Angels try to boost playoff hopes in meeting with A's

With hopes of a division title having evaporated, the Los game series tonight with the Oakland Athletics.

The Angels were handed a 3-1 setback by the A's in last night's opener and that defeat gave the Rangers the American League West crown thanks to their victory over the Mariners.

Los Angeles' second straight loss also dropped it 3 1/2 games behind Boston for the American League Wild Card. The Red Sox did not play on Friday after their game versus the Yankees was rained out.

The Angels had to like their chances of keeping their division title hopes alive last night with Jered Weaver taking the hill, but he fell to 18-8 after giving up three runs -- two earned -- over 8 1/3 innings.

"Jered pitched well and gave us a chance to win," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club got a game-tying homer from Torii Hunter in the seventh.

Jemile Weeks led off the game with a home run and David DeJesus also went deep for the A's, who have won two straight since losing six of eight.

Gio Gonzalez outdueled Weaver by allowing a run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings.

"Jemile's lead-off homer set the tone right off the bat," Gonzalez said. "I did my best to keep us in the game. I was extremely focused and wanted to pound the strike zone."

Facing a must-win situation, the Angels give the ball to Jerome Williams, who is 3-0 with a 3.22 earned run average in eight games this year, including five starts.

Williams has not factored into the decision of his past two outings. Three runs, seven hits and five walks forced him out of Sept. 13 meeting with the Athletics after 4 1/3 innings and the right-hander was then charged with two unearned runs on six hits and three walks over 6 1/3 frames in Toronto on Monday.

The 29-year-old is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four career starts against Oakland.

Taking the hill for the Athletics is Guillermo Moscoso, who took a tough-luck loss to the Tigers and Justin Verlander on Sunday. He gave up just one hit -- a solo homer -- over six innings of a 3-0 defeat, walking two and striking out eight. The right-hander has given up two runs or fewer in six of his past eight outings, but still fell to 8-9 with a 3.35 ERA on the season.

"He threw the ball really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said of his starter's performance. "You know when you go out there against a guy like Verlander, you're going to have to pitch well and you're going to have to keep runs to a minimum. And he did."

Moscoso did not factor into the decision of a Sept. 13 start against the Angels, with the 27-year-old getting charged with three runs over 4 2/3 frames.

Oakland is 10-7 against the Angels this season.