MLB

Athletics-Angels Preview

Before the Los Angeles Angels go on the road to face one of the teams they're chasing, they can't overlook a series with the AL's worst club.

That's unlikely to happen given how things unfolded the last time All-Star Hector Santiago squared off against the struggling Felix Doubront.

Santiago was outpitched by the fellow left-hander and they'll meet again Monday night in Anaheim as the Angels seek a sixth straight victory.

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Los Angeles (81-74) trails AL West leader Texas by three games and is one-half game behind Houston, which holds the league's second wild card. The Angels begin a four-game set against the Rangers on Thursday.

The club must first focus on a three-game home set against Oakland (65-91), which is an AL-worst 14-30 against left-handed starters. Santiago (9-9, 3.47 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two home outings against the Athletics.

Those came before he faced Doubront (3-3, 5.53) in Oakland on Aug. 31. Santiago was charged with five runs over 2 2-3 innings, while Doubront gave up four runs in six-plus innings to notch his second victory in an 11-5 rout.

Doubront also won the following outing before going 0-2 with a 10.20 ERA in the next three, yielding six homers over 15 innings. He was charged with seven runs over 4 2-3 innings in Wednesday's 10-3 defeat to the Rangers.

"For the most part the cutter's his pitch and he just hasn't been getting it in like he normally does," manager Bob Melvin said.

The Angels are enjoying their longest win streak since a season-high, seven-game run July 12-22. They capped a three-game sweep of Seattle with Sunday's 3-2 victory on Kole Calhoun's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning.

"Every game is crucial," Calhoun said. "Somebody has got to step up in every single game, and that's what I had to do down the stretch."

Los Angeles improved to an AL-best 32-16 in one-run games. That's in stark contrast to Oakland, which fell to 18-33 for baseball's second-worst mark in one-run contests after its rally from five runs down fell short in a 5-4 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.

"We had many games like this where we're down pretty good and we come back and we just couldn't finish it off," Melvin said.

Santiago is 2-3 with a 6.44 ERA in his last seven outings, failing to record an out past the fifth inning six times.

Josh Reddick is 5 for 13 off Santiago and Danny Valencia is 5 for 11.

Valencia is day to day after leaving Sunday in the fourth inning when he was hit by a pitch on the left elbow.

"X-rays are negative so we'll just see how he feels tomorrow," Melvin said.

A short start by Santiago would hamper the Angels in this final week with no off days since two of their top relievers are out. AL saves leader Huston Street injured his groin Saturday and fellow right-hander Joe Smith has a sprained left ankle.

Mike Morin pitched a perfect ninth inning Sunday in place of Street for his first career save.

The Angels have taken nine of 16 from the A's. Calhoun and Albert Pujols have combined for 28 RBIs in the season series.