The Los Angeles Angels entered a weekend series with Oakland in first place in the AL West; and the Angels left the Coliseum with the same status.
That has to be some sort of win of its own, despite the fact that Oakland did inch closer to the top after taking two of the three games.
Entering last night's game tied atop the American League West, the Angels finally busted out with the bats after scoring just four runs in the first two games of the series. Josh Hamilton came up big in what would end up a 9-4 win for the road team.
The former AL MVP broke a long home run drought on Friday in game one of the series when he went deep for the first time since August 4. And that might have just been able to give him the confidence to get in a little zone. Hamilton continued the productive stretch with a 2-for-3 night on Sunday Night Baseball. He singled in his first at-bat and blasted a two-run homer in his second. He later added a sacrifice fly for his third RBI on the night. Both of Hamilton's hits came off of Oakland starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, who was not good.
Kazmir lasted just three innings for his second shortest outing of the season for Oakland. Manager Bob Melvin didn't appear to be too concerned during an in-game interview when he explained how good Kazmir has been all season for his A's. Long-term concern or not, Kazmir didn't help the A's on his particular night. The Angels pounded out 10 hits and seven runs (all earned) against Kazmir. He walked two and only struck out a single batter. Coming into the start, Kazmir had recorded 131 strikeouts on the season to just 36 walks. The loss drops his record to 14-6 and bumps his ERA up to 3.08 from 2.73.
Meanwhile, Jered Weaver just kept doing what Jered Weaver does. Now the undisputed ace of the staff without Garrett Richards, Weaver improved his record to 14-7 with a quality start that lasted 6.2 innings. He did give up eight hits and three runs, but did an excellent job of recording outs in volume once the Angels staked him to an 8-0 lead, a la Jack Morris. He didn't walk any and struck out eight. His 127th career victory makes his record an even 60 games over .500.
The top of the Angels' lineup are just waiting to all get hot and healthy together, and they produced like the murderer's row that it could be. Calhoun, Trout, Pujols and Hamilton combined for nine hits, seven runs and six RBI's.
The Angels go home to host the Marlins, while Oakland travels to Houston to take on the Astros. Each series is just a small break in the action before these two teams meet up again, this time in LA, for a four-game set.