(Sports Network) - The weekend couldn't have gone better for the Oakland
Athletics. They'll try to inch closer to the their second straight AL West
title on Monday night in the first of three straight meetings with the LA
Angels of Anaheim.
Oakland pushed its winning streak to five straight with a three-game sweep of
Texas over the weekend. That moved the A's 6 1/2 games ahead of the Rangers
for first place in the division, giving them a magic number of eight to clinch
the AL West crown.
The Athletics finished off the sweep with a 5-1 victory on Sunday despite
outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and starter Jarrod Parker being scratched before
Cespedes is battling right shoulder soreness and is expected to have an MRI on
Monday, while Parker was unable to go due to illness.
Tommy Milone stepped in and hurled five innings of one-run ball and was backed
by homers from Josh Reddick, Chris Young and Josh Donaldson.
"We have a good lead but...we don't want to get too comfortable," said
Donaldson following Oakland's eighth victory in nine games.
The A's turn to rookie Sonny Gray tonight and he has gone 3-3 with a 2.63
earned run average in nine games this year, including seven starts. He has
given up more than two earned runs in just one of those starts while posting a
1.83 ERA over his last three.
The right-handed Gray is coming off an 18-3 win over Minnesota. He gave up two
runs on four hits and three walks over five innings, striking out seven for a
third start in a row.
Gray, 23, will make his first start versus the Angels, but did face them in
relief on July 19, hurling two scoreless innings.
Though a disappointing five games under .500, the Angels have won five of
their last six and secured a series victory over the Houston Astros with
Sunday's 2-1 win.
Josh Hamilton and Andrew Romine each drove in a run, while Jerome Williams
earned his third straight win after yielding one run over seven innings of
work. His lone mistake was a game-tying solo homer in the fourth inning.
"I probably threw three balls up in the zone, two by design, one by accident,"
Williams said. "That one by accident was a homer."
C.J. Wilson has been a bright spot this year for the Angels and makes his 31st
start of the campaign. He is 16-6 with a 3.44 ERA and has not lost since July
The left-hander won his third straight start and eighth consecutive decision
with Wednesday's 5-4 win over Toronto. Wilson logged seven innings and gave up
four runs -- three earned -- on four hits and four walks, fanning six.
"Of all the things we've talked about this year that haven't worked out, C.J.
is on the other side of that ledger," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's
having just a terrific season, pitching deep into games. He's going to be 200-
plus innings again. Every stat you look at is terrific for him."
Wilson's current undefeated streak includes back-to-back wins over Oakland on
July 20 and 25. The 32-year-old allowed three runs over 15 1/3 innings while
fanning 14, moving to 10-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 45 career meetings with the A's,
including 16 starts.
The Athletics have won nine of 13 versus the Angels this season.
The Sports Network