Jered Weaver gave the Los Angeles Angels all the relief they needed.
Weaver pitched a four-hitter for his major-league leading 15th victory, and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Monday night to overtake the final spot in the crowded AL wild card standings. After a burned-out bullpen was taxed while losing four of the previous five, the Angels ace gave the staff a much-needed night off.
"He's one of the best," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "And that's what the best do."
Weaver (15-1) struck out nine, walked none and faced the minimum through 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander has won nine straight and a career-best 10 consecutive decisions since his only loss of the season May 13 against Texas, ranking second in franchise history to Jarrod Washburn, who won 12 consecutive decisions in 2002.
"There's really no answer," Weaver said about his impressive run. "Things have been going my way."
Erick Aybar singled three times and scored twice in his first game back from the disabled list to move Los Angeles (59-51) ahead of Oakland (58-51) and Baltimore (58-51) by one victory. Detroit (59-50) is in line for the other wild card spot.
Jarrod Parker (7-6) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked one in Oakland's third straight loss and major-league leading 13th shutout this season.
"Jered did his job on the other side and I just needed to be better," Parker said. "When I start to aim that's when I get into trouble."
All the offense Weaver wanted came in typical Angels fashion.
Kendrys Morales doubled leading off the second and scored on a two-out single by Aybar, who had been on the disabled list since July 22 with a broken big toe on his right foot. Mike Trout singled home Aybar two batters later to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Trout also stole second in the first, second and eighth innings to extend his franchise record to 27 straight steals without being caught. He leads the majors with 36 stolen bases.
"He wreaks havoc out there," Parker said.
The Angels center fielder also singled to open the fifth but was called out sliding head-first into second on right fielder Josh Reddick's 13th assist. Trout immediately hopped up, furiously waving his hands and screaming at second base umpire Bill Miller in protest. Trout had to be restrained by both base coaches and manager Mike Scioscia.
In the end, the only motions that mattered came on the mound.
Weaver worked his way through the A's lineup with relative ease, facing the minimum through 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander erased the only base runner during that time — a single by Brandon Inge leading off the bottom of the third — when he got Eric Sogard to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels ace struck out the side in the fifth despite allowing a one-out single to Brandon Moss and didn't allow a runner on second until the sixth, when Eric Sogard reached on a groundout to second and advanced on Coco Crisp's ground out. Jemile Weeks popped up too short to end the inning.
"You always want that lead dog," Scioscia said of Weaver. "And Weave is that lead dog."
After consecutive singles by Aybar and Chris Iannetta in the seventh, Torii Hunter lined a two-run single up the middle to extend the Angels' lead to 4-0 and give Weaver more than enough room for error. Weaver now 11 career complete games and three this season, including a no-hitter against Minnesota on May 2.
"He's extremely frustrating," A's catcher Derek Norris said.
The one hitter Weaver never had to face has made all the difference for Oakland this season.
Yoenis Cespedes did not start for the second time in three games as he recovers from a right wrist sprain. After sitting out Saturday, he went 0 for 4 on Sunday, and A's manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes' wrist bothered the outfielder in his final two at-bats. Cespedes is day to day.
The A's are 46-29 when Cespedes starts and 12-22 when he doesn't.
NOTES: The Angels optioned SS Andrew Romine to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear space for Aybar on the roster. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington (left elbow) was scheduled to play three more games with Triple-A Sacramento and could rejoin the A's by the weekend. ... Oakland RHP Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.55 ERA) takes the mound opposite against Angels lefty C.J. Wilson (9-7, 3.27 ERA) on Tuesday.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP