ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The AL West used to be dominated by the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels, who combined to win nine division titles from 2000 through 2009. Now it's the Texas Rangers who are having all the fun.
The A's were eliminated from playoff contention long ago, but can take some satisfaction in keeping the Angels from getting to the postseason. Oakland began it's final road trip of 2011 with a 3-1 victory Friday night that hurt Los Angeles' chances.
Gio Gonzalez outdueled 18-game winner Jered Weaver with 7 1-3 solid innings and Kurt Suzuki scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on an error by third baseman Maicer Izturis. Jemile Weeks and David DeJesus homered for the A's, who 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,' De Jesus said. ``Weaver was on top of his game, but we were fortunate enough to beat him.'
Gonzalez (15-12) matched his win total of last season, allowing a run and three hits and striking out five. 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,' 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.'
Gonzalez, who leads the AL with 88 walks, departed in the bottom of the eighth after one-out walks to Erick Aybar and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo, who was replaced by pinch-runner Jeremy Moore. Both runners advanced on Izturis' groundout against Grant Balfour, and another walk to Peter Bourjos loaded the bases.
That set the stage for Howie Kendrick, whose foul fly to right field 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.
``I hate that we didn't get any runs for Weaver. He pitched well enough to get a win,' said Torii Hunter, who hit his 22nd homer.
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.'
The Angels' fifth loss in eight games dropped them 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race, and they have only five games left to catch the Red Sox. They also have to jump over the Tampa Bay Rays.
``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,' 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.'
Weaver (18-8) lost any chance of becoming the Angels' the sixth pitcher in Angels history to win at least 20 games in a season and only the second in the past 37 years - along with Bartolo Colon, who went 21-8 in 2005 en route to a Cy Young Award. Weaver has one start remaining, next Wednesday's regular-season finale against Texas.
Weaver was charged 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.
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.
Suzuki led off the eighth with a single, was sacrificed to second by Scott Sizemore and made it to third on a wild pitch before a fielding error by Izturis on Weeks' grounder allowed Suzuki to score.
Rookie Mark Trumbo's one-out single in the second inning was the Angels' only hit off Gonzalez until the seventh, when Hunter tied it 1-all with a 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 at-bat.
One night after hitting his first major league home run in Oakland's 4-3 win over Texas, Weeks got his second one when he drove Weaver's third pitch of the game into the seats above the 18-foot wall in right-center. The two-time All-Star has allowed at least one homer in six straight games, the longest such streak of Weaver's six-year career.
The crowd of 39,217 increased the Angels' home attendance figure 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.
NOTES: 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. The other leadoff batters who did it to him were Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis Granderson (twice), Shannon Stewart, Jacoby Ellsbury, Grady Sizemore and Rafael Furcal. ... SS Cliff Pennington's two-base throwing error on Vernon Wells' routine grounder in the fifth inning was his 22nd of the season, the second most in the league behind Elvis Andrus' 25 with the Rangers. Oakland has committed 123 errors, second most in the majors behind the Chicago Cubs' 130. ... Oakland DH Hideki Matsui hasn't had an RBI in his last 11 games, eclipsing his previous longest drought in the major leagues. ... Weeks is batting .302 in 92 games (116 for 384). The highest average by an Oakland rookie with at least 400 at_bats was Mitchell Page's .307 mark in 1977.
The Associated Press News Service
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