OAKLAND, Calif. -- As the Oakland A's prepared to take batting practice Saturday before facing the Los Angeles Angels, A's manager Bob Melvin said it was only a matter of time before left fielder Yoenis Cespedes snapped out of his hitting slump.
That time turned out to be sooner rather later.
Cespedes homered, tripled, doubled, drove in five runs and, for good measure, threw out two runners at home plate in the second inning, leading the Oakland A's to an 11-3 comeback victory in arguably the best game of his young career.
Cespedes went 3-for-5, scored twice and matched his career high for RBIs before a sellout crowd of 35,067 who came to O.co Coliseum to honor members from the A's 1974 World Series championship team, including Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi and Sal Bando.
"He had really been struggling," Melvin said. "When we needed him, he stepped up. All the festivities, everything going on before. Fans are out in full force doing their thing. All of a sudden he just becomes a different player. I would say that definitely plays into it."
Cespedes' two defensive gems in the second drew as much, if not more, praise from Melvin and his teammates than his power-hitting show. The Angels had four singles off A's left-hander Tommy Milone in that inning but came away empty as Cespedes threw out catcher Chris Iannetta and right fielder Kole Calhoun when they tried to score from second on singles.
"That really jump-started us," A's outfielder Craig Gentry said. "That game could have been out of hand quickly. He kept us in the game."
Cespedes said he wasn't surprised when, after he threw out Iannetta, Angels third base coach Gary DiSarcina sent Calhoun home on left fielder Grant Green's two-out single.
"After the first play at home plate," Cespedes said, "I was ready and prepared myself because I knew if something happened again they were going to send this guy because he's faster than the catcher."
First baseman Kyle Blanks hit a solo home run off Tyler Skaggs (4-3)and Cespedes hit a two-run triple off right-hander reliever Joe Smith during a six-run rally in the seventh inning that put the A's ahead 7-3.
Cespedes capped a four-run eighth inning with a three-run homer off Jarrett Grube, his 10th blast of the season.
"He's a good hitter," Smith said. "Obviously in that lineup he's one of their guys. That's one of the reasons ... why I'm here, to get him and (third baseman Josh) Donaldson out. I believe I can do it. It didn't happen tonight. He got me. It stinks, man. That lost the game. After that inning everything started going away."
Oakland increased its lead in the American League West to 3 1/2 games over the Angels, beating them for the second straight time.
Milone (3-4) gave up three runs on nine hits over six innings but didn't figure in the decision as his three-game winning streak survived -- thanks to Cespedes.
"We know that's what he's capable of," Milone said. "It's not surprising. I'm sure it's not surprising to anybody. It was just one of those days where he was feeling it."
Skaggs (4-3) allowed four runs on five hits over six innings and took the loss. He walked five and struck out seven.
In the seventh, Blanks hit Skaggs' first pitch over the left-center field wall for a home run, his second as an Athletic, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Pinch hitter Coco Crisp and second baseman Nick Punto hit back-to-back singles, ending Skaggs' night.
Smith intentionally walked shortstop Jed Lowrie, loading the bases and bringing the red-hot Donaldson to the plate. Donaldson grounded out to second, but his high hopper brought Crisp home with the tying run. Then Cespedes lined a two-run triple to right-center field, giving Oakland a 5-3 lead.
After Smith walked Norris, designated hitter Alberto Callaspo roped a two-run double down the right-field line, making it 7-3. Smith has allowed eight earned runs this season, seven of those against Oakland.
"We've got to play our game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't do enough to win. We had that game set up the way we needed it."
NOTES: Angels CF Mike Trout was a late scratch from the lineup because of upper back stiffness. He also might miss Sunday's series finale, manager Mike Scioscia said. "He'll get treatment on it and we'll see," Scioscia said.... Oakland 1B Brandon Moss (strained right calf) was out of the lineup on Saturday and likely will miss Sunday's game, A's manager Bob Melvin said. Moss left the game Friday night in the top of the third inning. ... Angels RHP Jarrett Grube was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and LHP Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment.