I know it's still a possibility. I'm just doing my part and hoping that the other guys follow suit. We have some young guys who are bulldogs and are doing the best they can, and I've just got to lead by example."
Jerome Williams won his fourth straight decision since joining the Angels last month. Los Angeles, eliminated from the AL West race on Friday night with Jered Weaver's 3-1 loss to Gio Gonzalez, is 2½ games behind Boston and one behind Tampa Bay for the wild card with four games remaining. The Red Sox lost 9-1 at New York and Tampa Bay beat Toronto 6-2.
"You don't play these games like a regular game. You play it like a playoff game right now," said the Angels' Bobby Abreu, who singled home the go-ahead run. "I think all those games that we should have won would have put us in a better situation. But we didn't, so you can see what an effect those games had on our situation right now."
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The Angels finish the season with three games at home against the Rangers. Boston will be at Baltimore for three after concluding their series at New York with a day-night doubleheader Sunday, and Tampa Bay finishes up with a three-game set against the Yankees at home.
"We need some help. But the bottom line is, we need to win games," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "We want that help to come, but we need to be in a position where we can take advantage of it. All we can control is how we play the game, and then we'll see where we are on Wednesday."
Williams, who improved to 4-0 in six starts, allowed a run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out two and walked two. It's the first time the 29-year-old right-hander has won four consecutive decisions since a 5-0 stretch in 2003 as a rookie with the San Francisco Giants, who selected him in the first round of the 1999 draft.
Williams did not pitch in the majors the previous three seasons after going 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in six starts with Washington in 2007.
"He's got pretty good command with everything he tries to do," A's third baseman Scott Sizemore said. "He doesn't give in to hitters and always tries to make a quality pitch. And if you're not really focused, you're going to swing and get yourself out. He does a really good job of making you hit his pitch."
Oakland rookie Guillermo Moscoso (8-10) was charged with four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in seven innings. Hunter's RBI single in the first was the Angels' only hit through the first 5 1/3 against the 27-year-old right-hander, who held Detroit to just one hit over six innings in his previous start last Sunday.
Erick Aybar bunted his way on with one out in the sixth and got to second after Howard Kendrick hit a liner off Moscoso's right hip and was thrown out by the pitcher. Abreu followed with a seeing-eye ground single into right field that snapped a 1-all tie, and Hunter made it 4-1 two pitches later with his 23rd homer and second in two nights.
The A's scored their first run when Williams gave up singles to his first three batters in the fifth, including an opposite-field hit to left by Weeks that drove in Sizemore. The A's stranded two runners in scoring position over the next three innings, while Moscoso did his best to keep the game close.
"It's definitely frustrating because you want to help out your pitcher, especially when he's throwing that well," Sizemore said. "He's doing everything he needs to do, but we just haven't been able to back him up. We don't have a chance to make the playoffs, but you still have to go out there and try your best to win every ballgame."
Hideki Matsui hit what should have been an inning-ending double-play grounder to second, but first base umpire Ron Kulpa got the call wrong after the relay throw from shortstop Aybar beat the runner. TV replays confirmed that Matsui was out, but the Angels survived the bad break as Josh Willingham flied out with a runner at third.
Matsui, who has spent the majority of the season as Oakland's DH, made his 26th start in left field and committed a two-base error that enabled his former club take a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Aybar led off with a pop fly down the line, and Matsui overran the ball into foul territory while trying to avoid a collision with shortstop Erik Sogard. The ball landed just inside the chalk beyond Matsui's outstretched left arm, and Aybar ended up at second. The error was Matsui's first since May 8, 2008, when he misplayed a single by Detroit's Ryan Raburn that allowed him to take an extra base in a game against the Yankees at Comerica Park.
Hunter capitalized on the miscue with an opposite-field RBI single. It was the 11th unearned run charged to Moscoso and the 82nd against the Athletics' staff, the most since they gave up 83 in 2000. As a team, the A's have an AL-worst 124 errors -- their highest total since 2001 (125). The last time they led the league in that department was 1998 with 141.
- Scioscia texted congratulations to his former bench coach and third base coach, Ron Roenicke, a day after Roenicke's Milwaukee Brewers clinched the NL Central title in his first season as a big league skipper. "It's very impressive. Ron's done a great job with them," Scioscia said. "He was ready for this opportunity. I know Ron was excited when he got the position, and he felt Milwaukee was a very talented team."
- Angels 1B Mark Trumbo, who leads the club with 29 homers and 87 RBI, left the game after six innings because of right ankle discomfort.
- Trumbo was presented with the team's MVP trophy during a pregame ceremony. No rookie has led his team in homers and RBI at the end of a season since Jody Gerut in 2003 with Cleveland.
- The Angels have topped 3 million mark in home attendance for the ninth straight season.