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Preview: Angels at Athletics

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

With 16 wins in their last 20 contests, the Oakland Athletics are making significant strides toward repeating as American League West champions. After sweeping their nearest rival in the standings, the Athletics look continue their good fortune on Monday, when they open a three-game set against the visiting Los Angeles Angels. Oakland increased its lead in the division to a season-best 6 1/2 games with 13 to play after winning three straight versus second-place Texas this weekend.

Josh Donaldson extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games with a solo homer in Sunday's 5-1 triumph. The Athletics can put a dent into their magic number of eight when they face the Angels, against whom they've won nine of 13 meetings this season. Los Angeles posted a 2-1 victory over Houston for its fifth win in six games overall and 14th victory in 17 road contests.

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), CSN California (Oakland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH C.J. Wilson (16-6, 3.44 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Sonny Gray (3-3, 2.63)

Wilson won his third straight start - and eighth straight decision - by tossing seven strong innings against Toronto on Wednesday. The 32-year-old improved to 10-7 versus Oakland after permitting three runs on five hits in seven innings in an 8-3 triumph on July 25. Wilson, who hasn't lost since July 5, continues to struggle with his control - issuing 17 walks in his last five outings and 77 in 191 innings this season.

Gray picked up his second win in three outings Wednesday, when he allowed just two runs in five innings of a lopsided 18-3 rout of Minnesota. The 23-year-old rookie has struck out seven batters in each of his last three trips to the mound and 40 in his last six outings. Gray fanned three over two frames in his lone appearance versus the Angels on July 19.

WALK-OFFS

1. Oakland LF Yoenis Cespedes was a late scratch from Sunday's contest with a sore right shoulder. Cespedes, who is batting .373 in September, is expected to return to the lineup Monday.

2. Los Angeles CF Mike Trout went 0-for-8 in the series versus Houston but walked six times and scored three runs.

3. Athletics OF Josh Reddick, who has collected two homers and five RBIs in his last three games, is just 1-for-7 versus Wilson.

PREDICTION: Angels 3, Athletics 2

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130916/preview-angels-at-athletics