ANAHEIM (AP) — Jered Weaver shredded the opposing lineup and Josh Hamilton drove in key runs. The Angels got flawless defense and relief pitching in a dominant win over one of the majors’ best teams.
In their final home game of a hugely disappointing season, the Los Angeles Angels were as good as they expected to be all year.
Forgive Weaver and Hamilton if they don’t take much consolation from it.
Weaver pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Hamilton drove in two runs, and the Angels did a bit more damage to the Oakland Athletics’ home-field playoff hopes with a 3-1 victory Wednesday.
Erick Aybar had three hits for the Angels, who are unbeaten in their last 10 series while winning 23 of the past 32 games. Los Angeles won four of six over the A’s over the past two weeks — but none of it changes the fact Los Angeles will head into an eventful offseason Sunday.
“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.”
Weaver (11-8) finished his season impressively after missing last week’s scheduled start with tightness in his 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.
“I don’t know if Weave needs a pennant race to be motivated to pitch, but there’s no doubt it’s been hard on everybody,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the Angels’ non-contending status since early August. “Hopefully he’s going to have a great winter and come back strong and ready to go.”
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.”
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.
Los Angeles went 39-42 at Angel Stadium this season, posting its first losing record at the Big A since 2001. The Angels’ home struggles are just one reason they’re finishing third in the AL West for the third time in four seasons after winning five of the previous six division titles.
Dan Straily (10-8) allowed seven hits while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss since Aug. 17 for the two-time AL West champion A’s (94-65), who began the day trailing Boston by one game for the best record in baseball. The Red Sox played at Colorado later Wednesday.
“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.
Weaver allowed 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.
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