Sam Fuld wandered into center field in the ninth inning Friday night as A's manager Bob Melvin changed pitchers. Fuld turned to fellow outfielders Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry and marveled at the loud, electric atmosphere.

"I had never seen it like this," Fuld said. "It was fun."

Fuld and his teammates especially enjoyed snapping out of their August funk. They took round one of this showdown series against the Angels, riding the right arm of Sonny Gray to a 5-3 victory before a boisterous Coliseum crowd of 33,810.

The win shaved Oakland's deficit to one game in the American League West, with 35 left. Jon Lester takes the mound Saturday night, hoping to make things all square.

Gray had endured a strangely empty month until Friday night, with an 0-4 record and 4.94 ERA (after a 5-0 July). Then he mostly smothered the Angels, aside from solo home runs by Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton.

Melvin gave Gray a chance to post his second complete game of the season. But he walked Hamilton with one out in the ninth, prompting the call for closer Sean Doolittle.

Doolittle allowed two singles, one walk and a run (charged to Gray), an uncommonly messy appearance. He secured his 19th save by striking out pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta with a wicked fastball on the inside corner.