Angels-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels were hoping to begin a run toward the top of the standings in Oakland, though one of the best pitchers in baseball halted that momentum.

They should stand a better chance to make up some ground against a pitcher they've hit hard.

The Angels look to bounce back with their fifth win in seven games in this series Saturday when they face Tommy Milone and the AL West-leading A's.

Red-hot Bartolo Colon tied for the major league lead with his 14th win, allowing two runs over six innings in Oakland's 6-4 victory over Los Angeles on Friday. Jed Lowrie broke out of a 4-for-36 slump with three hits, including a homer, to help the A's (60-43) win for the 21st time in 27 home games.

Now 11 games behind Oakland and tied for fourth place in the division, the Angels (48-53) will try to start chipping away at the deficit by continuing their recent success against Milone (8-8, 4.18 ERA).

Following the shortest start of his career - 2 2-3 innings - in a 5-0 loss at Pittsburgh on July 10, Milone responded by allowing two earned runs and five hits over six innings Monday as the A's rallied for a 4-3 win at Houston.

The left-hander, however, has gone 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA in his last three starts versus the Angels.

Los Angeles has hit five home runs off Milone in those meetings after Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick took him deep in a 5-4 victory in Oakland on May 1.

Kendrick (6 for 14), Josh Hamilton (6 for 14) and Erick Aybar (5 for 11) have done some damage against Milone, while Albert Pujols is 7 for 14 with six doubles.

Trumbo has gone 9 for 19 in his last five games overall, though Hamilton is 4 for 29 in his last seven. Kendrick should be back in the lineup after getting the day off Friday.

Another productive day at the plate versus Milone would certainly help Garrett Richards (2-4, 4.66).

The right-hander, who went 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA in four April starts, gets another shot in the rotation as he replaces 13-game loser Joe Blanton.

"I feel like this is an opportunity to go out and pitch and to show them what I can do," Richards told the team's official website. "Every opportunity I feel like is an audition for a job, whether that be in the starting rotation or in the bullpen or even on the team. I'm just going to go out and pitch."

Richards allowed a season-high seven runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 10-6 loss in Oakland on April 30. He's 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in five appearances against the A's after holding them to one hit over two innings of relief in Sunday's 6-0 home loss.

Slugger Yoenis Cespedes has a double and triple in three at-bats against Richards this season, but he's just 3 for 21 in his last seven home games.

Catchers Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt are a combined 4 for 8 with two homers and four RBIs in their two starts while filling in for John Jaso (concussion).

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