(Reuters) - The Oakland Athletics drew first blood in a pivotal series against the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-1 victory on Monday as two of the hottest teams in baseball resumed their battle for a playoff berth.
Jarrod Parker silenced the Los Angeles offense in front of their home crowd, allowing just one run and three hits over seven innings as the Athletics snapped the Angels’ six-game winning streak.
Oakland (80-60) won their 13th game in the last 16 outings, with the only three losses coming when they were swept at home by the Angels last week.
However, they gained some revenge by winning the opener of the four-game series between the teams, stretching their lead in the American League wild card race to two games.
Brandon Moss broke a 1-1 tie for the Athletics with a solo home run in the fifth inning, while Cliff Pennington added another in the sixth against losing starter and former Oakland ace Dan Haren to sink to the home team.
“It was definitely a big game for us,” Pennington told reporters. “They came into our place and did what they needed to do (last week), and we have to come into theirs and try to take care of our business. To get the first win is a big step.”
Los Angeles (77-64) now trails Baltimore by 1 1/2 games for the league’s second wild card spot.
“(Dan Haren) gave us a good chance to win tonight. We’ve won some tight games where we haven’t swung the bat to our abilities,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia conceded. “We’re not going to be pounding six, seven, eight runs every night.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien