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Game Preview: Athletics At Angels

(AP) - After struggling in his first two starts, Jered Weaver looked more like the pitcher who has led the league in victories in two of the last three seasons his last time out.

A home start against the Oakland Athletics should help him see further improvement - and pick up his first win.

A night after the Los Angeles Angels roughed up Oakland's pitching staff, Weaver looks to continue his home dominance of the Athletics on Wednesday night.

The Angels (6-8) totaled six runs and 16 hits during a three-game losing streak before collecting 15 hits in Tuesday's 14-1 rout. Leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun tied a career-best with four hits, including a three-run homer, while No. 9 hitter Johnny Giavotella added a three-run shot for his first homer. Los Angeles' Nos. 7-9 hitters were a combined 5 for 12 with two walks and seven runs.

"One of the things we do well is see a lot of pitches," Giavotella said. We battle and don't give in with two strikes."

The victory was Los Angeles' first at Angel Stadium, snapping a four-game losing streak there.

The next order of business is getting Weaver his first win.

Weaver (0-2, 6.61 ERA), who also opened 0-2 last season before finishing with an AL-best 18 wins, has never gone winless in his first four starts. After posting an 8.71 ERA in losing his first two, the right-hander pitched well enough to win Friday at Houston, giving up two runs and six hits without a walk before leaving without a decision in a 6-3 win.

"It was a step in the right direction," Weaver told MLB's official website. "I felt a little better, consistently throwing the ball the way I wanted to."

Weaver wasn't as sharp against the A's in 2014 - going 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts after going 5-0 with a 0.41 ERA the previous two seasons. He did, however, toss seven scoreless innings to win his last matchup at home on Aug. 29. In 14 career home starts against Oakland, Weaver has a 1.42 ERA - the second-best home ERA by an active pitcher against a single opponent with a minimum of 10 starts.

The A's (7-8) turn to Sonny Gray (1-0, 2.11), who gave up four runs and a career-high 11 hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss at Kansas City on Friday after surrendering two runs and seven hits over 15 1-3 innings against Texas and Seattle.

Returning to division play may be what he needs to bounce back.

Gray has a 0.57 ERA in his last four starts against AL West teams and is 13-5 with a 2.14 ERA in 24 games within the division compared to going 7-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 24 against everyone else.

He is 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA in five career starts against the Angels. In his last matchup on Sept. 23, the right-hander struck out a career-high 12 while yielding two runs over seven innings.

Albert Pujols went 0 for 12 against Gray last season, while Mike Trout was 3 for 10 with a homer and four strikeouts.

Oakland's Billy Butler homered Tuesday and has hit safely in 14 of 15 games. He is 4 for 7 in this series but 2 for 18 against Weaver since 2009.

Updated April 22, 2015

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