Looking to continue their success in Anaheim, the visiting A's hope to end their recent struggles against Jered Weaver and hand the underachieving Angels a fourth consecutive defeat Friday night.
For the first time since 1990 - the last time it won the AL pennant - Oakland (56-39) is in first place at the All-Star break with a two-game lead over Texas. It also tied a club record for most wins at the break."I really believe that the guys in this clubhouse really believe that we have one of the best teams in baseball," said third baseman Josh Donaldson , who leads the A's in batting (.310), home runs (16) and RBIs (61).
Oakland also has a 2.76 staff ERA in winning 12 of 17 since last losing a series at Seattle from June 21-23.
"From 1 to 25, we feel like we can put anybody in the game and they're going to be successful," Donaldson said.
Second-year outfielder and 2013 Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes is hitting .225, but has 15 homers and 43 RBIs."His production's still there," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's always on the verge of a hot streak."
Cespedes has batted .321 with a homer and seven RBIs this season versus Los Angeles (44-49), which snapped a five-game skid against the A's with a 5-4 win May 1.
The A's outscored the Angels 28-11 to sweep a three-game set at Los Angeles in April. Oakland has averaged 5.1 runs while winning 10 of 12 there.
However, Weaver (3-5, 3.63 ERA) has thrown 18 straight scoreless innings versus Oakland. He yielded only a Seth Smith solo home run over 30 2-3 innings to go 3-0 in four starts against the A's last season.
The right-hander, who missed almost two months with a broken elbow, allowed two runs in 20 2-3 while going 2-0 in three starts before he gave up four and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to the Mariners on Saturday.
Los Angeles starting pitchers rank near the bottom of the majors with a 4.57 ERA.
"We're not going to reach our goal without starting pitching," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official website.
They had won 11 of 14 before being limited to six runs during a three-game sweep at the hands of Seattle last weekend."We need to become the team we can be and play consistent baseball," Scioscia said. "It's in this group. We just need to get it going."
It likely needs to start with Hamilton and Pujols, who are hitting a combined .237 with 29 homers - eight less than Baltimore's Chris Davis .
Pujols is 0 for 8 in the last two versus Oakland and 1 for 6 against scheduled starter A.J. Griffin (8-6, 3.68).
Hamilton is 4 for 7 against the right-hander, who is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last five starts after giving up six hits in eight innings of a 3-0 win over Boston on Saturday.
Griffin is 2-0 against the Angels, with the only run he allowed in 16 innings of those road contests coming over eight frames of an 8-1 victory April 11.
|June 29, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring cramp|
|June 20, 2013||Derek Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin injury|
|June 11, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|June 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Nondisplaced bone fracture, right wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist|
|June 23, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb injury|
|June 21, 2013||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Right wrist soreness|
|June 21, 2013||Tommy Hanson||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|June 18, 2013||Jason Vargas||15-Day DL||Blood clot, left arm|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Sidelined most of April and May, Jered Weaver is back to his usual dominance in July.
The right-hander, who missed two months with a broken elbow, extended his scoreless-innings streak against Oakland to 24 2-3 while helping the Los Angeles Angels come out of the All-Star break with a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
Weaver threw a season-high 118 pitches and improved to 3-1 in July, a month in which his winning percentage of .774 since 2006 is the best in the majors.
"I looked up in the fourth or fifth inning and the pitch count was up there but it definitely didn't feel like it," Weaver said. "The 4-0 lead helps out a little bit and the defense played well behind me."
The Angels got homers from Albert Pujols , Erick Aybar and Mike Trout to snap a three-game skid and close within 10 games of the first-place Athletics.
Weaver (4-5) allowed four hits in 6 2-3 innings while striking out a season-high eight and walking four. The previous club record for scoreless innings against the A's was 21, by Bob Lee in 1964-65.
"My slider was real good and I was able to throw that where I needed to, especially against lefties," Weaver said. "You want to try to utilize all your pitches throughout a game. Certain pitches weren't there early, but I was able to get them later on."
Last season, Weaver gave up a solo homer to Seth Smith over 30 2-3 innings while going 3-0 in four starts against the A's. Since 2011, the right-hander has dominated the A's with a 7-1 record and 0.84 ERA in 10 starts.
"He'll throw anything in any count," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And when he gets you to two strikes, that's when he'll throw his fastball the most and try to elevate and get you to chase. He had a good slider and he had a good curveball that he could drop in there when he was behind in the count."
Ernesto Frieri earned his 23rd save in 25 chances on his 28th birthday.
The Angels, who finished under .500 at the break for the first time since 2006, gave manager Mike Scioscia his 1,200th career win.
"We've dug a big hole. We know what we're up against and we also know it's doable," Scioscia said.
A.J. Griffin (8-7) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked one for the first-place A's. His three-game winning streak in his previous four starts ended with his first loss since June 15 against Seattle.
"I feel like I pitched pretty well," Griffin said. "I gave up three home runs, but I felt like I was executing my pitches pretty well for the most part."
The Angels extended their lead to 4-0 in the fifth on homers by Aybar and Trout. Aybar led off the inning with his fourth of the season, while Trout's 16th went to left field.
"Every game is big, especially against these guys," Trout said.
The Angels will play 13 of their first 20 games after the break against the A's and Texas, the two teams ahead of them in the standings.
"We're not in the position we thought we would be, but we're still going to go out there and battle," said Weaver, the first pitcher to allow no runs in three straight starts against the A's since David Cone in 1996-97.
Pujols, whose career .335 average in the second half of the season leads all active players, slugged his 16th homer with two outs in the third.
"I don't look at numbers," he said before the game. "I don't sit and look at the computer and papers. That's a distraction you put in your mind."
Josh Hamilton 's RBI double to right field got past a diving Josh Reddick . It scored J.B. Shuck, who reached on an infield single to third and continued to second on a throwing error by third baseman Josh Donaldson .
Oakland scored its lone run on a RBI double by Chris Young in the ninth off Kevin Jepsen .
"We looked like we've been off for a few days, and that's no excuse because the other team was going through the same thing we are," Melvin said. "We looked a little out of sync."
Notes: Oakland LF Yoenis Cespedes , who won the Home Run Derby on Monday during All-Star festivities, was scratched just before the game with a sore left wrist. "It came up today in batting practice," Melvin said. "When he was taking some swings in the cage, he still felt it, so we pulled him out." ... Angels OF Peter Bourjos , on the DL with a right wrist fracture, will be re-evaluated on Monday, but isn't expected back for a couple weeks. ... Scioscia is 1,200-1,000 in his managerial career. ... Angels RHP Tommy Hansen, on the DL with a strained right forearm, is a candidate to start on Tuesday against Minnesota. ... The announced crowd of 43,515 was the fourth sellout of the season.