Aaron Harang finally put up a solid performance in the month of August.
Now, the right-hander seeks his first win in more than a month as his Seattle Mariners try to avoid being swept by the visiting Los Angeles Angels in Sunday's finale.
Harang (5-10, 5.49 ERA) got off to a terrible start in August, posting a 12.75 ERA through his first three starts. He suffered from forearm tightness in his third outing.
On Monday, Harang showed a different side, allowing one run in seven innings against the A's before Oakland won 2-1 in walk-off fashion.
"(Harang) was good, his elbow was fine, no tightness," said Robby Thompson, who served as the interim manager while Eric Wedge recovered from a stroke. "He mixed in his breaking ball and moved his fastball around. A very nice outing for him. Too bad it was spoiled at the end."
Looking for his first win since July 22, Harang can't be too thrilled to see the Angels (57-71) on Sunday. He's 0-3 with a 10.03 ERA against Los Angeles this season and has allowed five homers in 11 2-3 innings.
Josh Hamilton has hit two of those, and is 5 for 7 against Harang in 2013. Erick Aybar (3 for 6) and Mike Trout (4 for 6) have also fared well versus Harang this season.
Trout's homer in the first inning was all the Angels needed on Saturday. He hit a two-run blast off Erasmo Ramirez and J.B. Shuck added three hits in Los Angeles' 5-1 win.
The Angels now turn to Jered Weaver (7-7, 3.62) as they look for their first sweep since taking all three in Houston in the final three days of June.
Weaver went 4-0 with a 1.49 ERA during a five-start stretch from July 19 through Aug. 9, but he's been hit hard in his last two outings. The right-hander surrendered nine runs in five innings at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 14, then allowed four in six frames of a 5-2 loss to Cleveland on Monday.
All four runs and five of the eight hits came in the fourth inning.
"Things just got away from me a little bit," Weaver said. "I was feeling good all night, and my location was good, but I just had one blowup inning and it ended up being the difference in the game."
Weaver has finally gotten a bit of run support in the second half - 4.56 per nine innings in seven starts as opposed to 2.42 in 11 outings before the All-Star break - but he hasn't gotten much help recently against Seattle. He's lost four straight starts to the Mariners (59-69) with just one total run to back him up.
He's given up five homers over 19 innings in that skid, including one to Justin Smoak in a 6-0 defeat at Safeco Field on July 13- his only start versus Seattle this season.
Raul Ibanez is a career .455 hitter (15 for 33) with four homers off Weaver.
The Mariners have hardly looked like an offensive threat in this series, though, having scored a single run in the first two games.
"We spread out some hits here and there, but we never really put anything together," Wedge said. "You got to put more heat on them offensively."
The Associated Press News Service
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