Athletics 3, Angels 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)
The AL West race is officially a lost cause for the Los Angeles Angels. Now all that's left for them is a chance for the wild card - and it's an increasingly slim one at that.
Gio Gonzalez outdueled Angels ace Jered Weaver and the Oakland Athletics scored the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning error, beating the Angels 3-1 on Friday night, mathematically ending their chances of catching the defending AL champion Texas.
The Rangers have won consecutive division titles after three straight won by the Angels.
''It hurts that we can't win the division title. That's understandable. But Texas played so well, we just couldn't catch up to those guys,'' Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. ''Now we still have a shot at the wild card, and we still have some life left. All you want is just to have a chance to get in. We still have a shot, but it's very frustrating that we can't gain any ground.''
The Angels' fifth loss in eight games dropped them 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race. They have only five games left to catch the Red Sox and they also have to jump over the Tampa Bay Rays.
''If we don't win games, we're not going to be there at the end,'' Weaver said. ''I was just trying to match zeros with Gio.''
Gonzalez (15-12) matched his win total of last season, allowing a run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. The left-hander is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts after going 0-5 with a 7.90 ERA in his previous five.
''Gio's been pitching great all year for us,'' A's right fielder David DeJesus said. ''He's the type of guy who's going to come right at you. He gets wild sometimes, but he has the stuff to be an ace of a staff. We're lucky to have him and we hope he's here for a long time. He's a competitor. Every time he gets on that mound he wants to win, and that's what you love about him.''
Gonzalez has won four straight starts against the Angels since April 25, when Weaver beat him 5-0 with a seven-hitter at Anaheim.
''I don't know how he loses a game the way he pitches against us,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He's always tough on us. I don't know if it's matchups, but we didn't get too many good looks at him tonight. There were only a couple of balls we were able to square up.''
Jemile Weeks and DeJesus homered for the Athletics, who are relishing the spoiler role against their longtime division rivals. The A's are 10-7 against the Angels with two games remaining, and have clinched the season series for only the second time in the last eight years.
''It's fun to play the spoiler role, If we can do something against them, it makes the games more meaningful,'' DeJesus said. ''Weaver was on top of his game, but we were fortunate enough to beat him.''
It was 1-all in the eighth when Kurt Suzuki led off with a single against Weaver (18-8). Suzuki moved up on a sacrifice, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an error by third baseman Maicer Izturis on Weeks' grounder.
Gonzalez, who leads the AL with 88 walks, left in the bottom half after one-out walks to Erick Aybar and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo. Izturis grounded out against Grant Balfour, and another walk to Peter Bourjos loaded the bases.
The Angels' threat ended when Howie Kendrick hit a foul fly that was caught by DeJesus, who chased Weaver in the ninth with his 10th home run. Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Weaver gave up with three runs - two earned - and six hits while striking out eight and walking none. The right-hander, who led the majors last season with 233 strikeouts, needs two more to become only the second Angels right-hander with consecutive 200-strikeout seasons. Nolan Ryan fanned 200 or more seven times in an eight-year span between 1972 and 1979 and set a modern major league record with 383 in 1973, a mark that still stands.
The loss made Weaver 14-1 with a 1.36 ERA in the last 24 starts in which he has pitched at least seven innings. It was his first defeat under those circumstances since Sept. 4, 2010, when he dropped a 3-1 decision at Oakland against Trevor Cahill.
''I hate that we didn't get any runs for Weaver. He pitched well enough to get a win,'' said Hunter, who hit his 22nd homer. ''But Gonzalez pitched his butt off. He caught us when we were down. His confidence is high because he pitches well against us. So whenever he faces us, I'm pretty sure he's happy. He was confident that he could throw strikes and get us out, because he had so much success before.''
Rookie Mark Trumbo's one-out single in the second inning was the Angels' only hit off Gonzalez until the seventh, when Hunter tied the score 1-all with his one-out homer on the first pitch. It was the 79th RBI for the four-time All-Star, who had only four hits in 24 career at-bats against Gonzalez before that.
One night after hitting his first major league home run in Oakland's 4-3 win over Texas, Weeks got his second when he drove Weaver's third pitch of the game into the seats above the 18-foot wall in right-center.
NOTES: The crowd of 39,217 increased the Angels' home attendance to 2,965,557, guaranteeing them that they will finish with a higher total than the Dodgers for the first time in the franchise's 50-year history. The Dodgers completed their home schedule Thursday night with a total of 2,935,139. ... This was the eighth time in Weaver's 177 career starts that he has given up a home run to the first batter he faced (2-3 with three no-decisions). ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington's two-base throwing error on Vernon Wells' routine grounder in the fifth was his 22nd of the season, the second-most in the league behind Elvis Andrus' 25 with the Rangers.