The Oakland Athletics hope to contain the surging LA Angels of Anaheim as the American League West rivals meet for the third game of a four-part series at O.co Coliseum.
Bartolo Colon continued his excellent season on Friday to help Oakland capture a 6-4 victory, which avenged the 8-3 loss it suffered to the Angels in the series opener on Thursday. Colon collected his 14th win while Jed Lowrie went 3-for-4 with a homer and drove in three runs to pace the A's offensively.
"It's almost against the grain for him to struggle for a period of time," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Lowrie's tenacity at the plate. "He had good swings all night tonight. This was, for us, a pretty good offensive night compared to what we've been doing recently, so he led the way and got us going. Guys kind of fed off what he brought to the game early on."
Stephen Vogt added a two-run shot for the hosts, who increased their lead over Texas for first place in the division to a season-high four games. Oakland's total of 16 losses at home is the fewest by any American League club. Yoenis Cespedes struck out in two of his four at-bats and went hitless for the second straight game.
The Home Run Derby champion has not left the ballpark since June 21.
The A's hope Tommy Milone can follow up Colon's brilliant showing with one of his own. The southpaw held Houston to just two earned runs on five hits over six innings on Monday but left with a no-decision. Milone is 4-2 in his last seven home starts.
The Angels are sending Garrett Richards to the mound to duel Milone. Richards got the nod instead of Joe Blanton, who failed to last six innings in all four of his starts this month. Richards has not been in the rotation since April 30 and went 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA in four appearances as a starter this season.
"I feel like this is an opportunity to go out and pitch and to show them what I can do," said Richards on his return to the rotation. "Every opportunity I feel like is an audition for a job, whether that be in the starting rotation or in the bullpen or even on the team. I'm just going to go out and pitch."
The 25-year old righty has been in a groove lately though, not allowing zero runs, two hits and fanning three in his last three innings of relief work.
Albert Pujols has raised his batting average to .258 by going 8-for-18 with six RBI over the past four games. He and Mike Trout drove in two runs each in Friday's setback. Trout, who hit a two-run homer off of Colon in the opening frame, now has four RBI in the series.
The A's have won seven of 11 this season versus the Angels. LA is tied with Seattle for third place in the AL West and enters Saturday trailing Oakland by 11 games.