Oakland looks to put more distance between itself and third-place Anaheim when it continues a 12-game road trip at Edison Field.
This trip started poorly for the Athletics, who were swept in a four-game series by Minnesota before winning two straight against Kansas City.
After managing just two hits Wednesday in a 6-0 loss to Seattle, Oakland received a brilliant pitching performance form Mark Mulder in a 3-0 victory Thursday.
Mulder scattered seven hits and struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings, as the A’s moved within four games of the Mariners and maintained a 5 1/2 -game lead over the Angels.
Although Oakland shortstop Miguel Tejada has hit safely in all eight games since the All-Star break, he hasn’t provided much production, with no homers and one RBI in that span. Tejada is batting just .128 (5-for-39) in nine games this season against the Angels.
Anaheim has hovered around .500 for most of this season, and is 8 1/2 games behind Boston in the wild-card race.
Since opening the second half with five straight losses, the Angels have won two of three, including a 10-6 victory at Texas Thursday.
The defending champions should be happy to get back to Edison Field, where they have outscored opponents 31-8 during a five-game win streak. Anaheim is 29-20 at home this season, including a three-game sweep of Oakland from April 11-13.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL West. Angels - 3rd place, 9 1/2 GB, AL West.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Lilly (5-8, 5.22 ERA). Lilly is 0-3 in his last four starts. The left-hander yielded six runs in five innings of a 6-4 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Lilly won consecutive starts on June 17 and 22, but those are his only two victories in his last 11 starts. He is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in three career starts against Anaheim.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: John Lackey (7-9, 5.23 ERA). The inconsistent Lackey is 4-5 in his last 10 starts. The right-hander gave up 11 hits, one off his season high, and six runs in five innings of a 7-6 loss to Baltimore on Sunday. Lackey is 1-0 in four career starts against Oakland, with two of them coming this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .287 avg.; Eric Chavez, 19 HRs, Tejada, 57 RBIs and 55 runs; Byrnes and Chavez, 7 SBs. Angels - Garret Anderson, .320 avg., 23 HRs and 85 RBIs; Tim Salmon, 56 runs; Adam Kennedy, 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Angels, 5-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - Oakland has 10 shutouts this season, second in the majors to Seattle’s 11. … OF Byrnes is just 2-for-20 since the All-Star break. … RHP Keith Foulke has not allowed a hit in 6 1-3 innings over his last six appearances, collecting one win and three saves. Angels - After Thursday’s win, the Angels optioned OF Chone Figgins to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled OF Alfredo Amezaga. … 1B Scott Spiezio is batting .387 (12-for-31) with nine RBIs in his last seven games. … DH Shawn Wooten snapped out of a 5-for-35 slump by going 2-for-4 Thursday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 21-28 on the road; Angels - 29-20 at home.
INJURIES: Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL. Angels - 1B Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; 3B Troy Glaus (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL.
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