As Jon Lester moves on from his first loss with Oakland, C.J. Wilson hopes his 2013 success against the Athletics carries over to this season.
Trying to win a fifth straight start against the A’s, Wilson looks to help the Los Angeles Angels maintain sole possession of first place in AL West by avoiding a fifth consecutive loss at Oakland on Saturday night.
Wilson (10-8, 4.59 ERA) allowed four runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-5 home defeat in his first start versus Oakland last season, then went 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA while making three of those starts at the Coliseum.
The left-hander enters his first 2014 outing versus Oakland (75-52) having posted a 2.25 ERA while winning two straight following a six-start stretch in which he went 1-2 with an 11.03 ERA. Despite five walks, Wilson yielded one run in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 victory at Boston on Monday.
Wilson has completed six innings only once in eight starts, but he still feels capable of going deep into games.
"I feel like I’m really close to doing that," he told MLB’s official website.
Lester (13-8, 2.58) has completed at least six in 12 straight outings.
He’s allowed three earned runs in three of his four starts with Oakland and gave up four overall in six innings of a 4-3 loss at Atlanta on Sunday.
"Sometimes, you’ve got to tip your hat," said the left-hander, who is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA with the A’s. "Sometimes (the opponent) have a better game plan than you do, and they execute what they’re trying to do."
Including the postseason, Lester is 5-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts against the Angels (76-51), but has not faced them since he allowed five runs and nine hits over eight innings of a 5-2 loss in 2012.
He’ll try to help the A’s pull even atop the division after they held on for a 5-3 victory Friday. Sonny Gray pitched 8 1-3 strong innings, and Coco Crisp and Stephen Vogt each homered to help Oakland to its second win in three games following a 1-7 stretch.
"You know coming in it’s going to be big," Gray said. "It’s great to get this first win of a big series, and now try to keep it going."
The result snapped a four-game winning streak for the Angels, who lost for the second time in 10 games. Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton each homered for Los Angeles, which left the bases loaded in the ninth.
”We haven’t gotten it down up here yet this season," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose team has been outscored 31-14 while going 0-4 at Oakland.
Trout is batting .400 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last seven games against the A’s, but he’s 0 for 3 versus Lester.
Hamilton is 4 for 9 with five RBIs in three games since going 5 for 41 in his previous 11 contests. He’s batting .292 with a homer against Lester.
Crisp is 6 for 17 with three doubles and six RBIs in his last four games. However, he’s 5 for 34 with two doubles and a home run versus Wilson.
Vogt, who has never faced Wilson, is batting .357 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last 12 contests.