Halos rout division-leading A's behind Wilson

Halos rout division-leading A's behind Wilson

Halos rout division-leading A's behind Wilson

OAKLAND -- Mike Trout hit a ball that may or may not have landed yet, C.J. Wilson cruised through seven innings, the offense built an eight-run lead by the fifth inning and the Angels won on Monday night.

They've been doing a lot of that lately.

Their latest came easily, against a team with the second-best record in the American League and against a pitcher that hadn't lost in nearly four months. It's a little too late now, with the regular season two weeks from ending and the Angels still 8 1/2 back -- with five teams to jump -- for the second Wild Card spot.

But don't tell them that.

"We're still fighting," Trout said after the Angels' 12-1 rout of the A's at O.co Coliseum. "Mathematically, we're still in it. We're not backing down. There's lots of teams we're playing these last two weeks who are still in it. We're going to keep fighting, playing hard every night."

The A's came in just as hot as the Angels, who have now won 18 of their last 24 and are four games below .500 for the first time since July 25.

Oakland (88-62) was coming off a three-game sweep in Texas to extend its AL West lead to 6 1/2 games, sported a 17-6 record since Aug. 23--- identical to the Angels -- and had beaten the Halos nine times in 13 meetings.

The A's quickly learned this is a different Angels team.

These Angels pitch. They got seven innings of one-run ball from Wilson, then two scoreless innings of relief work to put the staff ERA at an AL-best 3.19 since Aug. 23.

These Angels hit. Kole Calhoun (23 RBIs in his last 22 games), Mark Trumbo (34 homers and 99 RBIs on the season) and Trout (24 homers and 89 RBIs on the year) each drove in three runs, pacing an Albert Pujols-less Angels offense that has nonetheless averaged 5.7 runs per game in September.

"Lot of good things to look at on the offensive end," manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys just keep scrapping. They get guys on, they get them in."

A's ace Jarrod Parker, scratched Sunday due to illness, entered Monday 9-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 19 starts since the end of May, leading a staff that had allowed two runs or fewer in eight straight games.

Against the Angels, Parker lasted 4 1/3 innings, gave up a career-high-tying eight runs (seven earned) and lost for the first time since May 22.

"Take nothing away from them," Parker said. "They swung the bats well. But there weren't too many pitches that I executed."

Wilson executed several, as he has for most of this season.

Armed with a big lead, especially after a five-run fifth inning, the 32-year-old left-hander stifled an A's lineup that had hit 55 homers in its previous 36 games. He gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out six to lower his ERA to 3.36 and 2.91 over his last 18 starts. Wilson is now riding a career-best nine-decision winning streak, winning 13 of his last 14 decisions and notching his career-best 17th victory of the season.

A new career high in wins "doesn't really matter," Wilson said, because of the Angels' place in the standings.

What does matter, at least a little bit, is the upcoming slate of games. Ten of their last 13, including Monday's, will come against either the A's or the Rangers. And while "spoiler" is not a term many in that clubhouse are comfortable accepting, it's something to cling to.

"We're just trying to throw a wrench in the works and keep everybody on the edge of their toes," said Wilson, his team 6-2 on this 10-game, four-city trip. "It's good television, I guess, when the season comes down to the last weekend.

"We're just trying to win as many games as we can and we have a lot of young guys on the team right now that are getting playing time at the big league level for the first time. So, it's good, because these games actually count, even though we're not in the playoff race, the other teams are that we're playing. We have to give it everything we have to make it fair."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.