Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Josh Willingham hit a three-run home run and finished with four RBI to help the Oakland Athletics take a 6-3 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim in the opener of a three-game set. Kurt Suzuki had three hits and Cliff Pennington added two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Athletics, who had lost four of six coming into the game. Gio Gonzalez (13-12) gave up two runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 frames to get the win.
Vernon Wells hit a solo homer and had two RBI while Erick Aybar also hit a solo home run for the Angels, who have dropped their past two games. Joel Pineiro (6-7) went three-plus innings and was charged with four runs on five hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
The loss moves the Angels to three games back of Texas for first place in the AL West.
Oakland jumped on top in the first inning as walks by Jemile Weeks and Hideki Matsui set the table for Willingham, who clubbed a shot over the wall in left- center for a 3-0 lead.
The Angels made it a 3-1 game in the second as Torii Hunter hit a leadoff single and later came home on a Wells triple.
Oakland added two more to its lead in the fourth. With men on second and third, Tyler Chatwood took over for Pineiro on the mound and, after getting the first out, gave up a single to Scott Sizemore to score one. Later in the frame, Pennington made it a 5-1 game with a single.
Aybar's solo homer in the seventh made it a three-run game, but the Athletics got the run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single from Willingham.
Wells hit a leadoff homer in the ninth off of Grant Balfour, who set down the next three batters to cap the win.
Willingham has 25 home runs on the season and is one shy of matching his season-best set in 2006...Oakland has won nine of the 14 games against the Angels this season...The Angels batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.
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