The Angels (54-51) hope to bounce back from a lethargic offensive effort when they continue their three-game set on Tuesday against the first-place Athletics (56-50) at Angel Stadium.
Los Angeles missed a chance to take over first place in the AL West with a 3-1 loss on Monday. It trails Oakland by 1 1/2 games in a race in which all four teams in the division are separated by only four games.
The Angels took the field Monday without taking batting practice after getting back to California at 4:30 a.m. following their 10-4 victory at Boston on Sunday. They managed eight hits—only two for extra bases—against Oakland starter Dan Haren, who recorded his fifth career complete game.
Juan Rivera concluded his torrid month by matching a club record with his 11th homer in July, tying the mark set by Don Baylor in 1979. Rivera, who has a career-high 17 homers, finished July with a .364 average and 25 RBIs in 25 games.
Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero was hitless in four at-bats Monday and is 2-for-17 in his last four games against the A’s. He had a 10-game hitting streak at home snapped in which he batted .538 (21-for-39) with 13 RBIs.
Los Angeles will send rookie Joe Saunders (1-0, 1.29 ERA) to the mound Tuesday for his fourth career start and second this year. He’s replacing injured ace Bartolo Colon, who is back on the disabled list due to tendinitis in his pitching elbow.
Saunders earned his first career win in his season debut on July 18 against Cleveland by giving up two runs and four hits over seven innings in a 7-5 victory.
“I was real nervous (last year),” Saunders said. “This year, I was more relaxed and more comfortable.”
The left-hander went 0-0 with a 7.71 ERA in two starts for the Angels in 2005.
Oakland has held at least a share of first place in the AL West for 46 of the last 47 days. The A’s have won five of their last six games, posting a 2.83 ERA in that stretch.
Oakland improved to 3-0 on the road against Los Angeles this season, limiting the Angels to a total of four runs in those games.
A’s starter Joe Blanton (11-8, 4.78) has never beaten the Angels, going 0-4 with a 3.03 ERA against them in five starts. Oakland has scored a total of 13 runs in those games.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA over his last three outings and is tied with Barry Zito for the team lead in victories. Blanton pitched seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits to win his last start, 5-2 over Toronto last Thursday.