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Weaver pitches Angels past A's in home finale, 3-1

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)

The playoff-bound Oakland Athletics hadn't lost consecutive games in a month while pushing for the majors' best record.

Then they ran into Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels, who relished a chance to slow the A's roll into October.

Weaver pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Josh Hamilton drove in two runs, and the Angels did a bit more damage to Oakland's home-field playoff hopes with a 3-1 victory Wednesday.

Dan Straily (10-8) allowed seven hits while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss since Aug. 17 for the A's (94-65), who began the day trailing Boston by one game for the best record in baseball. The Red Sox play at Colorado later Wednesday.

The two-time AL West champion A's had the unfortunate luck to face the Angels during the best stretch of their big-budget rivals' disappointing season.

Oakland, which hadn't lost back-to-back games since Aug. 20-23, lost four of six over the past two weeks to the Angels.

''This is a good division,'' said Coco Crisp, who scored the A's only run. ''The Angels are obviously one of the premier teams along with Texas, and we've come along and done a good job ourselves. So it is fun playing in this division against this caliber of teams, but it definitely makes it tougher.''

Oakland usually has trouble with Weaver, who was 7-1 with an 0.84 ERA in his previous 10 starts against the A's. His personal string of 29 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings against the A's ended in the sixth with Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly, but Weaver finished strong before Dane De La Rosa and Ernesto Frieri - who got his 37th save - finished off Oakland.

Straily struck out five, couldn't quite match Weaver despite another strong start. Los Angeles scored two unearned runs in the fifth in a rally catalyzed by first baseman Daric Barton's error.

Straily chalked it up to experience for next month's playoff tests.

''Obviously it's not the end result we were looking for, but I threw a lot of good pitches today,'' Straily said. ''I threw a lot more changeups and curveballs than I had been, so there were a few positives from that.''

After scoring 49 runs in a five-game barrage ending Monday, Oakland managed just 10 hits in the past two games, including Jason Vargas' four-hit gem for the Angels on Tuesday.

The A's have a day off Thursday before finishing the regular season in Seattle.

Erick Aybar had three hits in the Angels' final home game of their disappointing season. Los Angeles is unbeaten in its past 10 series while winning 23 of the past 32 games.

Weaver (11-8) finished his season impressively after missing last week's scheduled start with tightness in his right forearm.

The Angels' veteran right-hander missed nearly two months of the early season with a broken bone in his arm.

He bounced back with a 10-4 record since July 2 to become only the third pitcher in AL history to have 10 wins and a winning record in each of his first eight seasons, joining Addie Joss and Andy Pettitte.

''Obviously we're not really playing for much right now, but we still want to go out and give them hell,'' Weaver said. ''It was nice to be able to finish strong. It's kind of bittersweet. We wish we were still playing (next week). That's the goal.''

Mike Trout wasn't in the Angels' lineup for their home finale. The star outfielder is in a 9-for-52 slump over the past 15 games, seriously endangering his chances of picking up the final 13 hits necessary to reach 200 on the season.

Aybar, who got a rare day off Tuesday, singled and scored the game's first run in the fourth inning on Hamilton's grounder. Los Angeles added two in the fifth with a lengthy one-hit rally that included Chris Iannetta getting thrown out at the plate before Aybar and Hamilton singled in runs.

Hamilton, the disappointing $125 million outfielder, had two hits to boost his average to a season-high .248. He also stole a base, just his fourth of the season, in the eighth.

''The biggest thing was how we finished the season,'' Hamilton said. ''We fought the last month-and-a-half, and played the way we're capable of playing.''

Weaver allowed just two hits in the first five innings, and had retired nine straight before Crisp singled to lead off the sixth and scored on Lowrie's fly. Weaver stranded two runners by getting Josh Reddick to fly out, and Oakland had just one more baserunner in the final three innings.

NOTES: Los Angeles finishes its season with four games at Texas. Jerome Williams is still scheduled to start Thursday's opener against Matt Garza. ... RHP Bartolo Colon is scheduled to go after his 18th victory when the A's open their weekend series in Seattle on Friday. ... A's 3B Josh Donaldson got the day off Wednesday, part of manager Bob Melvin's plan to give his key players a bit of rest this week. Donaldson's streak of reaching base in 28 straight games ended Tuesday.

Tagged: Angels, Athletics, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar, Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson

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