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Angels Hope To Snap Losing Streak Against Oakland

(Sports Network) - A pair of struggling AL West inhabitants get together this evening in Oakland, as the Athletics and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim kick off a three-game series from the Coliseum.

The Angels have dropped four straight and the A's are currently mired in a three-game losing streak. Los Angeles was just swept in all four games by the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and is coming off Thursday's 1-0 setback in the series finale.

Ervin Santana was outdueled by White Sox starter John Danks, who went the distance and allowed two hits with seven strikeouts for the win. Santana allowed Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly in the first inning and scattered three hits to fall to 8-7 this season. He struck out four and walked three batters in the hard-luck loss.

Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick had the only hits for the Angels, who have lost six of their last seven games and are 5 1/2 games behind Texas in the division standings. Angels All-Star Torii Hunter went 0-for-3 at the plate and expressed his displeasure after the game.

"We have to play better -- and we will," Hunter said on the team's website "There's too much talent in here to be playing like this. Our pitching has been awesome. We're just not playing the way we're capable of playing, the way we're supposed to play."

Angels starter Joel Pineiro is pitching the way he's supposed to and will take his six-start winning streak to the mound Friday. Pineiro is 6-0 with a 2.08 earned run average during his current run and threw seven shutout innings in an 11-0 beating of Kansas City on Sunday. Pineiro allowed six hits, struck out three and issued four walks.

The right-hander, who is 9-6 in 17 total starts, blanked the Athletics on May 16 in a 4-0 win. He struck out five and walked one to improve to 9-8 in 23 career matchups, 18 of which have been starts, with the Athletics.

Oakland just lost all three contests with the visiting New York Yankees and suffered a 6-3 setback Wednesday in the series finale from the Coliseum. Gio Gonzalez was roughed up in the start and was reached for five runs on eight hits and five walks in four innings of work.

"Just trying to do too much, instead of just going out there and trusting your stuff, trusting your defense and throwing strikes," Gonzalez said. "I should have attacked the zone, right from the get-go. Should have thrown first-pitch strikes."

Coco Crisp and Jack Cust had an RBI apiece for the Athletics, who have dropped six of seven games overall and sit 9 1/2 games off the lead in the AL West.

Vin Mazzaro will try for better luck when he takes the hill for the A's tonight. Mazzaro has won two straight starts and is 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 games (seven starts) this season. He last took the hill on a July 4 win at Cleveland, where he tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball and fanned seven.

The right-hander was a recipient of plenty of run support against the Angels in a 10-1 win on June 8 at the Coliseum. Mazzaro lasted five innings and permitted one run to push his career mark to 1-1 in three starts in this series.

The Angels have won six of 10 meetings with Oakland this season and are 10-4 in the 14 most recent contests between the AL West foes.