Oakland (68-70) at Los Angeles (80-56)

Cloudy Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Mon Sep 3, 2007
  • TV: FSBA, FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Angels hold a commanding lead in the AL West, but they certainly haven’t played their best when facing the Oakland Athletics.

The Angels look for a better effort on Monday when they open a three-game series with the Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Los Angeles (80-56) has a 6 1/2 game lead over Seattle in the AL West, the biggest advantage for any division leader, and is 13 games ahead of third-place Oakland (68-70).

But the Angels have dropped eight of their 13 meetings with the Athletics this season, averaging just 3.3 runs and batting .245. For the season, Los Angeles is averaging 5.2 runs and batting .285.

Los Angeles also is a major-league best 45-22 at home, but hasn’t won a series there versus Oakland - splitting a four-game set in April and losing a three-game series July 23-25.

The Angels are trying to bounce back after losing a weekend series to last-place Texas. Los Angeles won the opener on Friday for its fifth straight victory, but dropped the final two games, including an 8-7 defeat on Sunday.

After reliever Scot Shields gave up the go-ahead grand slam to Hank Blalock in the eighth inning, the Angels rallied with two in the ninth, but Garret Anderson struck out with the bases loaded to end the game. Shields, the Angels’ set-up man, is 1-3 with a dismal 10.00 ERA in 21 games since the All-Star break.

“We could consider a role change,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site. “We could work a little bit off the mound. There are a lot of things we’re going to look at.”

While Los Angeles couldn’t get the clutch hit Sunday, Oakland did when rookie Jack Hannahan blooped a game-winning single in the 10th inning to give the A’s an 8-7 victory over Detroit.

Oakland trailed 7-0 in the fifth, but fellow rookie Kurt Suzuki hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth and the A’s went on to take the three-game series. The bottom three players in the Oakland lineup - Hannahan, Marco Scutaro and Suzuki - combined to go 7-for-13 with seven RBIs and four runs.

The A’s will try to keep their resurgent offense going against Ervin Santana (5-12, 6.38 ERA), who is looking to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander threw just 23 pitches in one-third of an inning on Tuesday, giving up five runs and four hits with two walks, but didn’t get a decision as the Angels rallied for a 10-6 win over Seattle.

Santana is 0-6 with an 8.28 ERA over his last nine starts. He does stand a good chance, though, of getting back on track versus the A’s, against whom he’s 6-1 with a 1.55 ERA in eight career starts. The six wins are the most he’s had against any opponent.

Oakland’s Chad Gaudin (10-9, 4.06) looks to record his third straight quality start. The right-hander went 8-3 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break, but dropped his first five decisions of the second half.

He is 2-1 in his last four starts and has been especially strong in his last two, allowing just three runs through 14 innings. Gaudin gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings on Tuesday, but didn’t factor in the 5-4 loss to Toronto.

“He’s starting to get it going again,” Oakland manager Bob Geren told the A’s official Web site. “He looks like he’s back to his first-half form.”

Gaudin is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 career games, including four starts, versus the Angels. He lost 6-4 to them on Aug. 2 when he gave up five runs over six innings.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Gaudin LAD vs. E. Santana Min
11-13 Record 7-14
4.42 ERA 5.76
154 K 126
100 BB 58
1.53 WHIP 1.55

Scoreboard

Monday, Sep 3