The 25-year-old left-hander, who won 40 games over the previous two seasons, improved to 11-5 with Sunday’s 5-2 victory over San Francisco. Mulder, who helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly, is 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA over his last four starts.
“I just didn’t want to ground into the double play,” Mulder said after driving in his first run of the season. “I was just trying to hit something hard somewhere and I did, luckily.”
Mulder is trying to pull even with Toronto’s Roy Halladay, who has won 12 straight decisions.
The 11 victories should position Mulder for his first-ever All-Star Game appearance, something the superstitious southpaw refuses to discuss. A’s manager Ken Macha is already making a case for Mulder’s inclusion in the Midsummer Classic.
“If you win that many games—he’s earned it,” Macha said. “It’s not up to me whether he goes, but if it would be, I’d send him.”
The Angels had won five of six before Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Texas Rangers.
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 11 1/2 GB, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 6 GB, AL West.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Sele (4-6, 6.29 ERA). Still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, Sele snapped a three-game losing streak with Sunday’s 3-1 win over Los Angeles. The veteran right-hander, who had a 5.93 ERA during the three-game skid, allowed just four hits over five scoreless innings, leaving after throwing 70 pitches. Sele has fared well in his 27 career starts against Oakland, going 13-6 with a 3.84 ERA.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Mulder (11-5, 3.25 ERA). Opponents are hitting .265 and have an on-base percentage of .309 against Mulder, who has struck out 74 and walked 29 over 121 2-3 innings. He is 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA in nine career starts against Anaheim.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .310 avg., 19 HRs and 71 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 50 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .323 avg., 50 runs and 7 SBs; Eric Chavez, 16 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 55 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - OF Anderson is hitting .321 with two doubles, three homers and five RBIs in 28 career at-bats against LHP Mulder. … OF Erstad needs one homer for 100 in his career. … Manager Mike Scioscia is two wins shy of 300. He is trying to join Bill Rigney (625) and Gene Mauch (379) as the only Angels managers to reach the mark. Athletics - SS Tejada is hitting .318 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs in 44 career at-bats against RHP Sele. … Oakland is 17-13 against the AL West this season. … DH Erubiel Durazo has reached base safely in 32 of his last 33 games. He’s hitting .310 with 28 walks in that span.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 18-23 on the road; Athletics - 30-13 at home.