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Oakland Draws First Blood in Weekend Series with Angels

The Oakland Athletics are hosting the Los Angeles Angels in an important American League West showdown. The Angels entered the first game on Friday with a two-game lead over the A’s.

Oakland drew first blood on Friday with 5-3 win to pull to within a single game of the Angels. Sonny Gray had a superb start for Oakland and Sean Doolittle was able to hold on to save the game in the ninth.

Doolittle nearly ruined the strong outing by Gray, but was able to strikeout Chris Iannetta in the ninth to end the game.

However, Doolittle did not make things easy for himself, giving up a pair of hits and a walk during the ninth, but recorded his 19th save by retiring the last two batters.

Coco Crisp led off the game with a home run, the 15th time he has done that is his career and Stephen Vogt hit a solo shot for the A’s.

In the sixth, Sam Fuld ripped a triple that scored the go-ahead runs for Oakland.

With the two teams neck and neck in the AL West race and in the same state, the rivalry has become the talk of baseball and this weekend will give bragging rights to the winner, albeit for 24 to 48 hours.

Gray won his 13th game of the season, allowing 3 runs in 8 1/3 innings on just 6 hits, it was his first win since July 26.

The Angels had home runs from Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout. Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia said there were good things that took place on the field and things they did not finish. The Angels dropped to 0-4 versus Oakland at the Coliseum this year.

Los Angeles still owns the best record in baseball, but did not get much rest prior to the game. The Angels swept Boston in four games, then flew across the country to California. The coaches and players did not reach their hotel until 4 am Friday.

The home run by Trout was his 28th of the season.

The leadoff homer by Crisp was the 13th with Oakland, which tied him with former shortstop Bert Campaneris for third most in A’s franchise history. It was the second game in four days Crisp had multiple hits.

Angel’s pitcher Garrett Richards had surgery on his torn patellar tendon on Friday. He will take six to nine months to recover.

The series will continue on Saturday with C.J. Wilson starting for the Angels. The southpaw for Los Angeles is 10-8, but is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.60 in five starts versus the A’s since last season.

Starting on the mound for Oakland will be Jon Lester. The A’s southpaw is 13-8 on the season. He lost his last outing, the first for Oakland and his first June 7, while a Red Sox.

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