Athletics-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

While the Oakland Athletics couldn't overtake the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels last weekend, they're about to get another shot.

Sonny Gray squares off against C.J. Wilson as these division rivals meet again Thursday night in the first of four games at Angel Stadium.

Oakland (78-54) posted back-to-back wins over the Angels on Friday and Saturday to draw even with Los Angeles before dropping one game back with Sunday's 9-4 defeat. That's where the second-place A's enter this series after taking two of three at Houston.

Oakland rallied for a 5-4 win Wednesday thanks to Sam Fuld's tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth. Coco Crisp also went deep and Eric O'Flaherty converted his first save since taking over for injured closer Sean Doolittle.

"You want some momentum going in (to Anaheim)," manager Bob Melvin told MLB's official website. "To be able to come back and fight like that makes for a better flight."

Oakland has won five of eight after a season-worst five-game losing streak. The A's lead the majors with 12 wins when trailing after seven innings.

"An ugly win is as good as any kind of win," Fuld said. "Sometimes that's the sort of win that can kind of get you going, knowing we can do it without playing our best. Hopefully, we can build on it a bit and play better this weekend."

The Angels (79-53) have won 11 of 15 after posting back-to-back victories over Miami. Mike Trout went 2 for 3 and matched a career high with his 30th homer in Wednesday's 6-1 victory.

"It's always cool to reach 30. But we have other things in our minds, like trying to reach the playoffs," said Trout, who's 9 for 24 with three homers, five RBIs and seven runs over the last six games. "We're still got a month left, so the only thing that's important is winning games."

Gordon Beckham homered for the first time with his new club, finishing 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs.

The Angels will try to stay hot against Gray (13-7, 3.00 ERA), who won 5-3 on Friday to snap a career-worst four-start losing streak. The right-hander served up solo homers to Trout and Josh Hamilton but was otherwise sharp, yielding three runs and six hits over 8 1-3 innings in the second-longest outing of his career.

Gray is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four appearances - three starts - versus Los Angeles. Trout is 3 for 8 with two homers in their matchups, but Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols are a combined 2 for 17.

Wilson (10-8, 4.45) is still looking to win a season-best third consecutive decision after going without one in Saturday's 2-1 defeat. The left-hander, who threw 6 1-3 innings of one-run ball, is 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his last seven starts versus Oakland. He's baffled several A's hitters over the years, including Crisp (5 for 37), Josh Reddick (3 for 21), Josh Donaldson (4 for 24), and Alberto Callaspo (5 for 26).

Wilson has posted a 1.96 ERA over his last three outings, but he owns a 7.46 mark in his last five at home.

Reddick is batting .195 with just one RBI in his last 13 games in the series.

Hamilton is batting .342 with three homers and 13 RBIs over a 10-game stretch against the A's.

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