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American League Preview from The Sports Network

Monday, June 9 (All times Eastern)

Oakland Athletics (39-24) at LA Angels of Anaheim (34-28), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Jesse Chavez (5-3, 3.04) LA Angels - Garrett Richards (5-2, 3.25)

( - The Oakland Athletics will try to pad their lead for first place in the American League West on Monday night as they begin a three- game set against the second-place Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Athletics have won seven of their past nine games and have a 4 1/2-game lead over the Angels, who are coming off a three-game weekend sweep to make up a game.

The Seattle Mariners are third in the division, 5 1/2 games off the lead.

Oakland routed Baltimore 11-1 on Sunday to win the rubber match of a three- game series. Brandon Moss highlighted a six-run third inning with a grand slam as the A's moved to 4-2 on their road trip.

Moss' homer came three batters after John Jaso had a grand slam overturned by a review into a two-run double. Jaso still ended with four RBI and Nick Punto had a two-run hit.

Scott Kazmir struck out seven, walked two and yielded just four hits over seven scoreless innings to get the win.

"He's just a very consistent guy, a great pickup for us, a credit to the front office for targeting him in the offseason. He's been spot-on every time," said A's manager Bob Melvin of his starter.

The Angels kept pace on Sunday with a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Josh Hamilton knocked in three runs to key the offense. He had seven hits in the series and is batting .400 in 14 games this season while battling injury.

"The last two days I've done well against quality lefties," said Hamilton, who bats from the left side. "It helps the confidence. Hopefully this will continue. I'm not surprised how things are going -- I'm excited."

C.J. Wilson did his part on the mound, giving up a run on three hits and two walks over 7 1/3 innings.

"They put the ball in play so I had to put balls in the strike zone to get guys out," said Wilson. "Ground-ball outs helped me a lot today. I didn't have much in the tank. I've been sick the last couple of days but I made the most of what I had."

Angels starter Garrett Richards is coming off an excellent outing, but has struggled in his career versus the Athletics. He is 0-3 with a 6.49 earned run average in 10 games (6 starts) against them lifetime, giving up 10 runs, 13 hits and five walks over 7 2/3 innings in two meetings this year.

The right-hander was slammed for five runs at Oakland on May 30 while recording only two outs, but bounced back with an excellent effort against Houston on Wednesday. He allowed four hits over eight scoreless innings of a 4-0 win, striking out nine without giving up a walk.

"I just wanted to come out, pound the zone and give us a chance to win," said Richards. "We were on a bit of a skid and I wanted to be the guy to get us going again."

Richards, 26, is 5-2 with a 3.25 ERA on the season and goes up against Oakland righty Jesse Chavez tonight.

Chavez snapped a two-start slide on Wednesday versus the New York Yankees despite matching a season high by giving up four runs over six innings. He yielded seven hits and two walks while fanning five in a 7-4 decision.

The win moved Chavez to 5-3 on the year with a 3.04 ERA.

The 30-year-old did not get a decision at the Angels on April 14, allowing two runs -- one earned -- over seven frames with nine strikeouts and zero walks. It was his first start against them after eight previous encounters in relief.

The A's have won five of six versus the Angels this season, including two of three in Anaheim.

06/09 10:51:51 ET