ANAHEIM -- Sean Doolittle gave up a two-run ninth inning homer that forced the A's to go to extra innings, but the reliever said he had no doubt the A's would win in the end.
And they did, with Josh Donaldson contributing the go-ahead RBI double and closer emeritus Jim Johnson throwing two scoreless innings for the win.
"When it's close and late, it's like we starting figuring out how to get a run across,'' Doolittle said. "We figure out how we're going to win and who's going to do it.
"Tonight it was Josh and Jim."
This win, the A's fourth consecutive, was more than Donaldson and Johnson, but those two took center stage at the end because of their contributions in the waning moments of the four-hour, 12-minute game.
Johnson, who began the season as the A's closer only to lose the job, was the A's last available pitcher.
"He knew it going in," manager Bob Melvin said. "He was going to pitch the 11th. If it had gone another inning, he would have pitched that, too."
It's likely that three innings would have done it for Johnson and the A's would have had to go to a position player, maybe Craig Gentry or Nick Punto, to throw. And do to that, the A's would have had to give up the designated hitter, because the A's were out of position players as well as pitchers (except for the starters).
"It's so early yet," Donaldson said of Johnson, who had two losses and a blown save in his first five appearances, a stretch that cost him his closer's job. "He didn't go out and save 100 games (101 over the last two years) for no reason. The guy's got it."
Johnson had it on this night. In the 10th, he got a quick strikeout, then his sinker began finding the zone, and the Angels got a couple of grounders. It was two more grounders in the 11th once Donaldson had given him the lead, although on the second one, Mike Trout (who tied the game with the two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off Doolittle) beat out chopper to short. He then stole second and Johnson walked Albert Pujols intentionally.
Then it was back to the sinker getting two more grounders to make the A's the first team in the American League to get to the 10-win mark.
"Johnson was terrific tonight," Melvin said.
That begged the question if Johnson is ready to go back in the closer's role.
Melvin shook his head and said it was too early for that question. For one thing, Johnson, who has pitched the last two nights, threw 21 pitches and is unlikely to be available to pitch in the series finale Wednesday. And Thursday is a day off.
Donaldson likes to hit with men on base. He got that chance on Tuesday with Jed Lowrie batting in front of him. Lowrie singled twice and doubled, and it was his eighth-inning walk against Joe Smith, a reliever who hadn't allowed a run all year in six games, that set up the four-run inning that put the A's in the lead for the first time.
"He gets on base," Donaldson said of Lowrie. "It's important for me, because all the statistics for me all the statistics say for me that I hit better with men on base."
He did on this night.
Donaldson singled home a run after Lowrie singled in the third. He singled and both he and Lowrie scored in the four-run eighth that Lowrie's walk started. And Lowrie singled in the 11th just before Donaldson stood in against Yosian Herrera, a pitcher he'd never seen, and delivered a bullet double into the left field corner.
-- The A's were without relievers Fernando Abad and Luke Gregerson Tuesday, both of whom needed a day off. They should be good to go Wednesday, but the A's will still be short because they'll need to give Johnson and Drew Pomeranz a day.
Pomeranz turned in a vital, if unsung, performance, throwing 2 2/3 innings in which he allowed just one walk.
-- Outfielder Kole Calhoun of the Angels will go on the disabled list Wednesday after injuring his leg running out a grounder at first base in the 11th. The Angels will be looking for help, and they may come to the A's, who are trying to move Sam Fuld, whom they put on the designated for assignment list last week.
-- Dan Straily, the A's starter, became the first Oakland starting pitcher to allow more than three earned runs in a game and the only one not to pitch at least into the fifth inning. Straily allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
-- Lowrie went 3-for-4 with two doubles, his 11th career game with two doubles. He led the A's with 45 doubles last year.
-- Donaldson extended his hitting streak to nine games (.350, 14-for-40) but only now is his overall average approaching respectability at .266
-In honor of the day in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier, players, coaches and managers on both teams wore the No. 42.
-- Coco Crisp was out of the A's starting lineup for the second consecutive game, but when he pinch-hit in the 10th it may have been an indication that he could play in the series finale Wednesday. He struck out in the pinch-hit role.
A's (Tommy Milone 0-1) at L.A. Angels (Tyler Skaggs 1-0), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA