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LAA@TEX: Weaver perfect into fifth to earn win No. 14

The last time the Angels and the A's faced each other, they had losing records. Now, they're two of the most prominent players in the AL Wild Card race.

The Angels fell to the White Sox, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon, falling a half-game behind the Tigers in the Wild Card standings. That broke a string of 15 straight days that the Angels and A's each held at least a share of the lead in the Wild Card race. They begin a three-game series on Monday, although each team's manager downplayed its significance.

"I do scoreboard watch. I wonder how the Angels are doing every day," Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said. "When you start getting into the middle of September and you start looking at matchups and what you're trying to do, you're certainly going to try and put together where you need to be and what's going to give you the best opportunity to get there, but not now."

The Angels have lost four of their last five games, with a different reliever taking the loss each time. Their bullpen, without Scott Downs (shoulder strain) and Jordan Walden (biceps tendinitis), has posted a 9-plus ERA since the Angels began a 10-game road trip in Arlington a week ago. The Angels have given up a seventh-inning lead and a pair of 10th-inning advantages in their last five games.

"They hurt. You can't sleep at night," Torii Hunter said. "... It's tough to sleep at night and swallow those losses late in the innings like that when you battle. But that's part of baseball."

After going a team-record 19-5 in July, the A's have dropped three out of five games in August, including a 6-5 decision in Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays. They will face an Angels team that sends ace Jered Weaver to the mound in Monday's series opener. Weaver's 14 wins and 2.29 ERA lead the Majors and he is 9-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 11 starts. He gave up two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Rangers, making him the first pitcher in seven years to win six games in a month as he went 6-0 in July.

"It's always tough when you play the Angels," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Since [Mike] Trout has come up, they've been a different team. [Albert] Pujols is swinging the bat again. They're strong in the bullpen, they've added to the rotation here at the Deadline. ... They're a very deep team."

Rookie right-hander Jarrod Parker will start for the A's. He was saddled with a loss for just the second time in his last nine starts when he gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to the Rays on Wednesday. Parker gave up one run on five hits over seven innings, striking out eight and walking one, in his only career start against the Angels May 23, a 3-1, 11-inning A's loss.

Angels: Wells slumping
Since returning July 27 from a right thumb injury that forced him to miss 55 games, Vernon Wells has gone hitless in 15 at-bats, striking out four times. He was hitting .244 with six home runs and 12 RBIs before getting hurt and has not recorded a hit since May 20.

"I think he's jumping at the ball," Scioscia said. "He's working on some things. ... There's a lot of things he's working on. Hopefully he's going to find something that's going to let him contribute what he can do and what we need."

Athletics: A's recovering from lengthy extra-inning games
The A's played 26 innings between Friday's win over the Blue Jays and Saturday's loss, their bullpen throwing 18 1/3 of them. A's relievers Evan Scribner and Pedro Figueroa combined to throw three scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss as the team's bullpen has posted a 2.11 ERA in its last three games. The A's get a day off Thursday after playing on 16 straight days.

"We've been on the field a lot in high-pressure situations throughout very long games, so it mounts on you a little bit," Melvin said. "The schedule on top of that has not been in our favor in that we've played so many games in a row. We do finally have an off day after the Angels series, but it's something you go through over the course of a season a couple times.

Worth noting
• Dan Straily became the Major League-leading 18th A's rookie to make an appearance this year, currently tied with the 1983 Oakland squad for the second most in team history. Twenty-one rookies played for the 2008 A's. A team-record dozen rookies took the mound for the A's in 2009, one more than this season.

• Josh Reddick hit a team-high 24th home run on Sunday, bringing the team's season total to 117, the most since 2009. The A's, however, lead the Majors with 898 strikeouts this season, including 102 in their last nine games, while posting a Majors-worst .229 batting average this year. Comments