(Sports Network) -- This afternoon's showdown between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Oakland Athletics may have little effect on the American League playoff race, but fans attending the Coliseum today should be treated to a top-notch pitching matchup between a pair of All-Stars.
The Angels' sputtering offense will have to go up against A's standout Trevor Cahill in the second test of this three-game series, while the three-time defending AL West champions counter with ace Jered Weaver in hopes of evening this set and avenging last night's 8-0 loss to their division rival.
Cahill has been marvelous in his second major league season, with the talented youngster having compiled a 14-6 record along with a 2.82 earned run average over 24 starts. He's been especially tough on the Coliseum mound, having gone 8-2 with a sensational 1.84 ERA in 11 outings and limiting the opposition to a meager .194 batting average.
The right-hander will have to bounce back from a subpar showing in his most recent appearance, however, a four-inning stint on the road against the New York Yankees on Monday in which Cahill was rocked for eight runs and nine hits and served up a pair of homers. Prior to that defeat, he had posted a 5-1 record and an 0.77 ERA over a six-start stretch from July 28-August 25 and worked at least seven innings in each of those games.
Cahill will be seeking a third straight winning start against the Angels at the Coliseum. The 22-year-old yielded just one run in eight innings in a home victory over Anaheim on June 10, then held the Halos to an unearned run and five hits through seven strong frames a month later.
In six career starts versus the Angels, Cahill is 3-1 with an excellent 2.09 ERA.
Oakland's emerging ace will get to face an Anaheim team that's mustered only 11 runs while losing five of its last seven games and was shut out for the third time in a week with Friday's verdict. The Angels could manage a mere five hits against Gio Gonzalez and three A's relievers in last night's setback.
Gonzalez (13-8) worked the first six innings and allowed just four hits and three walks while fanning six batters, with Michael Wuertz, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Ziegler combining to let up only one hit the rest of the way.
The victory halted a string of four straight losses for the Athletics and enabled them to gain some ground on first-place Texas in the AL West, although the Rangers still own a comfortable nine-game lead in the standings.
"We wanted a win tonight," said Gonzalez afterward. "We wanted to stop the bleeding. Our bats were swinging today, we were hot. We felt good and it was good to be back home."
Oakland had a 2-0 lead after the first six innings, then scored six times in the seventh to break open the contest. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington each belted two-run homers during the outburst, with Rajai Davis and Gabe Gross contributing RBI singles.
Angels starter Scott Kazmir (8-13) was able to hold the Athletics to two runs despite walking a season-high six batters in his 5 2/3-inning stint, with Oakland registering only two hits off the left-hander.
"Once I was able to keep the direction toward home plate, it felt a little easier to throw the ball where I wanted," said Kazmir of his performance.
Weaver will take the ball today seeking to end a personal three-start losing streak. Although the competitive right-hander didn't pitch well in two of those defeats, he's received no help from his club's punchless offense as well, as the Angels were shut out in each of those three games.
The 27-year-old was outstanding in Sunday's tough-luck 1-0 loss to Baltimore, permitting just the one run and five hits in eight innings. Weaver also struck out 11 Orioles on the day to run his season total to 200, tied with Seattle's Felix Hernandez for the most in the majors this year.
Weaver hasn't been as sharp when he's pitched at the Coliseum this year, however. The former first-round draft choice was tagged for six runs and 12 hits over six innings in a lopsided road loss to the A's on June 8, and surrendered five runs in six frames while being outdueled by Cahill in a June 11 clash held in Oakland.
In 14 career starts against the Athletics, Weaver is 3-5 with a 3.42 ERA.
These two AL West foes have split 14 meetings thus far in 2010, with Oakland having prevailed in five of eight bouts held at the Coliseum.