Wilson, Angels begin series in Oakland

C.J. Wilson had perhaps his best start of the season five days ago against Oakland. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lefty will try to duplicate the performance on Thursday night against those very same Athletics in the opener of a four-game series.

Making his 20th start of the season, Wilson shut out the A's over a season- high 8 1/3 innings on Saturday in a 2-0 victory, yielding three hits and two walks while striking out eight in a second straight win. He has allowed just two earned runs over his past four outings.

Wilson won for the sixth time in his past seven starts and improved to 2-0 with a 2.61 earned run average in three starts versus Oakland this season.

"I tried to stay ahead of them tonight. I don't strike out everybody, so I tried to use the defense as much as possible. I had more pitches in the mix tonight and I was able to hit my spots," said Wilson.

The 32-year-old is 10-6 this season with a 3.15 ERA after outdueling Oakland's Dan Straily, who tries his luck again tonight against the Angels.

Straily had a five-decision win streak snapped after allowing two runs over seven innings versus Los Angeles. He yielded eight hits and did not walk a batter, but still lost for the first time since May 15.

"Tonight's ballgame was a matter of needing to throw up two more zeros than I did," said Straily. "(Wilson) was on tonight, kept our hitters off balance, but just two more zeros and we're still playing ball."

The 24-year-old righty fell to 1-1 in four all-time meetings with the Angels along with a 6.26 ERA, and is 6-3 in 15 overall starts this season along with a 4.14 ERA.

The A's lost two of three in that set to the Angels, but recovered to split a six-game road trip by winning Wednesday's rubber match with the Houston Astros 4-3.

Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer during a three-run seventh inning, John Jaso hit a solo homer in the first and Eric Sogard also drove in a run for Oakland, which leads the AL West by three games over Texas.

"It's always nice to win in any kind of fashion," said Crisp. "I don't think we rely on home runs. We just go up there and battle, and it just so happened that this is how this series broke down. We're always just trying to manufacture any runs we can."

Jaso, though, is unlikely to play today after taking a foul ball off his face mask for the second time in as many games. He was checked and cleared concussion tests, but was still feeling dizzy and taken out after seven innings of work.

The Angels, meanwhile, followed up their series win over the Athletics by losing the first two games of a series with the Minnesota Twins, but avoided the sweep and snapped a three-game slide with Wednesday's 1-0 win.

Albert Pujols drove in the game's only run in the first inning and Jered Weaver hurled eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball. He also struck out nine in just Los Angeles' third victory in nine games.

"That's the game plan going into it every time is try to keep these guys off- balance. Fastball command was good, was able to mix in the changeup later and defense took care of the rest," Weaver said.

The A's have won six of nine this season versus the Angels.