ANAHEIM -- What could have been a spectacular road trip turned in to a merely very good road trip Wednesday night when the A's blew a ninth-inning lead, then lost 5-4 to the Angels on catcher Chris Iannetta's two-out solo homer in the 12th.

Instead of finishing 8-1 on the trip the A's had to settle for 7-2, which as catcher Derek Norris said shouldn't dampen the club's spirits. Winning seven of nine on a road trip is the stuff division titles are made.

Still, when you win seven of the first eight, you don't want to let that final game get away. And get away it did after Tommy Milone's pitching and Brandon Moss's three-run homer in the fourth inning.

Oakland led 4-1 as late as the seventh inning, but the Angels got a spark when Iannetta was hit by a pitch, or at least home plate umpire Tim Timmons thought so. The A's challenged the call, but got no reversal. Before the inning was over, a throwing error by Alberto Callaspo at first base and an RBI single by Albert Pujols led to two runs charged to Milone but which scored after Dan Otero came out of the bullpen.

"I know that ball didn't hit him," Milone said. "(Catcher) Derek (Norris) was able to block it and keep the ball in front of him, and he can't do that if the ball hit him. But you can't worry about it. It got away, and you have to get after it again."

The A's bullpen was thin to start with, thanks to the 11 innings the two teams put in Tuesday, but Luke Gregerson, who was given Tuesday off, took over to pitch the ninth with a one-run lead. Back-to-back singles by the Angels' two most professional hitters, Mike Trout and Pujols set up the inning with one out. Gregerson was two outs away from escaping with a save, but Howie Kendrick's slow grounder was too snail-like for third baseman Josh Donaldson to be able to turn the double play.

"That's where the HBP changes things," Norris said. "It changes the inning. One run for sure doesn't score." And if that was the case, Kendrick's grounder wouldn't have tied the game.

"We went to the ninth inning with the lead," manager Bob Melvin said. "You put it behind you and you move on."

The game moved on to the 11th, when Coco Crisp stole his 145th base as a member of the A's moving past Reggie Jackson and sitting alone in fifth place on the Oakland charts. The steal came with one out after a walk, but Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes both hit grounders that couldn't get the job done.

Drew Pomeranz, who had thrown 22/3 shutout innings in the 11-inning win Tuesday, came close to getting another two shutout innings under his belt. But with two outs, he started Iannetta off with a fastball and the catcher launched a missile deep into the Anaheim night, the ball landing in the shrubs beyond the center field wall with center fielder Craig Gentry groaning as the game and the night slipped away.

"He was sitting on a first-pitch fastball, it's as simple as that," Pomeranz said. "Second guessing the pitch isn't going to do any good."

John Jaso, who by that time was catching, said Pomeranz had executed the pitch that had been called.

"He threw a fastball to try and get ahead," Jaso said. "Iannetta put a very good swing on it. The ball was down. Maybe it didn't have as much movement on it as some of his others, but it wasn't bad."

The A's still have the best record in the American League at 10-5, and they have a much-needed day off Thursday after this three-city swing through Minneapolis, Seattle and Anaheim. Houston comes in for a three-game Coliseum set this weekend.

"This doesn't dampen the trip, not at all," Norris said. "7-2 is a really good trip."

  • Manager Bob Melvin said he was prepared to use Jim Johnson to close the game in extra innings if the A's had taken the lead. But he didn't want to use the overworked Johnson other than that. At this point, The A's are still doing a closer-by-committee.

  • Josh Reddick, he of the one RBI and .098 batting average in his first 11 games, sat out Wednesday's start. Is it a hair or beard thing, ala Sampson? Reddick hit .333 in spring training and led the team with 15 RBIs, but early in the season he ran into a barber who got his signals mixed and trimmed Reddick's long flowing locks to the point where Reddick felt compelled to trim the beard just so it wouldn't look too odd. "I personally think it's the hair more than the beard," Reddick said. He had a "Beard-Off" with WWE wrestling star Daniel Bryan last year but was injured early in the season and even trimming the beard didn't turn around a season when his homer production went from 32 to 12. "We'll let it grow out and see what happens." As for sitting, Reddick said, `I'd rather play."

  • Crisp walked and stole a base but didn't play in the field. His left wrist appears to be fine, and the fact that he stole second suggests that his left hamstring is no longer an issue and he could be in the lineup Friday against the Astros.

  • Brandon Moss now has 15 RBIs in the A's first 15 games. His homer Wednesday against a left-handed pitcher may get him into the lineup more often against lefties.

  • Josh Donaldson extended his hitting streak to 10 games, one shy of his career best.

  • Starter Scott Kazmir (triceps) said he was feeling great after throwing on flat ground Wednesday and is ready to start Saturday. "I'm 100 percent ready," he said.

  • The A's announced the April 4 postponed game against the Mariners will be made up as part of a traditional doubleheader on May 7 beginning at 12:35 p.m.

  • The club claimed right-handed pitcher Marcus Walden off waivers from Toronto and optioned him immediately to Triple-A Sacramento. Walden, 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA as a reliever with Buffalo this season, was a starter last year at Double-A New Hampshire where he went 6-14 with a 3.71 ERA.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.

    FRIDAY'S GAME
    Houston (Jarred Cosart 1-1) at A's (Sonny Gray 2-0), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA