LA Angels of Anaheim (96-60) at Oakland Athletics (85-70), 10:05 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Samardzija tries to pad the Oakland Athletics' American League wild card lead on Monday when they begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at O.co Coliseum.
Oakland is a half game up on the Kansas City Royals for the top wild card spot and two up on the Seattle Mariners with seven games remaining. The Athletics picked up a rare series win over the weekend, taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Sunday, Josh Donaldson's two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning sent Oakland to an 8-6 win.
Nate Freiman reached with a one-out single against Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (0-1) and Donaldson then powered a pitch over the wall just to the left of center to end the contest.
Sean Doolittle (2-4) struck out four over two perfect relief innings.
"These guys in this locker room are giving everything they have," Donaldson said.
Scott Kazmir was lit up for six runs on 11 hits despite nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
Now Samardzija hopes to keep the A's in the win column. Samardzija has been on point of late, but has nothing to show for it. Despite pitching to a 1.50 ERA over his last four starts, he is 0-2 and has been backed by five total runs.
"No time to pout. No time to feel sorry for yourself," Samardzija said. "That's just the way it goes."
He is 4-5 since being acquired from Chicago and has pitched to a 3.13 ERA in 14 starts.
Samardzija faced the Angels in Anaheim on Aug. 30 and took a hard-luck loss, going eight innings and giving up two runs (one earned) with nine strikeouts and no walks.
Los Angeles, will counter with lefty C.J. Wilson, who has won three starts in a row and is 12-9 with a 4.61 ERA. Wilson was brilliant on Wednesday against Seattle, as he allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings.
Wilson has faced the A's 48 times (19 starts) and is 11-7 with a 3.30 ERA against them. However, he is 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last eight starts against them.
Los Angeles has already wrapped up the AL West and is closing in on the top record in the league. It leads the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles by 2 1/2 games in that quest.
"We're trying to win ballgames," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We definitely want to try to get that best overall record ... but we're going to have to be sensitive to the needs of every individual player, and that's going to take a precedent over trying to push them too hard to where some of these guys break."
The Angels and A's have split 16 meetings this season.