Looking to lower Oakland's magic number for clinching the AL West, A.J. Griffin takes aim at a fifth straight winning start on Wednesday afternoon in the Athletics' finale of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Griffin has posted a 3.60 earned run average over his first ever four-start winning streak. He did win six decisions in a row to begin his Major League career last season.
The 25-year-old righty is coming off a seven-inning victory over Minnesota on Thursday, yielding a run on two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. The lone run allowed did come on the 34th homer he has yielded this season.
Griffin will face the Angels for the fourth time in his career, having gone 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in the previous three.
After losing the opener of this set 12-1, the A's lowered their magic number to clinching their second straight division title to six with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night. They have a 6 1/2-game edge over the Texas Rangers, who beat Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Josh Donaldson continued his clutch hitting with the bases-loaded this season, smacking a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to chase home Jemile Weeks with the winning run. Donaldson improved to 8-for-11 with 16 RBI this season with the bases loaded.
"We feel good about (Donaldson) up there anytime in situations like that," said A's manager Bob Melvin.
Donaldson's walk-off hit gave Oakland its ninth victory in 11 games and 18th in the past 24. It also has won 10 of 15 versus Los Angeles this season.
Mike Trout hit a homer for the Angels, who fell to 6-3 on a 10-game road trip. Trout's longball made him the first player in American League history to have 25 homers, 30 steals and 100 walks in a season.
At 22 years and 40 days old, Trout also became the second-youngest player in Major League history with 25 homers and 30 steals in a season. He is also the youngest, doing so last season.
Jason Vargas gets the call today for the Angels hoping to win for the first time in September. He is 0-2 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts this month and allowed a season-high eight runs in a loss to Houston on Friday. Vargas lasted 4 1/3 innings before falling to 8-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 21 starts this season.
A 30-year-old southpaw, Vargas lost to Oakland on April 11 when he gave up five runs on 10 hits and three walks in 5 2/3 frames of work. He is 5-6 lifetime versus the A's with a 3.42 ERA in 16 games (14 starts).