The Athletics try to complete their first three-game road sweep of the Angels since July 3-5, 1998, when the teams conclude their series on Wednesday.
Oakland (48-52) trails the first-place Angels by 9 1/2 games, but has rattled off five straight victories over Los Angeles (57-42). The Athletics are outscoring the Angels 25-11 during that stretch while posting a 2.20 ERA.
Oakland rookie Travis Buck went 4-for-5 with a homer, double, three RBIs and two runs scored in Tuesday’s 4-3 win. He also prevented the tying run from scoring in the eighth with a diving catch in right-center.
“This guy is going to be a really good player. You can see it,” A’s manager Bob Geren said of the 23-year-old Buck. “(He) was obviously the big offensive hero tonight.
“He did a tremendous job hitting the ball to the opposite field and showing power to the opposite field.”
The A’s have won four of six following a season-high nine-game skid and are now trying to win three in a row for first time since June 13-15. They’ll hand the ball to Joe Blanton (8-7, 3.53 ERA), who is trying to avoid losing a fourth straight start.
The right-hander has posted a 6.52 ERA over his last three defeats while allowing opponents to hit .360. He has given up 10 or more hits in each of those games after allowing that mark just twice in his first 18 starts.
Blanton gave up six runs and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-1 loss to Baltimore on Friday. He has received one run of support or less in 27 of his 85 career starts, going 1-22 in those games.
Blanton is 1-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 career games versus the Angels - his most defeats against any opponent. The lone win came on April 8 when he held them to one run over 5 1-3 innings in a 2-1 victory.
Los Angeles is 31-16 at home this season, but has dropped six of its last eight games there. The Angels have lost seven of their last nine overall, but have performed much better with John Lackey (12-6, 3.21) on the mound, going 14-6 in his 20 starts this season.
The right-hander is again trying to match his win total from last season when he went 13-11 in 33 starts. He failed to register that victory on Friday when he gave up seven runs and 10 hits, both season highs, over five innings in a 7-5 defeat to Minnesota.
“I wasn’t aggressive enough,” Lackey said. “I have no excuses. I didn’t pitch well. We lost this game because of me … It bothers me a lot.”
Lackey is 10-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 20 career starts versus the A’s - his most wins versus any opponent - while holding them to a .229 batting average. He has split two starts against Oakland this season, including a 3-0 defeat on April 18 when he gave up three runs over seven innings to snap a four-start winning streak against the A’s.