C.J. Wilson gave up three runs (two earned) over 6 2/3 innings against the… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
After a tough one-run loss in Yankee Stadium on July 13,C.J. Wilson said one of the keys to second-half baseball is that "you have to have a big windshield and keep looking ahead — you can't have a rear-view mirror."
After Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay in Angel Stadium, the first-place Texas Rangers remain several car lengths ahead of the Angels, who are four games back in the American League West.
But that object in the rear-view mirror is now in the windshield. The red-hot Oakland Athletics won for the 18th time in 21 games Saturday and moved into sole possession of second place in the division, 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers.
The Angels were shut out for the first time since a 5-0 loss to Arizona on June 15, a span of 35 games. Wilson (9-7) gave up three runs — two earned — and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, the fourth time in six games he's thrown a quality start and taken a loss or no-decision.
The Angels could not solve Rays left-hander Matt Moore, who mixed a 95-mph fastball with soft breaking balls and changeups to limit the Angels to four hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings. Rays closer Fernando Rodney, the former Angels reliever, retired the side in order in the ninth for his 29th save.
The Angels loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Albert Pujols popped to shortstop, and Bobby Wilson was thrown out trying to score on Moore's wild pitch, though replays show Moore, who took a throw from catcher Jose Molina, missed Wilson with his first swipe of a tag.
Chris Iannetta completed his long road back from wrist and forearm injuries when he was activated off the disabled list Saturday. As a reward, Iannetta, sidelined since May 9, will catch Zack Greinke's first start as an Angel Sunday.
"I've faced him a couple of times, so I'm familiar with his stuff," Iannetta said. "He's a very tough at-bat. He doesn't give you a lot of pitches to hit, and if he does, it's still not ideal. It's usually a very tough breaking ball in the strike zone."
To make room for Iannetta and Greinke on the roster, the Angels optioned catcher John Hester and reliever Hisanori Takahashi to triple-A Salt Lake.
Greinke will be looking to an extend an impressive streak in which he has won 19 consecutive home decisions, 15 with Milwaukee over the past 1 1/2 years and four with Kansas City in 2010. According to STATS LLC, it's the third-longest home winning streak since 1919, behind Ray Kramer (23 from 1926-27) and Lefty Grove (20 from 1938-41).
Manager Mike Scioscia said Ervin Santana (4-10) will start the opener of a four-game series at Texas Monday with a "limit" of 15 outs. If Santana struggles again, he probably will be demoted to the bullpen — or traded — and replaced by Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams.