OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Josh Hamilton is heating up at the right time, and Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia hopes he can keep going.
Hamilton homered and drove in three runs, Mike Trout also went deep and the Angels regained the best record on baseball, beating the Oakland Athletics 9-4 on Sunday night.
“This is huge for Josh,” Scioscia said. “You can see what he can bring from what he did today. He can control the game by himself.”
Erick Aybar had two hits and two RBIs and Kole Calhoun finished with three hits for the Angels, who ended a five-game losing streak to the A’s in Oakland. Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick each drove in a run as Los Angeles won for the ninth time in 12 games.
“We needed a ‘W’ tonight,” Trout said. “There are a lot of games left but any time you beat Oakland it’s big.”
Alberto Callaspo and Andy Parrino homered for Oakland, which had won three of four to move into a tie for the top spot in the AL West.
“It’s not even about a series any more. We have to bear down every single day,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “When you take the first two, you always want the third one, but you can’t complain when you take two of three.”
Jered Weaver (14-7) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings while improving to 7-1 with a 3.78 ERA in his last 13 starts. He allowed three runs and eight hits.
“It’s nice to end the series on top of the AL West division,” Weaver said. “This was obviously a huge game. We didn’t want to get swept, and the offense was the story of the game.”
Scott Kazmir (14-6) matched his season highs in runs (seven) and hits (10) in three-plus innings.
“There were times I felt I could take control of the game, get two strikes on a guy and then throw one right down the middle,” Kazmir said. “I felt like I wasn’t aggressive enough.”
Aybar contributed a two-run double when the Angels got to Kazmir for three runs in the second. Calhoun doubled home Aybar for a 3-0 lead.
Angels: LHP Joe Thatcher (left ankle sprain) remains behind schedule and has yet to throw a bullpen session. The Angels may just wait the extra week and activate him when rosters are expanded. … INF Grant Green (lower back strain) could start a rehab assignment soon.
Athletics: LHP Sean Doolittle (strained right intercostal) and INF Josh Donaldson (knee) each had an MRI during Sunday’s game. Doolittle went on the 15-day disabled list while Donaldson, who hurt his knee in his last at-bat on Saturday, is day to day. . C John Jaso will be placed on the 7-day concussion list before the A’s play Houston.
Angels: LHP Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 7.36 ERA) gets his first start of the season against Miami on Monday night. LeBlanc pitched for the Marlins the past two seasons and is 1-1 against them for his career.
Athletics: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-3, 4.07 ERA) takes the mound in Houston on Monday night. His five wins against the Astros are his most against any team.
A’S ADD CATCHER
Oakland acquired C Geovany Soto from Texas for cash. He was brought in because of Jaso’s continued problems with concussion-like symptoms.
TALE OF CALIFORNIA
The Angels are 4-8 against the A’s this season, including a 1-5 mark in Oakland. The teams meet again in Anaheim in a four-game set beginning on Thursday.
“There are years we’ve played well here,” Scioscia said. “This year they’ve got our number. They’ve played well at our place too.”
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