Angels outfielder Torii Hunter struggled at the plate during the team's… (Orlin Wagner / Associated…)
Reporting from Oakland — The Angels were on a roll before the All-Star break, winning 20 of 27 games and backing their superb pitching with clutch hitting and power, but the four days off knocked them out of their groove.
They lost three of four games to the Oakland Athletics, batting .185 (25 for 135), scoring only 11 runs and striking out 41 times. Take away Alberto Callaspo's solid series — six for 14 — and the rest of the team batted .157.
The Angels hit .161 (five for 31) with runners in scoring position in the series. Torii Hunter was hitless in 15 at-bats after getting nine hits in 20 at-bats with two home runs and five runs batted in in nine games before the break.
Since hitting .319 (22 for 69) during an 18-game hitting streak, All-Star second baseman Howie Kendrick is one for 17 (.058). After batting .325 (25 for 77) in June, designated hitter Bobby Abreu is batting .182 (eight for 44) in July.
And 19-year-old center fielder Mike Trout, filling in for the injured Peter Bourjos, has looked overmatched at the plate at times, with three hits in his first 24 big league at-bats for a .125 average.
Not exactly the kind of team momentum you want going into a three-game series against the first-place Texas Rangers, who will take an 11-game winning streak into Tuesday night's game in Angel Stadium.
"We were not very good on the offensive end in this series," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit a couple of home runs, but we didn't pressure those guys that much. We struggled with runners in scoring position and paid the price for it."
Asked whether he thought the Angels lost a little momentum over the break, Hunter contradicted himself during his answer.
"No … we're just trying to find it," the veteran right fielder said. "We had four days off with no baseball. It takes some players a little more time to find it."
Bourjos, out since July 8 because of a right hamstring strain, did some treadmill and an elliptical trainer work over the weekend, and said he hopes to feel good enough to try to run again Tuesday.
The Angels remain hopeful that Bourjos, who batted .417 (15 for 36) in 11 games before suffering the injury July 7, will be ready to play when he is eligible to be activated Saturday.
The two runs, two hits and one walk that right-hander Fernando Rodney gave up in a one-inning rehabilitation appearance for Class-A Inland Empire on Saturday night all came after he retired the first two batters.
Rodney, out since June 9 because of an upper-back strain, will need at least one and maybe two more rehab appearances before being activated.
"He struggled to put guys away," Scioscia said. "But he threw more than 20 pitches and got a good workout."
With Saturday's win over the A's, Jered Weaver improved to 12-4 with a 1.90 earned-run average through 20 starts, making him the first player to have 12 wins or more with an ERA under 2.00 in his first 20 starts of a season since Pedro Martinez was 13-4 with a 1.46 ERA with the Boston Red Sox in 2000.