Angels target 4-game sweep of Athletics

( - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were looking for someone to give them a lift when Garrett Richards went down with a season- ending knee injury.

Rookie Matt Shoemaker has answered the call and on Sunday he goes after his fifth straight win and will try to help the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim complete a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics.

Shoemaker has been rock solid for the Angels this season, going 13-4 with a 3.33 ERA. He's certainly been on point his last two times out, as he has tossed 14 2/3 scoreless innings. In fact, he's given up two runs or less the last seven times he's taken the ball.

"If you're going to feel like you belong, you want to keep getting better each day and be successful," said Shoemaker, who is 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA in his last seven starts.

Shoemaker is also the Halos' first rookie 13-game winner since 1997.

"Although we don't have a crystal ball, you know that some guys are just waiting for an opportunity," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's tough enough to make it to the Major Leagues, but to make your footprints is a totally different chapter in your development. He is making the most of getting the baseball every fifth day and going out there and pitching." . Oakland will counter with lefty Scott Kazmir, who has lost two of his last three starts. Kazmir was hammered by the Angels last Sunday, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in just three innings to drop him to 14-6 on the year to go along with a 3.08 ERA.

"I hit maybe one spot the entire game," said Kazmir, whose ERA is above 3.00 for the first time all season. "I feel like I was kind of trying to trick people out there, throwing curveballs, sliders and changeups, instead of just really focusing on my fastball and establishing that. By the time I'd get to that pitch, it wasn't there -- it'd be up and away, it'd sail on me."

Kazmir, who played for the Angels from 2009-11, has faced the Angels six times and is 2-4 with a 6.19 ERA.

Los Angeles won its fifth straight game and stretched its lead in the AL West to four games on Saturday, as Erick Aybar had two hits, including an RBI single in a two-run fourth inning that was good enough for the Angels to steal a 2-0 win.

Reliever Cory Rasmus threw three one-hit innings in his first MLB start as the starting pitching-starved Angels took a committee-style approach to the game.

Eight guys threw pitches, with Yoslan Herrera (1-1) picking up the win and Huston Street working around a single in the ninth inning to earn his 11th save.

"Corey got us off on a great foot," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He did what we wanted him to do. You can't say enough about all the pitchers. Samardzija pitched great. We were fortunate to get runs off him."

Jeff Samardzija, in his 11th start since coming over from the Cubs this summer, pitched his second losing complete game for the A's. Samardzija (4-4) was economical in his eight innings, throwing just 102 pitches with 75 going for strikes.

"We're pressing offensively. Every one of those guys wants to get the big hit but it's not happening right now," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Jeff pitched great. Give credit to both teams as far as pitching is concerned."

These teams met last weekend in Oakland with the A's taking two of three. Despite what has transpired this weekend Oakland has still won eight of the 15 matchups between these teams this season.